As state senator for District 11 – Harris, Galveston, Brazoria counties, Jerry’s major legislative successes include a constitutional amendment allowing home equity lending in Texas, a state coastal management plan and the creation of the Texas State Veterans Home Program. A tireless advocate for his fellow veterans, he chaired the first Veterans Affairs committee in the Texas Senate.
But to many Texans, Jerry will always be known as the author of the historic concealed handgun law. Since Senate Bill 60 passed in 1995, Jerry has been the state’s leading voice for gun rights. He has appeared in countless news articles and TV and radio interviews advocating for our God given and constitutionally enumerated 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Jerry is also known for his love of Texas history. Named Texan of the Year in 2007 by the nonprofit organization Celebrate Texas for his contributions to preserving Texas history, Jerry has always defended the importance of real history and the values it can teach. His dogged determination in fighting for the heritage of Texas has included defending Confederate monuments, advocating for Buffalo Soldier and Tejano commemorations, creating a Juneteenth commission for the purpose of erecting a monument on the capitol grounds, and standing tall for the men who died at the Alamo.
TEXAS LAND COMMISSIONER
Elected Texas Land Commissioner in 2002, Patterson quickly modernized and revitalized the Texas General Land Office, the oldest agency in Texas. He diversified and increased the Permanent School Fund, earning more ($8.1 billion) for the fund during his twelve year tenure than had been earned ($7.9 billion) in the entire 129 years since the PSF was created in 1876. Equally as important, Jerry ushered in the greatest expansion of benefits for Texas veterans since World War II including doubling the number of State Veterans Homes and building four new Texas veterans cemeteries – without cost to Texas taxpayers.
SERVING THE ALAMO
In 2011, the Texas Legislature granted the Land Office authority over the Alamo. Patterson quickly revitalized the iconic Texas landmark, working closely with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to increase conservation efforts, modernize equipment, refurbish the revenue generating gift shop and improve educational outreach. He established the Alamo Endowment, a private non-profit designed to raise private donations for Alamo conservation.
Jerry also worked to create one of the largest public history events ever held at the Alamo: the return of William B. Travis’ “Victory or Death” letter to the Alamo for thirteen days in 2013 – the first and only return of the letter to the Alamo since it left by mounted courier on February 24, 1836. In 2014, Commissioner Patterson met with legendary musician and Alamo devotee, Phil Collins, and negotiated an agreement with the iconic entertainer to donate his entire collection of Alamo artifacts to the Shrine of Texas Liberty.
FILMMAKER IN RETIREMENT
Currently, Jerry is involved in the production of documentary films about Texas history. As President of the nonprofit Texas Navy Association, he recently completed a film about the little known and heroic 1836-1846 Texas Navy that will be provided to Texas history teachers without charge. Presently, he is producing another documentary film about the history of border violence during the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution.
Jerry is a member of Bethany Lutheran Church in Austin and has four children: twins Samantha and Cole who attend public school, Emily, and Travis. His daughter, Emily, is an attorney specializing in establishing and monitoring judicial systems in newly emerging democracies. His son, Travis, is a graduate of Texas A&M where he was commissioned as a Marine Lieutenant. Travis served four tours of duty in Iraq and the Middle East. Named Marine Aviator of the year in 2016, Lt. Col. Travis Patterson now pilots Marine One, the helicopter responsible for flying President Donald Trump.