Ken Paxton is the 51st Attorney General of Texas. He was elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn into office on January 5, 2015. He was re-elected to a second term in 2018.
As the state’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Paxton leads more than 4,000 employees in 38 divisions and 117 offices around Texas. That includes nearly 750 attorneys, who handle more than 30,000 cases annually – enforcing child support orders, protecting Texans against consumer fraud, enforcing open government laws, providing legal advice to state officials, and representing the state of Texas in court, among other things.
His first major initiative as attorney general was the formation of a special unit dedicated to combating human trafficking in Texas. During its first year of existence, the Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime section helped arrest the chief executive officer of Backpage.com and coordinated to facilitate the permanent shut down of Backpage.com, the largest online sex-trafficking marketplace in the United States.
Under Attorney General Paxton’s leadership, the agency’s Child Support Division is recognized as the most successful and cost-effective program in the nation. In fiscal year 2020, the division collected more than $4.8 billion for Texas families – an unprecedented amount in one year by any state. This success helped Texas taxpayers avoid over $1 billion in additional public assistance costs.
Attorney General Paxton is focused on protecting Texans and upholding Texas laws and the Constitution. Fighting federal overreach, he filed 27 lawsuits against the Obama administration during a two-year stretch, of which six were heard in the U.S. Supreme Court. He's obtained an injunction or other winning ruling in more than 75 percent of the cases he's brought against the federal government.
During his tenure in office, Attorney General Paxton has won major cases for Texas on immigration, school rights, Environmental Protection Agency rules and religious freedom. Stopping the EPA's “Waters of the United States” rule preserved Texans' ability to regulate their own natural resources, including ponds, puddles and streams on private property. Businesses were protected and jobs preserved in Texas when Attorney General Paxton prevailed against the Department of Labor’s “Overtime” rule. Attorney General Paxton led a successful multistate coalition against the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have increased consumer prices for electricity and weakened the power grid in Texas. Most recently, a U.S. District Court agreed with his 20-state coalition lawsuit holding Obamacare unconstitutional. His office has also obtained a record number of successful election fraud convictions with over 500 offenses pending prosecution and almost 400 ongoing investigations.
Attorney General Paxton led several nationwide lawsuits against deceptive opioid marketing, advertisements and programs while ensuring that recovered funds were properly directed to aid Texans suffering from opioid abuse and misuse and their families. Amidst ongoing lawsuits against Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, additional litigation has already resulted in a $1.6 billion settlement with Mallinckrodt, the largest generic opioid manufacturer in the world, and a $38.4 million settlement with McKinsey, a leading opioid marketing consultant that provided consulting services to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma for more than 15 years. Attorney General Paxton has also been aggressive in his approach to protecting the health and safety of Texans from illegal synthetic drugs. His office has filed more than a dozen lawsuits to block the sale of synthetic cannabinoids (known as Kush and Spice) in Texas. The agency’s website provides Texans with the information and resources they need to become fully informed about the dangers of synthetic drugs and the opioid painkiller abuse crisis.
Attorney General Paxton graduated from Baylor University, where he served as student body president, earning a B.A. in psychology and an M.B.A. After receiving a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, he worked as an attorney at Strasburger & Price, LLP, in-house counsel for J.C. Penney Company, and headed up his own law firm for 14 years in McKinney.
First elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2002, Attorney General Paxton represented House District 70 for 10 years, one of the fastest-growing regions in the state. In 2012, he was elected to the Texas state Senate, representing Senate District 8 in Collin and Dallas counties.
He met his wife Angela while they were students at Baylor. She is the state Senator for District 8 and a former teacher and guidance counselor at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco. The Paxtons have four children: Tucker, Abby, Mattie and Katie, and they welcomed their first grandchild in 2020. They are members of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.