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From the first Republican majority leader of the U.S. House in four decades to the first biracial Miss Universe in history, our choices for the most outstanding Texans of 1995 could not be more different—and yet, Dick Armey and Chelsi Smith, like the others on our list, have at least one thing in common: They defied expectations.

Take golfer Ben Crenshaw, who turned a moment of profound grief into a storybook victory. Or gay activist Mel White, who is preaching tolerance to his former colleagues in the Religious Right. Or black conservatives Gwen and Willie Richardson, whose passionate stance against affirmative action is informing the national debate. Or actress Betty Buckley, whose star turn in Sunset Boulevard proves there’s life after forty for women in entertainment.

Of course, not all of our picks are famous or even familiar. But in the past year each one demonstrated a strength of conviction and depth of character that can only be called Texan. That earns them their place in the second annual Texas Twenty.

Don Henley

Catherine Crier

Carol Porter

Ekhard Pfeiffer

Ron Kirk

Linda Aguilar-Bryan and Joseph Bryan

Roland Swenson

Dealey Herndon

Richard Linklater

Dick Armey

Mel White

Betty Buckley


Gwen and Willie Richardson

Tom Luce

Dagoberto Gilb

Linda Pace Roberts

Jay Wilbur

Ben Crenshaw

Chelsi Smith