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The Rosenberg Library Collection - Governor for a Day (1966)

Galveston and Texas History Center - Rosenberg Library

No Sound on Film | 1966

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  •  District Judge Herman Jones swears Texas Senator A. R. “Babe” Schwartz in as acting governor 
  •  Schwartz introduces him family, including his wife, Marilyn, and their four sons. His parents, brother, and mother-in-law were also in attendance. 
  •  Schwartz signs two declarations, one designating the date as a day of recognition for state employees and the other promoting local action and public awareness in the fight against mental illness. 
  •  Schwartz holds a news conference in the governor’s office, where he likely discusses his stance on voter registration. At the time, the Supreme Court of the United States was judging the constitutionality of Texas’ poll tax. Should the court deem it unconstitutional (which it did), the amendment would require Texas to establish a system of annual renewal. Schwartz, on the other hand, supported permanent registration. 
  •  Receiving guests 
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It is a long-standing tradition within the Texas Legislature that the President Pro Tem of each session serve as governor for at least one day. (The President Pro Tem position is customarily given to a senator from the majority party with the longest record of continuous service. In state legislatures, he or she serves as chief executive in the absence of the governor and lieutenant governor.) This film shows Texas Senator A. R. “Babe” Schwartz of Galveston receiving the honor on February 19, 1966. District Judge Herman Jones first swears Schwartz in at a ceremony in the State Capitol Building. Then, the acting governor signs a pair of declarations and holds a news conference in the governor’s private office.
Politician Aaron Robert “Babe” Schwartz was born on July 17, 1926, in Galveston. He served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1955 to 1959 and the Texas Senate from 1960 to 1981. As a legislator, Schwartz was known for his fiery oration. The Texas Monthly wrote that the former state senator was “the best entertainment the Capitol had to offer” in the sixties and seventies. He served on every major committee of the Texas Legislature, specializing in bills protecting the environment and managing the resources of the coastal area. Schwartz was also a leading member of the “Killer Bees,” a group of 12 state senators who fled during the 1979 legislative session in order to filibuster a presidential primary bill. Eluding a statewide search for four days, the politicians broke the necessary quorum needed to vote on any legislation, bringing Senate business to a standstill.
After losing his 1980 reelection campaign, Schwartz became a lobbyist and legislative consultant. He served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center from 1996 to 2005 and began teaching at the University of Texas School of Law in 2009. 
Schwartz passed away at his home in Houston on August 10, 2018. He was 92 years old.