Former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes to speak at Tarleton
Tarleton State University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Former Tarleton student and lieutenant governor of Texas Ben Barnes will visit the university’s campus for a public lecture Thursday, April 19, at 9:45 a.m.
Limited seating for the public will be available during the speaking engagement, to be held in Room 116 of the O.A. Grant Building.
Barnes, a native of Eastland County who attended Tarleton in the late 1950s and later graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, was selected as speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in 1965 at the age of 26.
Born on April 17, 1938, in Gorman, Texas, Barnes attended the UT School of Law and became interested in politics while working for the state health department as a student. He ran successfully for a seat in the Texas House after his graduation. As a resident of De Leon in Comanche County, Barnes served in the 57th through 60th Legislatures.
While a representative, Barnes served as chairman of the House Rules Committee and vice-chairman of the Banks and Banking Committee, in addition to serving as liaison between Gov. John Connally and speaker Byron M. Tunnell. Just before the opening of the 59th legislature, Tunnell accepted a position on the Railroad Commission of Texas, and Barnes became speaker ahead of his intended schedule.
In 1967, Barnes won a second term as speaker in the 60th Legislature. The following year, he was elected lieutenant governor. Winning a second term in that office as well, Barnes presided over the Texas Senate in the 61st and 62nd legislatures.
Throughout his four terms in the two offices, Barnes was interested in the issue of higher education. During that time, Texas increased its appropriations for higher education more than threefold, rising to near the top among the 50 states in expenditures for higher education. Several new universities and graduate schools originated as a result of increased appropriations.
Barnes, who was named one of “Five Outstanding Young Texans” by the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1965 and one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Men in America” by the United States Chamber of Commerce in 1970, also distinguished himself nationally.
He served as chairman of both the Southern Legislative Conference and the National Legislative Conference, and also has been a member of the Executive Committee of the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors, the National Conference of State Legislative Leaders, and President Lyndon Johnson’s Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. Additionally, the former legislator has served as the United States representative to the NATO Civil Defense Committee Conference in Brussels and as a special representative to the United Nations in Geneva in 1968.
In 1972, Barnes made an unsuccessful race for the office of governor, then retired at the end of his second term as lieutenant governor to actively pursue his many professional interests.
Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System
Contact: Kurt Mogonye