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  Smith, Preston
NamePreston Smith
Lubbock, Texas , United States
Born March 08, 1912
DiedOctober 18, 2003 (91 years)
Last ModifedRBH
Mar 25, 2015 08:37pm
InfoBorn: March 8, 1912, in Williamson County, Texas. Smith grew up one of 13 children of a poor tenant farmer. He worked his way through high school and college at Texas Tech during the darkest days of the Depression. With a partner, he opened a movie theater in Lubbock and by 1944 he owned six theaters. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1945 and to the Texas Senate in 1956. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1962.

He concentrated his efforts on working with the state's business interests. Smith was dedicated to improved higher education. He signed into law new universities and brought several existing colleges into the university system. He also helped establish new medical, dental, and law schools in the state. Criminal justice was also a focus of Smith's term, which saw the first comprehensive drug abuse program in Texas. Another focus was the passage of the first minimum wage law in the state. Many Texans also remember Smith's participation in the "Drive Friendly" auto safety campaign.

Smith's second term was dominated by fallout from the Sharpstown scandal, which destroyed the career of House Speaker Gus Mutscher, derailed Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes, and resulted in the defeat of many long-term office-holders in the 1972 election.

Smith returned to Lubbock after defeat in the 1972 election and was active in civic and business affairs. He attempted a comeback in 1978 but was defeated in the primary. He later chaired the Coordinating Board for Texas College and Universities (now the Higher Education Coordinating Board). Today, Smith continues an active life and works at Texas Tech University as a special assistant to the chancellor.


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Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor

Importance? 8.66670 Average


  05/06/1978 TX Governor - D Primary Lost 5.09% (-46.34%)
  05/06/1972 TX Governor - D Primary Lost 8.70% (-35.24%)
  11/03/1970 TX Governor Won 53.43% (+6.88%)
  05/02/1970 TX Governor - D Primary Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  11/05/1968 TX Governor Won 56.99% (+13.98%)
  06/01/1968 TX Governor - D Runoff Won 55.27% (+10.53%)
  05/04/1968 TX Governor - D Primary Won 22.10% (+0.00%)
  11/08/1966 TX Lt. Governor Won 71.16% (+43.34%)
  11/03/1964 TX Lt. Governor Won 73.56% (+47.31%)
  11/06/1962 TX Lt. Governor Won 60.37% (+20.74%)
TX US President - Nov 04, 1980 R Ronald Wilson Reagan