ENG: Lloyd Alton Doggett II (born October 6, 1946) is a U.S. Representative from Texas. A member of the Democratic Party, he has represented a district based in the state capital, Austin, since 1995, currently numbered as the 35th district.
Early life, education and career
Born in Austin, Doggett received both a Bachelor's degree in business and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as student body president his senior year. While attending the University of Texas at Austin, he also joined Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.
His electoral career began in 1973, when he was elected to the Texas State Senate, serving until 1985. He authored the bill creating the Texas Commission on Human Rights, as well as a law outlawing "cop killer" bullets and a "sunset law" requiring periodic review of government agencies. He first gained notoriety in 1979, as a member of the "Killer Bees" — a group of 12 Democratic state senators who opposed a plan to move the state's presidential primary to March 11.
The intent was to give former governor John Connally a leg up on the 1980 Republican nomination. The Killer Bees wanted a closed primary. When this proposal was rejected, they walked out of the chamber and left the Senate two members short of a quorum. The bill was withdrawn five days later.
In 1989 he became both a justice on the Texas Supreme Court and an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law, his alma mater, serving until his election to Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Described as an “endangered species”, Doggett was one of only two white Democratic House members from Texas in the 112th Congress (the other being Gene Green) in a state with mostly Republicans and minority members of the Democratic Party.
He is one of the most liberal white Democrats from a Southern district, and one of the most liberal congressmen ever to represent Texas in Congress. He has been described as a strong voice for his party on taxes and environmental policies.
Doggett has been highly partisan at times. He was a frequent critic of Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker, while allying with David Bonior, the Democratic Minority Whip, when Bonior was leading “an effort to diminish Gingrich's power by raising continual questions about his ethics.” He has been a close ally of Nancy Pelosi. In 2002, Doggett supported Pelosi's bid to become the party’s House leader over fellow Texan Martin Frost, a more moderate candidate.
Political campaigns - Before 2012
In 1984 he lost the U.S. Senate election to Phil Gramm by a margin of 59%-41%.
He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994 in what was then the 10th District after 32-year incumbent Jake Pickle retired. He was one of the few Democrats to win an open seat in that year's massive Republican landslide. Running for re-election in 1996, Congressman Doggett defeated a challenger in Republican Teresa Doggett, to whom he is no relation. It marked the second election in a row in which he defeated a black female Republican. In the years following his first re-election, Doggett would consistently win around 85% of the vote, facing only Libertarian opponents. The 10th, which had once been represented by Lyndon Johnson, had long been a liberal Democratic bastion in increasingly Republican Texas.
Redistricting by the Texas Legislature in 2003 split Austin, which had been located entirely or almost entirely in the 10th district for more than a century, among three districts. Through Republican gerrymandering, Doggett's home wound up in a new, heavily Republican 10th district stretching from north central Austin to the Houston suburbs. Most of Doggett's former territory wound up on the 25th district, which consisted of a long tendril stretching from Austin to McAllen on the Mexican border. It was called "the fajita strip" or "the bacon strip" because of its shape. Doggett moved to the newly configured 25th and entered the Democratic primary—the real contest in the heavily Democratic, majority-Hispanic district.
He won the primary and went on to victory in November.
On June 28, 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the nearby 23rd District's lines violated the rights of Latino voters. As part of the 2003 redistricting, heavily Democratic and majority-Latino Laredo had largely been cut out of the 23rd and replaced by several heavily Republican areas near San Antonio. The decision turned on the fact that the 23rd was a protected majority-Latino district—in other words, if the 23rd was ever redrawn to put Latinos in a minority, an acceptable majority-Latino district had to be created in its place. While the new 23rd was 55% Latino, only 46% of its voting population was Latino. The Court therefore found that the 23rd was not an acceptable Latino-majority district. It also found that the 25th was not compact enough to be an acceptable replacement because the two Latino communities in the district were more than 300 miles apart, creating the impression that it had been deliberately drawn to pick up as many Latinos as possible without regard to compactness.
Due to the size of the 23rd, the ruling forced the redrawing of five districts between El Paso and San Antonio, including the 25th. For the 2006 election, Doggett regained most of his old base in Austin (though not the area around the University of Texas at Austin, which stayed in the 21st), and also picked up several suburbs southeast of the city. After skating to reelection in 2006 and 2008, he was held to only 52 percent of the vote in 2010—his closest race since 1996.
It was reported that the new Congressional maps in Texas turned Doggett's district from a strongly Democratic district into a strongly Republican one. The new map split Doggett's old territory among five districts. His home was placed in a new, heavily Republican 25th District stretching from western Austin all the way to the fringes of the Metroplex. Much of his old base, however, was placed in the newly-created 35th district, a majority-Hispanic district stretching from eastern Austin to San Antonio. Doggett's home was located approximately five blocks east of the 35th. It appeared that the Republican-controlled state legislature had gerrymandered the district by packing as many Democrats in the Austin-San Antonio corridor into it as possible.
Doggett accused the Republicans of wanting to make it difficult, if not impossible, for an Anglo Democrat to be elected to Congress from Texas, saying, "The Republican Party is determined to make the Democratic Party a party of minorities — that is what this is about, as well." He added that the Republicans were deliberately trying to reduce Austin's clout in Congress by "deny(ing) the capital city an opportunity to have a district that reflects the capital city." He was faced with the choice between running in the reconfigured 25th or moving, joking that he would live in a Winnebago to be able to run in the newly-created 35th.
Doggett was set to face State Representative Joaquin Castro in the District 35 primary election. The potential race was described as the biggest threat to Dogett's survival yet, with Castro being seen as a “rising star” in the Democratic party. Doggett accused Castro of working alongside Republicans throughout the redistricting process. The Republican House Redistricting Committee later clarified, saying that any discussions with Castro took place after the area for the district was decided. However, Castro opted to run in the neighboring 20th District after its incumbent, Charlie Gonzalez, announced his retirement.
Doggett eventually decided to run in the 35th District, facing Bexar County assessor Sylvia Romo. Before the primaries, he said that he would move into the district if she were to win. Political commentators suggested that Romo had the district numbers in her favor, but was attempting the difficult leap from local office to Congress, while Doggett had a huge amount of funding. Doggett has stressed his long tenure as a progressive Democrat, saying he wants to “stoutly defend Social Security, Medicare, and national health care, and also notes his strong support for both higher education programs and public education.” By contrast, Romo’s campaign stressed her tax knowledge and CPA license, focusing on her potential to help with Congressional tax reform and economic growth.
Doggett won the primary with 73.2% of the vote. He performed strongly in San Antonio, an area he had never before represented. The district is so heavily Democratic that he was heavily favored to win the general election in November. He easily defeated Republican challenger Susan Narvaiz in the general election to become the first Anglo Democrat to represent a significant portion of San Antonio since Chick Kazen left office in 1985.
The Sunlight Project estimates his average net worth in 2006 was over $13 million. In 2008, the Sunlight Foundation pointed out that among the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Doggett has the 11th-highest amount of investment in oil stocks.
In April 2008 while celebrating the upcoming Earth Day Doggett fell off of his bicycle and broke his leg. This accident was similar to a bicycle crash that occurred a year previously in which his friend, the former mayor of Austin Bruce Todd, fell off his bicycle and suffered a serious head injury and several broken bones.