By: June Rayfield Welch

Type: General Entry

Published: January 1, 1996

Until the adoption of the seventeenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1913, senators were chosen by the state legislature. The first popularly elected Texas senator was John Morris Sheppard of Texarkana. Most of the United States senators have been members of the Democratic party. John G. Tower, who took office in 1961, was the first Republican Texas senator since the days of Reconstruction. In 1985 he was succeeded by Phil Gramm, also a Republican. In 1993 Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison became the first woman from Texas elected to the Senate. The people who have represented Texas in the United States Senate belong to the Rusk and Houston successions, named for the first incumbents, Thomas J. Rusk and Sam Houston, who took office on February 21, 1846.

June Rayfield Welch, The Texas Senator (Dallas: GLA Press, 1978).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

June Rayfield Welch, “Senators,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 18, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1996