5/29/2011 3:26 PM
One of the defining figures of 20th Century Texas Republican politics died today. Former Gov. William P. Clements, Jr. was the first Republican governor elected since reconstruction and served two non-consecutive terms -- 1979-1983 and 1987-1991.
Gov. Rick Perry issued the following statement:
"Anita and I are deeply saddened today as our state and nation have lost a true pioneer, and a larger-than-life entrepreneur, public servant and, most of all, a Texan. Gov. Clements was a mentor and someone I admired and respected greatly. As the father of the modern day Texas Republican Party, Gov. Clements is responsible for the growth, success and election of Texas Republicans in every corner of our state. Today, Texans and Americans have lost a leader whose leadership, service and patriotism were unparalleled. Anita and I send our deepest sympathy to Rita Crocker Clements and the Clements family during this difficult time.
Today, I have ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the life and service of former Texas Governor William P. Clements, Jr."
House Speaker Joe Straus issued the following statement:
"Julie and I are saddened by the passing of former Texas Governor Bill Clements, with whom my family enjoyed a decades-long friendship, We extend our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to Rita and the entire Clements family."