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About Us

Welcome to the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute!

JBS PhotoThe John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute is named for John Ben Shepperd (1915-1990), who served as Texas Secretary of State (1950-1952) and Attorney General (1953-1957). John Ben took every opportunity to awaken Texans to their responsibilities and duties as citizens, and was famous for his pithy admonitions to citizens to participate in public life. He said:

— “It is time we quit this starry-eyed pipe-dreaming of a panacea that will restore national security, economy, and moral equilibrium. There is one primary force which leads a nation to lasting greatness or to destruction, and that force is the character of its people.”

— “The Federal Government has become a gigantic stock broker who invests the people’s money and too often loses their shirt.”

— “Big government is due to small citizenship.”

— “We are spending money so wildly that we force the government to tax at a tremendous rate. What’s the difference, whether the government owns everything and pays individual a salary to run it, or whether individuals run their own businesses and to all practical purposes turn their income over to the government? That is just what we are drifting into. We wouldn’t call it socialism, any more than we would call a whale a fish, but a whale looks like a fish, swims like a fish, and certainly smells like a fish.”

John Ben spent his life describing with great clarity the value of public service, mutual respect, ethics, and public leadership. Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock created the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute in 1995 to honor those values and provide a mechanism for educating young Texans about them. Please look around our website to learn more about the Institute and the programs that we offer.