14 Jun 2011 Ralph Hall: A Gentleman on the Hill
[pullquote author=”Dee Duncan”]There’s no one I’d rather work for in Washington D.C.,” said Dee Duncan, Hall’s executive assistant. “Congressman Hall has a reputation for being one of the best congressmen to work for, and I can attest to that fact.”[/pullquote]
Hall has witnessed history being made from the frontlines of the nation’s capitol. He steadfastly served his North Texas constituents as space exploration opened new frontiers, as the Berlin wall came down , and as the U.S. experienced terrorist attacks on home soil on September 11, 2001.
Congressman Hall is proud to represent the district previously represented by the legendary Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, who led the U.S. House of Representatives during some of the country’s most turbulent and promising times.
“Sam Rayburn was a good man, and a great Congressman,” Hall said. “He went to school with my mother at Mayo College, and served as my mentor for many years. He reminded me and other members of Congress to remember where we came from and to go home often to make sure we are doing a good job.”
[narrowcolumn foo=”bar”]Hall is proud of the progress at Texas A&M University-Commerce and has helped support the university’s efforts through educational grants and other legislative support. Thanks to frequent visits with Dr. Dan Jones and other friends of the university, Hall has kept himself informed of the institution’s needs, and has stepped in to assist with a variety of STEM (science, technology, education, and math) programs, as well as building projects.
“Efforts to improve STEM education are one of my top priorities,” Hall said. “I am impressed with the dynamic leadership and the excellence in education that are synonymous with A&M-Commerce. It has been gratifying to witness their growth and expansion and the positive impact they are making on Northeast Texas.”[/narrowcolumn]
Hall’s passion for education springs from his desire to maintain America’s leadership in the global marketplace. By providing innovative education and training for students from kindergarten through college, Hall is confident that America’s students will graduate fully prepared for the high-tech, high-paying jobs of the 21st century.
A&M-Commerce’s ability to provide quality educational opportunities that are relevant in today’s world while providing students the confidence needed to succeed has been significantly strengthened thanks to its ties to The Texas A&M University System, an educational system recognized world-wide for excellence. According to Hall, the A&M System will further improve educational and career opportunities for students in Northeast Texas, and will help the university continue to grow and strengthen its programs, funding, and recruitment.
Hall’s involvement with A&M-Commerce goes back to the university’s beginnings, where his mother received her degree alongside Sam Rayburn, and East Texas State Teachers College, where his late wife (and best friend) Mary Ellen, received her degree. He even made the commencement speech at his wife’s graduation, and was able to hand her the diploma. Hall’s grandson is also attending A&M-Commerce.
“A&M-Commerce is a great school, and I’m always pleased to help them,” he said. “That’s why I’m putting all of my writings and papers together to someday give to the university, including a few from Sam Rayburn telling me about his friendship with my mother when they were at dear old Mayo College.”
A native of Fate, Texas, Hall grew up in Rockwall, where he attended public school and lived almost all of his life. “My father worked on pipelines, and my mother was a teacher. Thanks to the G.I. bill, I was able to attend college and to receive a law degree following my service as a pilot, flying F6 Hellcats during World War II.
After the war he worked three jobs as a husband and father to help pay his way through law school.
“As a student at Southern Methodist University, I needed one more job, and my wife put me on the ballot for County Judge,” Hall said. “I was fortunate to win that election and to serve 12 years, followed by 10 years serving in the Texas State Senate. During that time, I also began to practice law, purchased a bank, and helped run Texas Aluminum Company – positions that gave me first-hand experience in law, banking, and world-wide trade experience. When our Congressman Ray Roberts decided to retire, I ran for this seat in 1980 and have been re-elected ever since.”
Hall currently serves as chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, a committee he has served on since 1980. As chairman, he took a leave of absence from the Energy and Commerce Committee, where he also has served since his election in 1980. Hall was instrumental in helping pass the Energy Policy Act of 1995 that included his ultra-deep drilling provision, the Clean Air Act, the Telecommunications Act, a balanced budget, and welfare reform, among many other initiatives. He worked closely with President Reagan to help promote a strong defense, and with President George H. W. Bush and President George W. Bush to advance fiscally responsible policies.
“I count all of these experiences as a privilege and an honor,” Hall said. “Public service – as a County Judge, State Senator and Congressman – has been a wonderful opportunity to help people in need and to help make government work for people. It’s nice to be able to help my constituents keep the American dream alive.”