A protégé of President Lyndon Johnson, Ben Barnes won a seat in the Texas House of Representatives at the age of 22. He became a top lieutenant and close ally of Texas Governor John Connally. Three years later, Barnes was elected Texas Speaker of the House. At 26, he was the youngest Speaker of the House in state history. Five years later, Barnes was elected lieutenant governor, again the youngest ever, garnering the most votes of any statewide candidate in Texas history.
Using the same energy that drove his political career, Barnes left government and built a multi-million-dollar real estate empire. He now focuses on public policy, business development, business startup investing, and philanthropy. Barnes, a lifelong Democrat, remains a major player in national politics and was referred to by Texas Monthly as “one of the chief financial and strategic architects of the Democratic resurgence in the Senate.” In 1995, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of The University of Texas, an honor bestowed on such luminaries as Lady Bird Johnson and Walter Cronkite. In 2010, The Houston Chronicle named him one of the ten most influential Texans in Washington.
Today, Ben Barnes headlines a successful public policy firm with offices in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. The Ben Barnes Group has a global presence and represents numerous Fortune 500 firms, trade associations and business groups. The company provides a range of consulting services including strategic planning, advocacy at both the state and federal levels, crisis management, regulatory representation, business development, procurement consulting and policy guidance.
Barnes also contributes time and money to numerous charitable organizations. He sits on a number of corporate and charitable boards and supports philanthropic organizations, including serving as Chairman Emeritus for the Austin Area Boys and Girls Club and a member of the Board of Directors of the Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt Library and the Roosevelt Institute. He is an avid supporter of all activities at his alma mater, The University of Texas. He is also involved with the LBJ School of Public Affairs and serves as the Vice Chairman of the LBJ Foundation. Barnes also is a member of the University of Texas at Austin Development Board.