Born in Houston, Texas on November 15, 1946 Jerry Patterson graduated Texas A&M, Class of 1969 and received his commission in the United States Marine Corps.
He volunteered for duty in Vietnam and was later designated as a Naval Flight Officer.
Patterson served in Marine fighter squadrons until his retirement from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1993.
Five generations of his family have served in the military in time of war.
Commissioner Jerry Patterson has served the people of Texas as State Senator for six years and Texas Land Commissioner for eight. Before serving in elected office, Patterson established a distinguished military record with 25 years of active and reserve military service.
Five generations of Patterson’s family have served their country in time of war.
His great grandfathers fought on the side of the South in the War Between the States. His grandfather served in both World War I and World War II. Patterson’s father also served in World War II as well as in the Korean War.
Jerry joined the Marine Corps Reserve in October 1965 while a student at Texas A&M University. He enrolled in the Platoon Leader Class (PLC) Officer Commissioning Program, and was commissioned at Texas A&M in January 1970.
Entering Active Duty in July 1970, Patterson reported to The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia for six months of Infantry Training, later serving as an Artillery Officer at Fort Sill until 1971. Patterson was assigned overseas in January 1972 serving with the 3rd Marine division in Okinawa, Japan.
In 1972, Patterson volunteered for Vietnam duty and was assigned to the staff of the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade as intelligence watch officer. Patterson served in Vietnam during the last six months of the Vietnam war, leaving on 26 January 1973. In 1973, Patterson reported to Pensacola, Florida for flight training as a naval flight officer. He received his naval flight officer wings in November 1974.
After receiving his wings, he was transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona for transition into the F4 Phantom aircraft. In the summer of 1980, Patterson left active duty and joined the Marine Corps Reserve at Dallas Naval Air Station. Here he joined Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 — otherwise known as the “Cowboys.”
In 1991, Patterson was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve.
After his election to the Texas Senate from District 11 in 1992, he retired from the Reserve in 1993. As State Senator, he served as Chairman of the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee. Patterson also passed the historic concealed handgun law, a constitutional amendment allowing home equity lending, the state coastal management plan and a bill creating the Texas State Veterans Home Program, among others.
In November 2002, Patterson was elected as the 27th Texas Land Commissioner. He was re-elected to a third term in 2010.
Jerry resides in Austin and has four children, twins Samantha and Cole, born in 2004, and Emily and Travis. His daughter Emily is an attorney in Kosovo for an agency funded by the U.S. State Department. His son Travis is a graduate of Texas A&M, where he was commissioned as a Marine Lieutenant. He served four overseas tours of duty as a U.S. Marine attack helicopter pilot in the War on Terror, including two in Iraq.
STATE SENATOR (1992 – 1998)
- Authored the Texas Concealed Handgun Law and restored a constitutional right for law-abiding Texans.
- Changed the Texas Constitution to allow Texans access to their home equity, a fundamental property right.
- Created the Texas State Veterans Home program to provide Texas veterans with skilled long-term care at no cost to Texas taxpayers.
- Created a new DPS Fugitive Apprehension Unit to round up dangerous parole violators.
- Repealed the motorcycle helmet law, for those who have insurance, in support of individual responsibility rather than government mandate.
LAND COMMISSIONER (2002 – Present)
- Earned more money than ever before for the Permanent School Fund – the state trust fund for primary education – while diversifying the Fund to protect it against economic instability.
- Managed over $6 billion in state assets, including 13 million acres of state land, state submerged lands, investments, etc.
- Fought to protect and uphold the right of Texans to access the public beach through the Open Beaches Act.
- Stood up against radical environmental groups like the Sierra Club to protect Texas beaches and oil and gas development on state lands.
- As Chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board, Jerry Patterson has brought about the greatest expansion of benefits for Texas veterans since World War II, all at little or no cost to Texas taxpayers.
- Doubled the number of Texas State Veterans Homes that provide long-term care for our honored Texas veterans: McAllen, El Paso in 2005, Amarillo in 2007 and Tyler in 2010.
- Built the first Texas State Veterans Cemeteries to provide a dignified place of rest for Texas veterans: Killeen in 2005, Mission in 2006, Abilene in 2009 and Corpus Christi in 2010.
- Led the state in commercially viable renewable energy leases, including the first and largest offshore wind power lease in U.S. history, the first geothermal lease in Texas history, and the first utility scale solar power lease in Texas history. All without using taxpayer dollars and at no risk to Texas taxpayers, while making millions for the PSF.