Texas Governor George W. Bush:
An Inventory of Governor George W. Bush Correspondence/Constituent Services Office Autopen Copies of Correspondence from Other Divisions Located at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, 1995-2000, bulk 1996-2000
The governor of Texas is the chief executive officer of the state, elected by the citizens every four years. The duties and responsibilities of the governor include serving as commander-in-chief of the state's military forces; convening special sessions of the legislature for specific purposes; delivering to the legislature at the beginning of each regular session a report on the condition of the state, an accounting of all public money under the governor's control, a recommended biennial budget, an estimate of the amounts of money required to be raised by taxation, and any recommendations he deems necessary; signing or vetoing bills passed by the legislature; and executing the laws of the state. The governor can grant reprieves and commutations of punishment and pardons, upon the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and revoke conditional pardons. He appoints numerous state officials (with the consent of the Senate), fills vacancies in state and district offices (except vacancies in the legislature), calls special elections to fill vacancies in the legislature, fills vacancies in the United States Senate until an election can be held, and serves as ex officio member of several state boards.
The office of governor was first established by the Constitution of 1845 and superseded the office of president of the Republic of Texas. The position now exists under authority of Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution of 1876 and Texas Government Code, Chapter 401. To be elected governor, a person must be at least thirty years old, a United States citizen, and a resident of Texas for at least five years preceding the election. In 1972, the term of office was extended from two to four years, effective in 1975. Since 1856 the governor has had the use of the Governor's Mansion.
In 1999 there were 198 full time equivalent employees in the Office of the Governor. Thirteen divisions outside of the Executive Office assist the governor in carrying out his functions: Administration; Appointments; Budget & Planning; Communications; General Counsel; Legislative; Policy; Scheduling; Criminal Justice Division; Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities; Office of Film, Music, Television and Multimedia Industries; Women's Commission; and Texas Council on Workforce and Economic Competitiveness.
Correspondence/Constituent Services is listed as a division within the Communications Office (also known as the Press Office). Shirley Green served as director of Correspondence/Constituent Services from 1996 to 2000. The division was responsible for the mail log, the central correspondence file, honorary certificates, greetings, and proclamations. The Ombudsman/Citizens Assistance program was housed within this division. During Governor Bush's second term, the division also handled some of the scheduling functions.
(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 9th and 10th eds., (1996 and 1999); the contents of the records; and versions of the Governor's Office web site during Governor Bush's term available on the Internet Archive at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.governor.state.tx.us, accessed on March 3, 2009.)
George W. Bush served as governor of Texas from January 17, 1995 to December 21, 2000, resigning as governor in the middle of his second term to become president of the United States.
He challenged the incumbent governor, Democrat Ann Richards, running on promises to improve public education and to reform the juvenile justice system, welfare, and the state's tort laws -- the system under which an injured person may sue for damages. During the 74th Legislature in 1995, he worked with the Democrats who controlled both houses of the Texas legislature and managed to get bills passed that dealt with the four issues he had emphasized in his campaign. Bush was seen as pro-business and a consensus-builder.
Bush advocated and signed the two largest tax cuts to date in Texas history, totaling over $3 billion. To pay for the cuts, he sought (unsuccessfully) federal approval of a plan to privatize Texas' social services. Education reform was a priority throughout his terms, with legislation emphasizing local control of schools, higher standards, and a revised curriculum. Controversy has followed, with charter schools mired in financial scandals and protests against one test determining a child's promotion. After winning reelection in 1998, Bush began his bid for the presidency and was not as involved in the 76th Legislature in 1999.
George W. Bush was born July 6, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He graduated from Andover Academy, and received a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a master's from Harvard Business School. He served as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. In 1978, Bush was defeated in a run for the U.S. Congress in West Texas. He was involved in energy exploration from the 1970s into the 1980s. From 1989 until his election as governor, Bush worked with the Texas Rangers baseball organization, leading a group of partners in purchasing the team, and then serving as managing general partner. He married Laura Welch in 1977; they have two daughters.
(Sources include: Versions of the Governor's Office web site during Governor Bush's term available on the Internet Archive at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.governor.state.tx.us, accessed on March 3, 2009.)
The Correspondence/Constituent Services Office was responsible for preparing replies to many of the letters written to Texas Governor George W. Bush's office. Records are copies of autopenned correspondence, legislation, applications, certificates, yellow autopen authority forms, memoranda and routing forms, dating January 1995-December 2000, bulk 1996-2000. Subjects include thank-you letters, directives regarding flying flags at half-staff, birthday greetings, requests to federal agencies for emergency assistance, certification as a presidential elector, grant awards, settlements, appointments (including those to private industry council), applications, legislation, bond issuance, and congratulatory letters to state legislators. The folders from 1995 to 1996 appear to be copies of the signed document plus the autopen authorization. Later files include requests for the governor's signature, drafts of letters, and memoranda or other background information on the signature request. The folders labeled "Certificates" do not contain any Yellow Rose or Admiral in the Texas Navy certificates.
Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to, e-mail addresses (V.T.C.A., Government Code Section 552.137); home addresses of government employees or officials (V.T.C.A., Government Code Sections 552.117 and 552.1175); financial information (V.T.C.A., Government Code Section 552.136) and agency memoranda (V.T.C.A., Government Code Section 552.111), an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 552). The researcher may request an interview with an archivist or submit a request by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P. O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), fax (512-463-5436), email (Dir_Lib@tsl.state.tx.us), or see our web page (https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/requestgovernorbushrecords.html). Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the archivist to accurately identify and locate the information requested. (Note: The Governor's Office has requested that the State Archives contact the Public Information Coordinator for the Governor's Office when we receive a Public Information Act request for these records.) If our review reveals information that may be excepted by the Public Information Act, we are obligated to seek an open records decision from the Attorney General on whether the records can be released. The Public Information Act allows the Archives ten working days after receiving a request to make this determination. The Attorney General has 45 working days to render a decision. Alternately, the Archives can inform you of the nature of the potentially excepted information and if you agree, that information can be redacted or removed and you can access the remainder of the records.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
(Identify the item), Texas Governor George W. Bush Correspondence/Constituent Services Office autopen copies of correspondence from other divisions. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 2002/151
In December 2000, Governor George W. Bush designated the George Bush Presidential Library as the repository for the records from his tenure as Governor of Texas, under authority of Texas Government Code, Section 441.201. Shortly after he left office, the records were shipped to the Bush Library in College Station, Texas. Texas Attorney General John Cornyn ruled that the records are state records subject to the Texas Public Information Act and the management of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission even after transfer to a federal facility (Opinion No. JC-0498, May 3, 2002). In July 2002 the records were transferred from the Bush Library to the Texas State Archives in Austin for preparation for research use. In June 2003, a memorandum of understanding signed by representatives of the National Archives and Records Administration, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and George W. Bush replaced a January 2002 interim memorandum of understanding. The records were moved to the George W. Bush Presidential Library in February 2013.
Jessica Tucker, November 2009
Finding aid updated by Tonia J. Wood, April 2013
Detailed Description of the Records