LANEY, NELDA. Nelda Laney, wife of five-term Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives James E. "Pete" Laney and driving force in the restoration of the Texas Capitol, is a 1961 graduate of Plainview High School. After high school, the future Mrs. Laney attended Texas Tech University, where she met her husband, and graduated with honors in 1965. After College, Mrs. Laney was a classroom and substitute teacher in the Hale Center schools.
Mrs. Laney has been as much of a fixture at the State Capitol as her husband. During the Capitol's restoration and expansion, she served as co-chair of the Capitol Fund Drive, which raised private funds for furnishing the renovated Capitol and also served as vice-chair of the Texas Capitol Restoration Celebration, where she created a series of collectible Texas Capitol ornaments. Mrs. Laney's ornaments have generated funds for the preservation of the Capitol and its educational programs. Since 1996, more than 300,000 ornaments have been sold and raised over $2 million. Mrs. Laney handled all phases of the project: design, marketing and advertising.
Mrs. Laney has, or is currently, serving on the boards of the Texas Tech University Alumni Association, the Executive Council of Greater Texas Community Partners, and the Texas Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. She is also a member of the Omega Delphi Study Club, Caprock District Women's Club, Mortar Board Alums, Kappa Alpha Theta Alums, and the Texas Tech Century Club. She is on the advisory board of the Texas Book Festival and the South Plains Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and a member of the Texas State History Museum "Resource Group" and the Texas Pledge Advisory Council. She was the first recipient of the Woman of Achievement Award for the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, and was honored with a Special Recognition for her work on the Capitol Restoration by the Texas Women's Alliance. She has been named Woman of the Year in Plainview and Hale Center, inducted into the Future Homemakers of America Texas Hall of Fame and honored as a Lifetime Member of the Girl Scouts. Both Speaker and Mrs. Laney were the honorees of the Mental Health Association in Texas for their support of mental health issues, received the Sister Mary Rose McPhee Award for public service in Texas and the outstanding Children Advocacy Award for the Southern United States.
The Laneys have been married for 39 years and are the proud parents of three children, two daughters, KaLyn and Jamey, a son, J. Pete, and a grandson, Austin.