Garry Mauro (born February 21, 1948) is an American Democratic Party politician from Texas, most noted for being the four-term commissioner of the Texas General Land Office from 1983 to 1999 and for losing the 1998 Texas gubernatorial election to George W. Bush, who at that time was the incumbent governor seeking re-election.
Mauro, a native of Bryan, Texas, was a football star during his high school years. He attended college at Texas A&M University in College Station. He subsequently attended the University of Texas Law School.
At 34, he was elected to the statewide office of Texas Land Commissioner. Despite being targeted for defeat by the state Republican Party, he was re-elected four times.
Mauro became the second longest-serving Land Commissioner in Texas history. He is credited by many for bringing new relevance to the office and taking the lead on important issues, including many environmental initiatives.
In 1989, the Texas Legislature approved a Mauro initiative to reduce air pollution and to sell more natural gas. The bill requires fleet operators in larger cities to convert to clean-burning fuels, including compressed natural gas during the next ten years. Mauro has succeeded in gaining similar legislation at the federal level in the Clean Air Act.
Also in 1989, the Legislature passed a bill pushed by Mauro to facilitate the recycling of plastics. The bill requires manufacturers to code their plastic items according to resins used.
Mauro convinced the U.S. Senate to ratify the Annex V provision of the MARPOL Treaty, which outlaws the dumping of plastic items in the world’s oceans. His main objective was to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico and reduce beach litter. His efforts also have resulted in the International Maritime Organization designating the Gulf and the “Wider Caribbean” as a “special area” to prohibit ships from dumping anything in the Gulf, with the exception of finely-ground food scraps.
In 1991 Mauro played a key role in gaining passage of the Oil Spill Prevention & Response Act which makes the land office the lead state agency for spills in state waters, and coastal management legislation which gives the Land Office a strong hand in matters of environmental consequence along the coast.
The 1991 omnibus recycling bill backed by Mauro requires state purchasers to give preference to goods made of recycled materials, set a state goal of recycling 40 percent of the garbage stream, provided for development of standards for collection of household hazardous wastes, and for the recycling of old tires and batteries and used motor oil. The Land Office made a statewide marketing study to facilitate the development of recycling businesses in the state.
As chairman of the Veteran’s Land Board, Mauro pushed legislation passed in 1991 that expanded the investment authority of the board and provided for increased loan ceiling for land and housing. The program was expanded to include certain National Guard personnel. He moved for exceptionally low interest rates, which led to a record number of housing loans for Texas veterans. In 1993, Mauro campaigned to gain voter approval of an additional $500 million in bonds for veterans housing loans and $250 million in bonds for land loans.
In 1992, he served as the Texas State Chairman for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign. He took on the same role in 1996 for Clinton-Gore, in 2000 for Al Gore (as a co-chairman) and in 2004 for Dick Gephardt. He currently serves as the Texas State Director for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Mauro is the author of the memoir Beaches, Bureaucrats & Big Oil: One Man's Fight for Texas. The book was published in 1997.