William Neff Patman
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 14th district
January 3, 1981 - January 3, 1985
|Joseph P. Wyatt, Jr.|
|Member of the Texas Senate|
from the 18th district
January 10, 1961 - January 3, 1981
|William S. Fly|
|John T. Wilson|
|Born||March 26, 1927|
Texarkana, Texas, U.S.
|Died||December 9, 2008 (aged 81)|
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Carrin Mauritz Patman (m. 1953)
|Children||At least one daughter|
|Alma mater||Kemper Military School|
University of Texas
William Neff "Bill" Patman (March 26, 1927 - December 9, 2008) was an American politician who served from 1981 to 1985 as a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas. He was the son of John William Wright Patman, the long-time U.S. Representative who chaired the House Banking Committee and was a self-proclaimed advocate of small business, having co-authored the Robinson-Patman Act.
Patman was born in Texarkana, Texas. He attended public schools there and in Washington, D.C. He then attended the now closed Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri, graduating in 1944. He served in the United States Marine Corps as a private first class from 1945 to 1946. He subsequently served in the United States Air Force Reserve as a captain from 1953 to 1966. He was a diplomatic courier for the United States Foreign Service from 1949 to 1950.
Patman graduated in 1953 from the University of Texas at Austin. Later that year he was admitted to the Texas bar and served as a legal examiner for the Texas Railroad Commission until 1955. In 1955, Patman commenced the private practice of law. He also served as the city attorney for Ganado, Texas from 1955 to 1960.
In 1960, Patman successfully sought the now District 18 seat in the Texas State Senate. He took office the following year and served until 1981. He was a delegate to state Democratic Party conventions during this senatorial tenure. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Patman was in the fifteenth vehicle of the motorcade.
In 1980, he was elected to the District 14 seat in the United States House of Representatives, when the short-term incumbent Joseph P. Wyatt, Jr. (born 1941), a former member of Patman's state senatorial staff, did not seek reelection. Patman was re-elected in 1982, when U.S. Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr., of Houston led the entire Democratic ticket to its last ever full sweep of Texas statewide offices.
In 1984, however, Patman was unseated by Republican Mac Sweeney of Wharton, when Ronald W. Reagan swept Texas in his presidential reelection bid. Though Sweeney was defeated after two terms by a Democrat, the district returned to Republican representation in 1995, with the defection of Representative Greg Laughlin (who defeated Sweeney in 1988) and then the election in 1996 of former Representative Ron Paul, who defeated Laughlin in the Republican primary. After his defeat by Sweeney, Patman did not seek further office and retired to Ganado, located some ninety miles southwest of Houston, where he lived on his ranch called Ganadom.
Patman spent his last years in Ganado and at a second house in Austin. He died of stomach cancer at the age of eighty-one at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Services were held at the Texas Senate chamber; he is interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Patman's father-in-law, Fred Mauritz, was also a Texas state senator, having served from 1940 until his death, also of cancer, in 1947.
U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett of Austin credited Patman with foreseeing the 2008 financial crisis that brought about a $700 billion bailout from Congress: "Much of his legacy -- fighting predatory lenders and warning of banks deemed 'too big to fail' -- testifies to his foresight."