1903 – 1985
Who was Ben Ramsey?
Ben Ramsey was a Texas politician who served in a succession of offices during the mid-20th century. He served in both Houses of the Texas Legislature, as secretary of state, 34th Lieutenant Governor, and as member of the Texas Railroad Commission.
Ramsey was born on December 28, 1903, in St. Augustine in San Augustine County in east Texas, the son of William Charles Ramsey. He attended San Augustine public schools and worked on the family farm. After finishing high school, he worked three years in his father's law and abstract office, then enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin. He passed the state bar examination before graduation and was licensed to practice law in 1931. Ramsey was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and served two terms. Afterward he returned to San Augustine to practice law with his brother for five years. In 1940, he was elected to the first of two four-year terms to the Texas State Senate. He became a Senate leader in anti-deficit legislation and legislation to regulate labor unions. In 1949, Governor Beauford H. Jester chose Ramsey to be Texas Secretary of State. In 1950, Ramsey resigned from the position before being elected to statewide office as Lieutenant Governor of Texas and was re-elected in 1952, 1954, 1956, 1958, and 1960 for six two-year terms. When Governor Allan Shivers's conservative branch of Texas Democrats clashed with the state's more liberal Democrats, led by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson and U.S. House Speaker Samuel T. Rayburn of Texas, the two factions agreed to support Ramsey as a member of the National Democratic Committee.
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