Joseph M. Nixon, known as Joe Nixon (born September 15, 1956), is a lawyer in Houston, Texas, who is a Republican former member of the Texas House of Representatives. Elected in 1994, with the rise of George W. Bush to the Texas governorship, Nixon from 1995 to 2007 represented House District 133 in Harris County. Nixon did not seek reelection to a seventh House term in 2006 because he ran instead unsuccessfully for the District 7 seat in the Texas State Senate. The position was instead won by the radio commentator and businessman Dan Patrick, a Republican candidate for state lieutenant governor against the incumbent David Dewhurst in the May 27, 2014 runoff election.
Nixon spent at least part of his childhood in Corpus Christi, Texas, before he moved with his parents and three sisters to the Memorial and Tanglewood areas of Houston. Nixon's parents were Hershell Nixon, a United States Navy officer and a geologist, and Joan Lowery Nixon, a Los Angeles native who penned 140 books, mostly historical fiction and mysteries for young adults.
In 1978 Nixon graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Texas A&M University in College Station. In 1982 he obtained his Juris Doctor from the private St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio. At St. Mary's, he was a member of the Order of the Barrister and Phi Delta Phi. He served too as the associate editor from 1981 to 1982 of the St. Mary's Law Journal. Nixon is an attorney with Beirne Maynard Parsons, LLP in Uptown Houston and has also done work for the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Nixon and his wife Allyson D. Nixon have three sons, Nicholas, Stewart, and Matthew/ He is a Roman Catholic. According to intelius.com, Nixon previously resided in New Orleans, Louisiana, but no dates are provided.
In 1994 the six-term Republican Representative Robert Eckels did not seek reelection but instead won the first of three consecutive terms as county judge of Harris County. Nixon and three others sought the party nomination to succeed Eckels. Nixon led with 3,303 votes (31.3 percent) and was placed into a runoff election with the second-place contender, Steve Crawford, who polled 2,551 (24.2 percent). In third place was Jerry Hall with 2,384 votes (22.6 percent). In fourth place was Nixon's eventual successor in the House, Jim Murphy, a Houston businessman who received 2,317 votes (22 percent).
Nixon won the runoff against Crawford with 51.7 percent of the ballots cast; he then prevailed in the 1994 general election in the heavily Republican district with 80.24 percent. He rarely had opposition thereafter. In the 2004 general election, his last victory at the polls, he finished with 78.3 percent of the vote.
In the state Senate primary in 2006, Nixon ran third in a four-candidate field with 3,630 votes (8.7 percent). Fellow state Representative Peggy Hamric ran a weak second with 6,904 votes (16.5 percent). Dan Patrick prevailed with 28,870 votes (68.8 percent) and went on to win the first of his two state Senate victories, the second occurring in 2010.
Representative Nixon authored and procured passage of a comprehensive tort reform bill and the companion state constitutional amendment, known as Proposition 12. He also worked for passage of legislation to stem identity theft and child abduction.
Legislative voting records and ratings
In the special legislative session of 2006 called by Governor Rick Perry to address public school funding issues, Representative Nixon voted to reduce property taxes but to increase tobacco taxes. He voted to revise business taxes. He sided with the House majority, 86-47, to adopt a conference report that establishes the minimum value of a motor vehicle, for purposes of sales taxes, as 80 percent of the "standard presumptive value", an amount determined by the Texas Department of Transportation. However, the purchaser may establish a lower value by a valid appraiser.
In 2001 the Texas Right to Life Committee rated Representative Nixon a "C+"; his score improved to 113 percent in 2003 and 100 percent in his last regular session in 2005. The National Abortion Rights Action League rated him 0 percent in his last three legislative sessions. Phyllis Schlafly's conservative Eagle Forum, managed in Texas by Cathie Adams, a former state chairman of the Texas Republican Party, rated Nixon 92 percent favorable in 2001 and 77 percent in both 2003 and 2005. The Young Conservatives of Texas in 2005 scored Nixon 87 percent in 2005. The Christian Coalition of America rated him 100 percent in 1997 and 1999 and 88 percent in 2003. The Texas Association of Business scored him 92 percent in 2005. The Texas chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business ranked him 83 percent. In 2001, the NAACP scored Nixon 75 percent. The Texas League of Conservation Voters rated Nixon 8 percent in 2005; the Sierra Club, 0 percent in 2003. The National Rifle Association rated Nixon either "A" or "A+" in all sessions in which he was a representative.