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Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas Welcome to the Official Website for the Texas Senate
Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas
Welcome to the official website for the
Texas Senate
April 3, 2004
(512) 463-0300


Senator Jane Nelson being sworn in by Justice Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court as Governor For A Day

Today, April 3, 2004, Jane Nelson was sworn-in as the Governor of Texas. Serving as Governor for a Day, Nelson has all the rights and privileges of the office. Nelson was joined for the occasion by family, friends, and hundreds of supporters from her home town of Lewisville and Senate District 12.

Governor for a Day Jane Nelson

Nelson is President Pro Tem of the Texas Senate and the second highest ranking Republican. This means she is third in line to serve in the office and does so on any occasion when the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are not available. Today's Oath of Office ceremony continues a long-standing Senate tradition that guarantees the President Pro Tem an opportunity to serve as Governor. Nelson has exercised the powers of office before in the absence of Governor Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.

Nelson is a former schoolteacher, elected to the Texas Senate in 1992 after two terms on the State Board of Education. As Senator she is chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. She was recently honored by the American Medical Association, which gave Nelson the Nathan Davis Award as an advocate for the medical community.

In her acceptance speech Governor Nelson spoke with affection for the citizens of her district. "This tradition of Governor for a day is not just for the individual, but the district that he or she represents. You might think that citizens in such a diverse district don't have much in common, but by and large, the issues of major concern are very similar. They want their families to be safe. They want their children to receive a good education, they want an economic climate that allows them to grow and prosper...We want the same things for all of our constituents."

In introducing the Governor, John Whitmire, Dean of the Senate, said, "What is so special about Governor Nelson is that she makes her colleagues better senators...only when I became a close friend with Senator Nelson did I become as good a senator as I'm capable of being."

Congressman Michael Burgess remembered Governor Nelson saying, "When she makes her mind up, things happen...Jane Nelson has meant a great deal to me throughout my life."

Bernie Francis, a constituent and personal friend of the Governor, called her ", and full of surprises ...she's smart enough to scan school books for errors and folksy enough to put you at ease."

Nelson's colleague, Senator Florence Shapiro said: "...she is devoted to education, the education of all children. One only has to look at her own family...and when you look at that family you realize that (her commitment to)education started as a mom and a public school teacher."

Following the Oath of Office ceremony, Nelson and her husband J. Michael Nelson welcomed guests in the Governor's reception room. They have a son and four daughters. The festivities continued until mid-afternoon with a barbeque and entertainment from high school and college bands, as well as other entertainment groups from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Video: Inaugural Ceremonies, April 3, 2004

Photo Gallery

Nelson Nelson Nelson

Governor Jane Nelson and her husband, J. Michael Nelson, exiting the Senate Chamber.

Governor Jane Nelson and her family at the Governor's Mansion for breakfast.

The children of Governor Nelson (left to right): Jennifer, Michelle, Christina, Elizabeth and Brian.

Session video and all other Senate webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.