Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Preston Smith (Texas)
U.S. politician Preston Earnest Smith (Williamson County, Texas March 8, 1912 - Lubbock, Texas October 18, 2003) was born in a tenant farming family with 13 children. He graduated from Texas Tech University and built a movie theater business by the mid 1940s. Smith was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1944 and then to the Texas State Senate in 1956. In 1962 he was elected lieutenant governor and then in 1968 he was elected governor of Texas, a position he held from 1969 to 1973. Smith was embroiled in the Sharpstown scandal stock fraud scheme of 1971 and 1972, which eventually led to his downfall. Smith lost his third bid for the governorship of Texas to Dolph Briscoe in the Democratic primaries in 1972.
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