Dean of Senate John Whitmire Praised for 40 Years of Service

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Colleagues spent Monday afternoon lauding Sen. John Whitmire, known as the Dean of the Senate, for his 40 years of service in Texas elected office.

The Texas Senate, more than any other elected body in Texas, knows how to do pomp and circumstances. It's often a slower and frequently a more polite version of the Texas House. Conservatives and liberals alike praised Whitmire, one of the chamber's most staunch Democrats, for his steadying hand on the chamber.

Speeches ranged in levity, from those who talked about Whitmire's "special corner" of the chamber where the chatter never stops to his well-known cheating on the golf course to those who thanked him for offering to mentor them in subjects such as criminal justice, regardless of party.

Even archconservative Dan Patrick, who could hardly be considered of a like mind with Whitmire, had nothing but praise for Whitmire and his willingness to bring the Prisoners to Pastors program to the Texas prison system.

Some of the most touching comments came from Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who alluded to the long close friendship between Whitmire and the late Sen. Mario Gallegos, who died last fall after a failed liver transplant. Van de Putte praised Whitmire for "bringing (Gallegos) to sobriety" so he could receive his transplant.

"He's taught us a lesson, and that's to never give up on someone, even when they've given up on ourselves," Van de Putte told her colleagues.

Most who rose to speak -- and almost everyone in the chamber had something to say about Whitmire -- called the Houston Democrat a good man and a good friend, someone who told conservative Sen. Jane Nelson that if he and Nelson agreed on a subject, one of them wasn't representing their constituency.

Whitmire joined the Senate in 1982, after ten years in the House. He first was elected at the age of 22. The Senate will honor Gallegos on the chamber floor on Tuesday. The special election to replace Whitmire is scheduled for Jan. 26. From the editor: the struck through information is related to the late Senator Mario Gallegos, not Senator Whitmire. We apologize for the error.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.