On January 9, 2007, Robert Lee Nichols was sworn in to represent the citizens of Texas State Senate District 3 and was re-elected in 2011 and 2013. Senate District 3 is comprised of 19 counties ranging from south of Dallas to just north of Houston and stretching east to the Texas-Louisiana border down to the Gulf Coast of Orange County.
In the Texas Senate, Nichols serves as Chair of both the Transportation Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Transportation Funding, Expenditures & Finance and Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Senator Nichols also serves on the Finance, Health and Human Services, Natural Resources and State Affairs Committees, as well as the Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System. He is a former Vice Chairman of the Sunset Advisory Committee.
Nichols has a strong conservative record focused on limited government and representing the district's interests. He authored and passed legislation to reduce government spending, protect landowners, encourage free-markets and reduce fraud. During his time with the Sunset Advisory Committee, he was able to help eliminate six state agencies which saved the tax payers $161.9 million. In his seven years in office Nichols has stayed faithful to the ‘Texas Taxpayer Protection Pledge’, which opposes any and all efforts to increase taxes.
Senator Nichols is a tried-and-true conservative. He served as County Chairman for dozens of Republican candidates including United States Senators John Tower, Phil Gramm and John Cornyn, then-Governor George W. Bush, and Governor Rick Perry and Nichols' conservative tradition continues. Nichols has been named a “Champion for Free Enterprise” by the Texas Association of Business multiple years in a row, Texas Eagle Forum has named him one of the most conservative members of the Texas Legislature, and he has been named a “Champion for Children” by the Equity Center for his work to improve the school finance system.
Before becoming a state senator, Nichols was a successful businessman who built four manufacturing facilities, earned 32 U.S. patents, and created more than 900 jobs for East Texas families. He has also served as a mayor and was appointed by then Governor George W. Bush and re-appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the Texas Transportation Commission where he served for eight years. During his time as a commissioner he established a reputation for increasing efficiency without compromising quality.
Senator Nichols worked his way through college at Lamar University by selling fireworks and ironing clothes for other students. He earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 1968, and returned to his hometown of Jacksonville, Texas to build his business. Nichols married his high school sweetheart, Donna, and they have three children: Brittney, Joshua and Collynn'rae.
In addition to his role as state senator, Nichols also serves as a board member for the East Texas Medical Center and the Nan Travis Hospital Foundation, and he is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville.