• New Mississippi Speaker of the House latest BU alum to take legislative leadership role

    Philip Gunn being sworn in as Speaker of the House in Mississippi

    Members of the Baylor family have long played important roles in state and national legislatures. That lineage goes all the way back to Albert Horton, one of the university’s founding Trustees who served in the Republic of Texas Congress.

    Today, Baylor continues to be well represented in the Texas Legislature. But with our small world growing smaller and increasing numbers of alumni settling outside the state, more and more Baylor graduates are showing up in leading legislative roles beyond the borders of the Rio Grande, Red and Sabine rivers.

    In Washington, D.C., Rep. Louie Gohmert Jr., JD ’77, represents northeast Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is joined by Rep. Trey Gowdy, BA ’86, of South Carolina. (Both come from extended Baylor families; Gohmert’s mother, sister and wife are all BU grads, as are Gowdy’s two sisters.) Sen. Rand Paul (a former Baylor student and the son of presidential candidate Ron Paul) has represented the state of Kentucky in the U.S. Senate since his election in 2010.

    Most recently, Mississippi State Representative Philip Gunn, BBA ’85, was elected Speaker of the House earlier this month after serving in the state legislature since 2004, the first Republican to hold that spot since the Reconstruction. In his new role, Gunn is already being applauded for both his dedication to his Christian faith and to his family (including wife Lisa, BBA ’86, another BU grad, pictured above) and for his bipartisan approach to leadership.

    Sic ’em, Bears in government, both in Texas and beyond!

    [1/27/12 update: Via Twitter, @mattsnowden relates another Mississippi legislature/Baylor connection. Emily Snowden Dabbs, MDiv '06, MSED '07, is the daughter of the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Mississippi House of Representatives, Rep. Greg Snowden. And the world just keeps getting smaller!)

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