WHITWORTH, HARRY PHILIP (1920 - 1994), one of the major participants in state government for the past 45 years, whose legacy extends to many areas but is perhaps best remembered for improving the State?s airline service. As a Governor John Connally appointee to the Texas Aeronautics Commission, where he served as chairman, he promoted expansion of such regional carriers as Southwest Airlines and obtained state funds for the development of new airports, particularly in smaller cities of the state. Developing a program of new environmental laws for Texas, as chief spokesman for the chemical industry since 1953, he worked tirelessly with governmental leaders and environmentalists to reach an accord that would protect the environment while providing jobs for Texas. He was one of the architects of the recent merger of several scattered state offices into a single environmental agency. He helped to pass the state?s first school equalization law, the Gilmer Aiken Bill, when he served as a member of the legislature in the late 1940?s.
Whitworth was elected to the Texas Legislature from Smithville in 1946. He campaigned by post card while still overseas, following duty as a United States Navy officer during World War II. Mastery of innovative campaign tactics served him well in his 41-year career as one of the State?s most effective and best known lobbyists. He was known as an advisor who helped hundreds of candidates with their campaigns rather than as one who walked the halls of the State Capitol. Such pro-business and conservative candidates as John Connally, Ben Barnes, Byron Tunnell, Bill Clayton, Gib Lewis, Pete Laney and Bob Bullock sought his help early in their campaigns and became his close friends. Whitworth was the first and only chief executive officer for Texas Chemical Council, an association of more than 90 different chemical companies with manufacturing operations in Texas. Under his direction from 1953 until his death, Texas became the number one chemical manufacturing state in the nation. Before joining the Chemical Council, he represented the Texas Manufacturers Association (now called the Texas Association of Business).
Whitworth played undergraduate football at North Texas State College. Active in many civic affairs, he coached little league football and baseball in West Austin Optimist League for several years. He was a many-year president of the Austin Club. He was a graduate of the University of Texas Law School and was involved in many ex-student and athletic groups at UT. In addition to lobbying activities, he practiced law in Austin for more than 40 years. Representative Whitworth died suddenly at his home at the age of 73. Information taken from obituary, Austin American-Statesman.