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John Bowden Connally

(b. 1917)


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(b. Floresville, Texas, 27 Feb. 1917; d. Houston, Texas, 15 June 1993)

US; Governor of Texas 1963–9, Secretary of the Treasury 1969–72 Educated at the University of Texas in Austin, Connally made his fortune in the oil industry in Texas. He became involved in the politics of the Democratic Party in Texas and served as an administrative assistant to Senator Lyndon Johnson in 1949. In 1961 he was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Kennedy. In 1962 he was elected Governor of Texas. He won national attention on the day of Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, 22 November 1963, when he was wounded by one of the shots fired at Kennedy. As Governor of Texas Connally benefited from the patronage of his mentor, Lyndon Johnson, who was President of the United States during the same years as Connally was Governor of Texas. Connally was, however, a conservative Democrat and did not support the liberal reforms in the fields of civil rights and anti-poverty which were introduced by the Democratic Party at the national level by the federal government.

In 1971, though still a Democrat, he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury in the Republican administration of President Nixon. He made a major impact. To deal with the problems of inflation, recession, and growing trade deficits, he introduced prices and wages controls and devalued the dollar. These measures were successful in the short term and produced economic recovery by the time of Nixon's re-election in 1972.

Speculation arose that Nixon would select Connally as his vice-presidential candidate in 1972 in place of Vice-President Spiro Agnew. Nixon was a strong admirer of Connally and wished to have him as his Vice-President, but Agnew was retained since Connally was unacceptable in some quarters as a nominal Democrat and a somewhat abrasive, arrogant character. Had Nixon selected Connally as his vice-presidential candidate in 1972, he would have succeeded as President following Nixon's resignation over the Watergate affair in July, 1974.

He served in a general role as special assistant to the President in 1973. He was indicted in 1974 in connection with an alleged illegal contribution from the milk producer's lobby but was acquitted. He resumed his business affairs in the oil industry in Texas but continued to be actively involved in Republican party politics. In 1980 he made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for President. With the fall in oil prices in the 1980s he lost heavily and was declared bankrupt.

Subjects: Politics.


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