On April 17, 2006, Senator West was sworn in by his fellow state senators to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate until January 2007. As President Pro Tempore, Senator West was second in the line of succession to be Governor of Texas, and assumed the top leadership position whenever Governor Rick Perry and Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst were out of the state.
Senator West is Vice Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee and is a member of Senate committees on Administration, Education and Finance. Senator West recently joined the exclusive World Travel & Tourism Council Dallas Host Committee for the 2016 Global Summit to be held April 5-7, 2016. Senator West has been appointed to serve on the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth, and Families and also serves on the following national and regional organizations:
- Education Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC);
- Education Commission of the States;
- Southern Regional Education Board Commission on Career and Technical Education
Senator West‘s key initiatives include the creation of college admission opportunities for all students, including the establishment of the University of North Texas at Dallas and a new law school in downtown Dallas. His legislation created the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center at Prairie View A&M University; increased funding for at-risk youth programs, awarded greater compensation to victims of violent crime, established new standards for child care, enhanced enforcement of protective orders and instituted more efficient uses of criminal justice resources through legislation that created a system of progressive sanctions. During the 2009 Legislative Session, Senator West passed legislation that created a kinship care program whereby qualified relatives can receive state support to help raise children who could otherwise become part of the foster care system.
Since 1993, Senator West has sponsored the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program. The program has provided college students from Senatorial District 23 with paid employment in their respective fields of study. In 1996, Senator West established a Student Advisory Committee (SAC) to obtain the perspectives of junior high and high school students on legislative and community issues and to expose them to volunteer opportunities in the community.
To promote inclusiveness in the procurement practices of state agencies in working with Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs), Senator West created the “Doing Business Texas Style – Spot Bid Contract Fair” and regularly sponsors procurement workshops and seminars.
In addition to his senatorial duties, Senator West is a partner in the law firm of West & Associates, L.L.P. He is also a caring father to his children and devoted husband to Carol R. West, CPA, as well as an active deacon of Good Street Baptist Church.