No Portrait Available
August 4, 1915
June 29, 1998
Lawyer - Legislator
Author of Tax Bill
||Ben Dodson Atwell
||Section:Patriots' Hill, Section 1 (A)
|Reason for Eligibility:
||Member, Texas House of Representatives
||August 4, 1915
||June 29, 1998
||July 2, 1998
ATWELL, BEN DODSON (1915~1998) Ben Dodson "Jumbo" Atwell, state representative from Dallas, graduated from the University of Texas where he received his J. D. degree. Often called Jumbo, Atwell served in the U. S. Navy during World War II on a mine sweeper.
Jumbo was elected to the House of Representatives in 1951 from District 33H in Dallas County. He served 12 years as Chairman of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, longer than any other person. Byron Tunnell, former Speaker of the House, once said, "Ben Atwell as chairman established a stable structure in Texas. Because of his seniority and knowledge, he was needed in the legislature."
In 1959, Jumbo sponsored the Water Safety Act of 1959 and subsequent amendments that set the standard for boating safety in Texas. Jumbo also sponsored the bill to create the first dental school in Dallas, which won unanimous approval. He was instrumental in guiding the bill through the House that created the authority to Dallas and Tarrant Counties to create DFW Airport. He served as Dean of the Dallas Delegation for many years. Jumbo's motto as a legislator was "vote with the conservatives and party with the liberals." After his retirement from the legislature, Jumbo's successful bills included liquor by the drink.