Dallas attorney Ray Hutchison, a former legislator, instrumental bond lawyer and husband of former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has died. He was 81.
The Dallas bond lawyer helped with the financing of Cowboys Stadium, American Airlines Center, Globe Life Park and Texas Motor Speedway.
He also helped create DART and the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk once joked that D/FW International Airport should be renamed Ray Hutchison International Airport because of the role he played.
Hutchison also worked on various bond issues for school districts and local governments.
In the early ‘70s, Hutchison led the negotiations to move the Washington Senators to Arlington to become the Texas Rangers.
Hutchison was a politician himself, representing Dallas in the state house in the ‘70s. He ran for governor in 1978, but lost in the Republican primary.
Hutchison died from heart complications. His funeral will be Thursday.
Elton Ray Hutchison was a state representative from Dallas from 1973 to 1977, a time when Republicans were rare birds in that body. He became chairman of the Republican Party of Texas in 1976, a job he left to run for governor in 1978.
The Republicans elected a governor that year, but it was Bill Clements, who had defeated Hutchison in the primary.
Hutchison met his second wife, then known as Kay Bailey, in the House, where both were Republican legislators. After ending his own political career with that 1978 race for governor, he concentrated on his legal work and served as political consigliere to his wife, who ran successfully for state treasurer in 1990 and then won a special election to the U.S. Senate in 1993, when Lloyd Bentsen resigned to become U.S. Treasury secretary. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Rick Perry in the 2010 Republican primary, retired from the Senate in 2013.
He was senior counsel in the Dallas office of Bracewell Giuliani, well-known as a specialist in government bonding. His client list included the DFW International Airport and DART. He worked on the deal to build what is now the Ballpark at Arlington and on various bond issues for school districts and other governments across North Texas.
In his role as a municipal bond lawyer, Hutchison led negotiations to bring the Washington Senators to Arlington and helped get the ballpark built. He also had a hand in the public financing of Reunion Arena, American Airlines Center, Cowboys Stadium and Texas Motor Speedway, The Texas Lawbook reported in 2012.
He was also key to the development of Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, so much so that former Mayor Ron Kirk said the airport should be named for him. In the mid-1970s he served two terms in the Texas Legislature and met Kay Bailey Hutchison.
“Ray has been involved in virtually every major government development project of the past five decades,” said Ben Brooks, Hutchison’s longtime friend and law partner at Bracewell & Giuliani. “Ray has easily been involved in more than $20 billion in bond issuances that have directly and positively impacted the North Texas economy.”
Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk once joked that D/FW Airport should be renamed Ray Hutchison International Airport because without him, it wouldn’t exist.
“There’s no question that Ray has played an integral role in the economic development of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Certainly no lawyer has had a bigger impact,” said Kirk, now the U.S. trade representative.
And Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a good friend of the Hutchisons, calls Hutchison a truly great lawyer. “He’s an architect who takes the dreams of our local leaders and makes it come true,” he said.
Bracewell & Giuliani issued this statement:
It is with profound sadness that Bracewell & Giuliani LLP confirms the passing of our friend and partner Ray Hutchison on March 30, 2014.
For more than 50 years Hutchison served as counsel to state and local governments and was regarded as a leading bond lawyer in the state of Texas, who worked on many of the most significant development projects in North Texas during this period.
“Ray was involved in virtually every major government development project in North Texas over the past five decades,” said Ben Brooks, head of Bracewell’s public finance practice and longtime friend of Hutchison.
Hutchison was key to the development of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, as well as numerous professional sports facilities built in North Texas during his career. He also led the negotiations to move the Washington Senators to Arlington to become the Texas Rangers and worked on the complex issues faced with building their stadium.