P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2004
On June 2, 2003, members of the Texas Senate elected Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, as their President Pro Tem. According to the Texas Constitution, the President Pro Tem of the Senate fulfills the duties of lieutenant governor and/or governor if one or both travel outside the state or otherwise vacate their office. As part of the tradition dating back more than 40 years, Senator Nelson will be sworn for one day as Governor of Texas on April 3, 2004.
- The first Senate President Pro Tem was Edward Burleson from Bastrop. He was elected during the first session of the Texas Legislature in 1846.
- There have been times in Texas history when the President Pro Tem has been called on to perform official acts on behalf of governors who were traveling out of state or had vacated their office, including the signing of legislation and presiding over an execution.
- When George W. Bush was elected President, the Senate President Pro Tem was Senator Rodney Ellis, who presided over the Senate's vote to elect Senator Bill Ratliff as lieutenant governor for the 2001 legislative session.
- In 2003, Senator Nelson was prepared to sign emergency declarations while filling in as governor during Hurricane Isabel.
- Two women have previously been popularly elected as Governor of Texas, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson in 1924 and 1932 and Ann Richards in 1990.
- A total of 12 women have served in the Texas Senate, but only five of them have been elected President Pro Tem and served as Governor For A Day. The five previous female governors for a day include Senator Judith Zaffirini and the late Neveille Collson, the late Margie Neal, the late Barbara Jordan and the late Betty Andujar of Fort Worth who was the first Republican woman ever elected to the Texas Senate.
- Senator Nelson is the first resident of Denton County to have ever taken the oath of office as Governor of Texas.
- Senator Nelson is the first former elementary school teacher to serve as Governor For A Day.