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Abraham Kazen: Wikis


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Abraham Kazen, Jr., usually known as Chick Kazen (January 17, 1919—November 29, 1987) was a U.S. Representative from Texas from 1967-1985.



Kazen was a lifelong resident of the border town of Laredo, Texas. He graduated in 1937 from Laredo High School (renamed Martin High School). He then attended the University of Texas at Austin from 1937-1940. In 1941, Kazen graduated from the Cumberland School of Law in Lebanon, Tennessee (since removed to Birmingham, Alabama).

Military service

He served as a Air Force pilot at Lubbock Air Force Base in 1942, and during World War II he served in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy as a pilot in Troop Carrier Command. He was discharged with the rank of captain in 1953.

Public Service

He served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1947-1953, and was elected to the Texas Senate in 1952. He served continuously for fourteen years through 1966 and was elected president pro tempore of the State Senate in 1959. He served as Acting Governor of Texas on August 4, 1959, and he was a member of the Texas Legislative Council for sixteen years. He was succeeded in the state Senate by his fellow Democrat Wayne Connally of Floresville in Wilson County, a brother of Governor of Texas John B. Connally, Jr.

He was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1966 to representing the newly-created 23rd District. It was the largest congressional district in the nation (excluding at-large districts encompassing whole states), stretching across 800 miles from El Paso in the west to San Antonio in the east. It had been created when Texas' previous congressional map was thrown out by Wesberry v. Sanders. He was reelected eight more times with no substantive opposition.

Kazen grave with congressional emblem on tombstone at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Laredo, Texas

In 1984, Kazen's opponent in the Democratic primary was Albert Bustamante, a Bexar County circuit court judge. By this time, the 23rd had become a majority-Hispanic district. Because of demographic changes, Bustamante upset Kazen in the primary. To date, Kazen is the last Anglo Democrat to have represented a significant portion of San Antonio in the U.S. House.

Kazen was of Lebanese descent. He retired to Laredo after his defeat. He was an uncle of retired U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen of Laredo. He died in Austin and is buried in the Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Laredo.

The Kazen College Center on the Laredo Community College campus

Kazen is honored through the naming of the Kazen Center, the student union building, at Laredo Community College, Abraham Kazen Middle School, in San Antonio, Texas; and Kazen Elementary School, in Laredo, Texas.

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