Ken Paxton is the 51st Attorney General of Texas. He was elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn into office on January 5, 2015. He was re-elected to a second term in 2018.
As the state’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Paxton leads more than 4,000 employees in 38 divisions and 117 offices around Texas. That includes nearly 750 attorneys, who handle more than 30,000 cases annually – enforcing child support orders, protecting Texans against consumer fraud, enforcing open government laws, providing legal advice to state officials, and representing the state of Texas in court, among other things.
His first major initiative as attorney general was the formation of a special unit dedicated to combating human trafficking in Texas. During its first year of existence, the Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime section helped arrest the chief executive officer of Backpage.com and coordinated to facilitate the permanent shut down of Backpage.com, the largest online sex-trafficking marketplace in the United States.
Under Attorney General Paxton’s leadership, the agency’s Child Support Division is recognized as the most successful and cost-effective program in the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the division collected more than $4.378 billion for Texas families – an unprecedented amount in one year by any state. This success helped Texas taxpayers avoid over $1 billion in additional public assistance costs.
Attorney General Paxton is focused on protecting Texans and upholding Texas laws and the Constitution. Fighting federal overreach, he filed 22 lawsuits against the Obama administration during a two-year stretch, of which six were heard in the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s obtained an injunction or other winning ruling in more than 75 percent of the cases he’s brought against the federal government.
During his tenure in office, Attorney General Paxton has won major cases for Texas on immigration, school rights, Environmental Protection Agency rules and religious freedom. Stopping the EPA’s “Regional Haze” rule averted higher energy rates for Texans. Businesses were protected and jobs preserved in Texas when Attorney General Paxton prevailed against the Department of Labor’s “Overtime” rule. Attorney General Paxton led a successful multistate coalition against the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have increased consumer prices for electricity and weakened the power grid in Texas. Most recently, a U.S. District Court agreed with his 20-state coalition lawsuit holding Obamacare unconstitutional. His office has also obtained a record number of successful election fraud convictions.
In 2016, Attorney General Paxton secured a final settlement of $50 million in the state’s lawsuit against VW over its emissions cheating scandal. Texas also stands to benefit from as much as $191 million from VW for projects designed to mitigate environmental harm done by the carmaker. Attorney General Paxton has been aggressive in his approach to protecting the health and safety of Texans from illegal synthetic drugs. His office has filed more than a dozen lawsuits to block the sale of synthetic cannabinoids (known as Kush and Spice) in Texas. The agency’s website provides Texans with the information and resources they need to become fully informed about the dangers of synthetic drugs and the opioid painkiller abuse crisis.
Attorney General Paxton graduated from Baylor University, where he served as student body president, earning a B.A. in psychology and an M.B.A. After receiving a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, he worked as an attorney at Strasburger & Price, LLP, in-house counsel for J.C. Penney Company, and headed up his own law firm for 14 years in McKinney.
First elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2002, Attorney General Paxton represented House District 70 for 10 years, one of the fastest-growing regions in the state. In 2012, he was elected to the Texas state Senate, representing Senate District 8 in Collin and Dallas counties.
He met his wife Angela while they were students at Baylor. She is the state Senator for District 8 and a former teacher and guidance counselor at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco. The Paxtons have four children: Tucker, Abby, Mattie, and Katie. They are members of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.