GOP leader; Milam made a difference
By Terry Greenberg
Jane Anne Stinnett
She is credited with introducing the South Plains to the Republican party – even if it was rather quietly done. Jane Anne, as she was known to friends, never sought public office herself.
Her move from New Mexico to Lubbock in 1958 to work for cotton merchant R.S. Tapp put her in contact with politicians.
In the late ‘70s she met a young political wannabe from the Permian Basin who was challenging Kent Hance for the area’s congressional seat. George W. Bush lost that race but never finished second again.
She helped Larry Combest to become the first Republican to represent the 19th Congressional District.
She died of cancer in 2000. In his funeral eulogy for Stinnett, Tech regent Mark Griffin recalled one of her favorite statements: “Better to be a kingmaker, not a king.”
James H. Milam
With a freshly minted law degree from UT, Milam joined the established Lubbock firm of Bledsoe, Crenshaw and Dupree making $75 a month. In five years he’d made full partner of the firm now known as Crenshaw, Dupree and Milam.
He was best known, though, as one of the 8 to 12 “empire builders” between the '40s and ’60s. They, worked behind the scenes — using their collective vision, power and insight to push Lubbock forward.
Mr. Milam, as he was known, helped decide when an upcoming community member was to pay his dues with public service.
In a 1999 interview, civic leader and businessman J.C. Chambers said of Milam and the group, “Everyone said they were an elitist group … What I saw was a group of concerned people who said let’s pick someone to lead the community … There are a lot of quality people who are not going to present themselves and take all the abuse you have today.”
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