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Charles Matthews (Texas politician)

Charles Ray Matthews (born May 19, 1939) is a former member and chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and the chancellor-emeritus of the Texas State University System. Based in Austin, Texas, his service on the Railroad Commission extended from 1995 to 2005; as chancellor, from 2005 to 2010.[1]

Charles Ray Matthews
Texas Railroad Commissioner
In office
GovernorGeorge W. Bush (1995-2000)
Rick Perry (2000-2005)
Preceded byJames E. Nugent
Succeeded byElizabeth Ames Jones
Chancellor, Texas State University System
In office
Preceded byLamar Urbanovsky
Succeeded byBrian McCall
Mayor of Garland, Texas
In office
Personal details
Born (1939-05-19) May 19, 1939 (age 80)
Waco, McLennan County
Texas, USA
Resting placeTexas State Cemetery in Austin (upon his death)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Julia Freeman Matthews
ChildrenFour children
ResidenceAquilla, Hill County, Texas
Alma materUniversity of Texas at Dallas

Texas State University-San Marcos

University of Texas at Austin
OccupationBusinessman; Educator


A native of Waco, Texas, Matthews received his higher education later in life, having graduated with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies in 1994 from the University of Texas at Dallas. In 1999, he received a master's degree in public administration from Texas State University in San Marcos, then known as Southwest Texas State University. In 2006, he was awarded a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Texas at Austin.[1][2]

Political careerEdit

From 1984 to 1986, Matthews was the mayor of Garland, Texas, a nonpartisan position in which he worked to reduce the tax rate and to cut municipal expenditures. In 1986, he lost a race for county judge in Dallas County.[2]

In 1994, he unseated veteran Democratic Railroad Commissioner James E. Nugent. Matthews outpolled Nugent, 2,046,614 votes (49.8 percent) to 1,978,759 (48.1 percent). Another 84,769 votes were cast (2.1 percent) for the Libertarian Rich Draheim.[3] In 2000, Matthews won reelection to the Railroad Commission without Democratic opposition. He received 3,633,901 votes (77 percent), with the remaining 23 percent split between two minor party contenders.[4]

As railroad commissioner, Matthews supported more exploration for natural gas to meet future electricity needs.[5]

TSU System chancellorshipEdit

Early in 2005, Matthews stepped down from the Railroad Commission to succeed Lamar Urbanovsky as the university system chancellor.[6] Matthews served on the Texas Turnpike Authority under appointment from Republican Governor Bill Clements.[7] He is a former director, president, and chief executive officer of the Texas Municipal Power Agency.[6]

Originally established in 1911 to supervise the normal schools of Texas, the TSU system, which Matthews headed for five years, consists of nine institutions: Texas State University-San Marcos, Angelo State University in San Angelo, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Lamar University in Beaumont, the Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College-Orange, Lamar State College-Port Arthur, Sul Ross State University in Alpine, and Rio Grande College of Sul Ross State University. These schools enroll more than seventy thousand students.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Matthews is the former president of Housing Administrators, Inc., president and CEO of M Mortgage Company, a director of Southern Bank and Trust/Texas Commerce Bank, and the owner/operator of Matthews Investments. He is a former member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the National Coal Council.[1]

Matthews has been active in Rotary International, the Lion's Club, Young Men's Christian Association, and the Boy Scouts of America. He served as chairman of the Garland Chamber of Commerce and received the highest honor of the Garland business community, the Tall Texan Award. He and his wife, the former Julia Freeman (born January 19, 1945), a native of McAllen, Texas, reside in rural Aquilla near Hillsboro, Texas. They have four children.[1][7]


  1. ^ a b c d "Charles R. Matthews". Retrieved February 25, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Voter's Guide, 2000". Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  3. ^ "General Election returns, November 8, 1994". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  4. ^ "General Election returns, November 7, 2000". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  5. ^ "Matthews touts increase in gas production". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, October 30, 1999. Retrieved February 25, 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ a b c "Railroad commissioner tapped as finalist for Texas State chancellorship". Austin Business Journal. January 7, 2005. Archived from the original on 2010-06-02. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Biography of Charles R. Matthews" (PDF). Retrieved May 15, 2012.