The Chief Executive In Texas

[ Texas ]

The Chief Executive In Texas

A Study in Gubernatorial Leadership

By Fred Gantt, Jr.

Foreword by O. Douglas Weeks



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6 x 9 | 420 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-70098-7

"A Texas governor has only two happy days: the day he is inaugurated and the day he retires."

So spoke Joseph D. Sayers at the beginning of the twentieth century. Now, in an analysis of the Texas governorship by Fred Gantt, Jr., the reader learns why Governor Sayers' remark remains true many years after it was uttered: the office has come to be so demanding that the reader may ask why anyone would want it. Price Daniel described a typical day: "The governor's job is a night-and-day job; I usually get up in the morning about seven and start answering the telephone, and then look over the mail that has come in late the day before. I sign mail before going over to the office and then have interviews most of the day. . . . In the evening at the Mansion I take calls and messages until late in the night."

The Chief Executive in Texas is much more than a book full of interesting facts: It is a discerning political commentary built on a broad historical foundation that places events and persons in a perspective perhaps not previously considered by the reader.

The office of chief executive in other states also is explored, as well as the decline and rise of executive power as it has been limited in various constitutions in Texas and as it has developed through custom. The account of the governor's relationship with the Legislature is historically valuable. Especially interesting to many readers will be the discussions of the political roles of individual Texas governors, whose ranks include "Ma" and "Pa" Ferguson and "Pappy" O'Daniel. These studies are personally revealing, and they attest that polities in Texas apparently can never be dull.


Part One: The Development of the Governorship in Texas

1. The Executive Office
“The Decade of the Governors”
The Governor in Texas

2. The Development of the Executive Article in Texas Constitutions
Mexican Federal Constitution, 1824, and Constitution of the State of Coahuila and Texas, 1827
Constitution of the Republic of Texas, 1836
First State Constitution, 1845
Confederate Constitution, 1861
First Reconstruction Constitution, 1866
Second Reconstruction Constitution, 1869
Constitution of 1876
Changes in the Executive Article since 1876

3. Occupants of the Executive Office
Qualifications for Today’s Governor
Types of Governors
Backgrounds of Texas Governors
Postgubernatorial Careers
Four Eras in the Governorship of Texas
“The Composite Texas Governor”

Part Two: The Governor as Executive and Administrator

4. The Executive Office: Duties and Staff
Duties of the Governor of Texas
Major Routine Duties of the Office
The Governor’s Staff
An Institutionalized Office?

5. The Governor in the Executive Branch: Primus inter Pares
Diffusion of Executive Power in State Governments
Texas’ Disintegrated Administrative System
The Governor’s Relation to Elected Executives
The Governor’s Relation to Appointed Executives
The Governor’s Relation to the Multiheaded Agencies
Administrative Reorganization?

6. Special Functions of the Governor of Texas
The Governor as Head of State
The Governor in International Affairs
The Governor’s Power to Grant Clemency
The Governor’s Military Powers
Ex-Officio Duties

Part Three: The Governor and the Legislature

7. The Governor and the Legislature: The Veto
The Changing Nature of Legislative-Executive Relations
The Texas Legislature
The Veto in the United States
The Veto in Texas
How Successful Is the Veto in Texas?

8. The Governor and the Legislature: The Message Power
The Message Power in Texas
The Budget Message
Usefulness of the Message Power in Practice

9. The Governor and the Legislature: Special Sessions
The Special Session in Texas
The Value of Special Sessions to the Governor.
Relative Importance of the Legislative Powers of the Governor

10. The Politics of Executive-Legislative Relationships
The Cycle of Influence
The Cycle of Influence in Texas

Part Four: The Political Role of the Governor

11. The Nomination Process
The Governor as Politician
Nomination by Convention, 1876 to 1905
Nomination by the Direct Primary
The Runoff Primary
The Costs of Campaigning for Governor
Needed: Half a Million Dollars

12. The Gubernatorial Campaign
Campaigns of Preprimary Days
Campaigns under the Primary System
The Age of the Platform Speech
The Age of Radio
The Age of Television
A Process of Displacement

13. The Governor as Political Leader
Before 1944: An Inactive Political Role
Since 1944: A Revitalized Party Leader
Political Philosophies of the Leaders
Political Leadership: Past, Present, and Future
I. Comparison of Powers of Texas Chief Executives under Several Constitutions
II. Length of Term, Qualifications, and Salary of Texas Chief Executives under Several Constitutions
 III. Personal Data on Governors of Texas
 IV. Professional Data on Governors of Texas
V. Itinerary of Governor of Texas during 1954
 VI. Illustration of the Appointing Process
VII. Schedule of Governor John Connally for Two Representative Weeks

Fred Gantt, Jr. (1922–1975) was Professor of Political Science at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), Denton, Texas.