- Served as the 47th governor of Texas (from Dec. 21, 2000, until January 20, 2015).
- First sought political office in 1984—as a Democrat. He ran for the Texas House of Representatives, won and was re-elected in 1986 and '88.
- Changed his party affiliation to Republican in 1989.
- Beat the state's incumbent Democratic agriculture commissioner, Jim Hightower, in 1990; and served in that office until 1998, when he was elected lieutenant governor.
- Became governor in 2000 when George W. Bush, his predecessor, resigned to become president. He was re-elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
- Sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and 2016, but didn't fare well either time.
- Born to tenant farmers in the small West Texas town of Paint Creek; his childhood home had no running water.
- Met his wife, Anita, at a piano recital during elementary school. They had their first date eight years later, when he was 16 and she was 14, and married in 1982.
- Was a Boy Scout, and rose to the rank of Eagle Scout.
- Played piano as a youth, but any hopes of pursuing a professional career ended when he badly broke his arm at age 16.
- Was a "yell leader" (male cheerleader) at Texas A&M.
- Joined the Corps of Cadets while at Texas A&M, the oldest student organization at the university, and also served as senior class social secretary of his fraternity.
- Joined the U.S. Air Force after college; and left the service in 1977. During that time, he flew C-130 planes, rose to the rank of captain and aided with drought in Africa and earthquake relief in Guatemala.
- Enjoys a wide range of music, including Beethoven and the Who.
- Considers Immortal Beloved his favorite movie, but also has a soft spot for The Wizard of Oz.
- Is a history buff, and is particularly interested in World War II.