|Richard F. "Ric" Williamson|
Texas Transportation Commissioner
2001 – December 30, 2007
|Succeeded by||Hope Andrade |
Texas State Representative for
District 61 (Parker and Wise counties)
1985 – 1999
|Preceded by||Kip Hall (when the district was based in Denton County)|
|Succeeded by||Phillip Stephen "Phil" King|
|Born|| January 25, 1952|
|Died||December 30, 2007 (aged 55)|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Ann M. Williamson|
|Children|| Melissa Meyer
|Residence||Weatherford, Parker County, Texas|
|Alma mater||University of Texas at Austin|
Richard F. Williamson, known as Ric Williamson (January 25, 1952 – December 30, 2007), was the chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission and from 1985 to 1999 a Democrat-turned-Republican state representative for District 61, which includes Parker and Wise counties to the west of Fort Worth. He resided in Weatherford in Parker County.
Life and career
Williamson was elected to the state House as a Democrat in 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1992. In the latter contest, he defeated Republican challenger David Kubosh, 28,709 (63.8 percent) to 16,269 (36.2 percent). In 1994, Williamson ran for the first time as a Republican and defeated Democrat Robert R. Hopkins, 22,898 (65.1 percent) to 12,281 (34.9 percent). He was unopposed as a Republican in 1996 but did not seek reelection in 1998. He was succeeded by the Republican Phillip Stephen "Phil" King, also of Weatherford, who became a leading figure in the conservative faction in the state House of Representatives.
Williamson served on the Texas House/Senate Budget Conference Committee, Appropriations Committee (vice chairman), and the Ways And Means (tax-writing) Committee. He was cited in 1989 and 1991 by Texas Monthly magazine as among the "Ten Best Legislators" in the state. In 1997, The Dallas Morning News' named him the "Best of the 75th Legislative Session." The Texas Chamber of Commerce gave Williamson its "Leadership Award" in 1992. He served on the Southern Regional Education Board, Legislative Budget Board, Department of Information Resources Board, Uniform Statewide Accounting System Committee, the Southern Legislative Conference, and the Weatherford Little League Association.
In 2001, Governor Rick Perry, Williamson's former legislative colleague and roommate, and also a Democrat-turned-Republican, appointed Williamson to the Transportation Commission; three years later on January 29, 2004, he was named chairman of the five-member panel which regulates transportation policies. Members of the commission are nominated by the governor for regular six-year appointments and confirmed with a two-thirds vote of the 31-member state Senate. On the commission, Williamson was a strong proponent of toll roads to expand the state transportation network. He supported efforts to bring about Perry's favorite proposed project, the Trans-Texas Corridor, but the plans to build the highway highway were scrapped in 2010.
Williamson was born in Abilene in Taylor County in west Texas. He graduated in 1974 from the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to Weatherford and co-founded RAW Energy. Later, he started his own natural gas production company, MKS Consulting.
A heavy smoker, Williamson died of his third heart attack. Governor Perry eulogized his friend by quoting from the Irish satirist Jonathan Swift. Perry said that Williamson was the most persuasive individual that he had ever encountered. Williamson had urged Perry in 1998 to seek the lieutenant governorship to succeed the Democrat Bob Bullock. From this office, Perry succeeded to the governorship two years later in December 2000, when George W. Bush resigned in preparation for his presidential inauguration in 2001.
Williamson and his wife, Mary Ann M. Williamson (born 1956), had three daughters, Melissa Meyer and husband Randy of Weatherford, Katherine Strange and husband Matthew of Houston, and Sara Williamson, also of Houston, unmarried at the time of her father's death. He was survived by two grandchildren and his mother, Jane Gray and her husband, Gordon Gray, of Abilene. Williamson was cremated. Memorial services were held on January 3, 2008, in the Jerry Durant Auditorium of Weatherford High School. Perry said that Williamson's "passion to serve his beloved State of Texas was unmatched, and his determination to help our state meet it future challenges was unparalleled. He will be missed beyond words."
- Texas Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 1994.
- Richard F. Williamson obituary, Galbreatih-Pickard Funeral Home, Weatherford, Texas, no longer on-line.
- Matt Curry, Associated Press, "Transportation Chairman Williamson dead at 55," December 31, 2007.