Texas Politics

Wedding bells replace protests at Texas Capitol after contentious session

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, and his longtime girlfriend exchanged vows at the Texas Capitol shortly after the 85th legislative session ended.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, and his longtime girlfriend exchanged vows at the Texas Capitol shortly after the 85th legislative session ended. atinsley@star-telegram.com

Longtime state Rep. Charlie Geren found a new way to ring out this year’s legislative session — with wedding bells.

A few days after the 85th legislative session ended, on Memorial Day, and most Texas lawmakers went home, Geren headed back to the Texas Capitol with his longtime girlfriend, self-employed lobbyist Mindy Ellmer who counts AT&T among her clients.

The two stood in the elegant Capitol Rotunda before a small group that included House Speaker Joe Straus and his wife, Julie, and exchanged vows.

“It just seemed to be the thing to do,” said Geren, a 67-year-old Fort Worth Republican, who noted they had been dating for about a dozen years. “We planned it for a little while, but we didn’t want to do it during the session.”

As for why the ceremony was at the Capitol, Geren said: “It’s where she chose to do it.”

After the June 1 wedding, the two headed off to a party where they announced their news to a crowd that included Ellmer’s parents. Soon, they made their way to Fort Worth to tell even more friends.

“We are very happy. We are very excited,” Geren said. “We’ve had a very [out in the] open relationship for quite some time. The only difference now is that instead of living together, we’re married.”

This is Geren’s third marriage.

Not much has changed, he said. After spending the weekend together, Ellmer was at the beach with friends and he was at his ranch. But both of their phones have been lighting up, he said.

“We’ve been getting a lot of texts,” Geren said. “We’re very blessed to have all the friends we have.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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