Early Life and Education

Senator Cornyn was born in Houston on February 2, 1952, the second of three children of Gale and John Cornyn, both native Texans.

Senator Cornyn’s father was a B-17 pilot in World War II and served our country faithfully for 31 years. Raised as he was in a military family, Senator Cornyn traveled a great deal growing up. At various points, he and his family lived in Houston, El Paso, and San Antonio, Texas; Biloxi, Mississippi; Kensington, Maryland; and Tokyo, Japan.

In 1973, Senator Cornyn earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio. He earned his Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1977.

While serving as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court, Senator Cornyn earned his Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia in 1995.


In 1977 at the age of 25, Senator Cornyn met his future wife, Sandy Hansen, on a blind date. They were married in 1979 and have two daughters, Danley and Haley.

Sandy Cornyn is the Treasurer of the Spouses of the Senate Club, a group that meets weekly while the Senate is in session. Sandy is also a member of the Texas Federation of Republican Women and the Austin Republican Women’s Club. She is a member of Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness. Sandy is also active in International Club I, which consists of spouses of members of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the United States Government, as well as those of the Washington Press and Diplomatic Corps, and promotes goodwill and international understanding.

Core Values

Senator Cornyn believes that the first duty of government is to protect and defend individual liberty. He believes in a strong national defense and works to ensure that all our men and women in uniform have the tools and resources they need to win America’s wars, deter the enemies of freedom, and respond to any threat.

Senator Cornyn recognizes the power of individual entrepreneurs to create jobs and opportunities for themselves and for others. He believes government must not pick winners and losers in the marketplace, but instead ensure maximum opportunity for everyone to participate in the next chapter of American economic expansion. He champions low taxes, sensible regulation, and open markets for America’s workers, farmers, and ranchers.

Senator Cornyn respects the values that have strengthened families and communities for generations and reduced dependence on government. He honors the sanctity and dignity of human life. He believes judges must uphold the fundamental liberties codified in our Bill of Rights, including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to keep and bear arms.


Senator Cornyn ran for state district judge in Bexar County in 1984 to fight the “good ole boy” system and restore the reputation of fair and impartial justice to the courthouse. As Judge of Texas’ 37th District Court, Senator Cornyn primarily presided over civil law suits, including domestic relations cases.

In 1990, Senator Cornyn was elected to the Texas Supreme Court and brought his successful record of reform from San Antonio to Austin to combat corruption.

After eight years pursuing reform of the judicial branch of Texas government, Senator Cornyn answered the call to help reform the executive branch. In 1998, he became the first Republican elected Attorney General of Texas since Reconstruction and was sworn in by Governor George W. Bush. As Attorney General, Senator Cornyn was the state’s chief law enforcement officer and worked to enforce child support, consumer protection, improve crime victim services, and investigate and prosecute selected criminal cases.

US Senate

Senator Cornyn was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, succeeding Senator Phil Gramm. He earned the respect of fellow Texans by bringing successful state policies to Washington.

In his first term, Senator Cornyn served on the Senate Armed Services, Judiciary, and Budget committees. In 2006, he was elected to the Republican Senate Leadership team as Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. Following his re-election in 2008, Senator Cornyn’s Republican colleagues chose him to serve as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for two terms where he helped to recruit and support Republican candidates for Senate seats nationwide.

In 2013, Senator Cornyn became Texas’ Senior Senator and was elected by his colleagues to serve as the Minority Whip for the 113th Congress.

Following his re-election in 2014, Senator Cornyn’s colleagues elected him to serve as the Majority Whip for the 114th Congress and in 2016 he was again re-elected to the position.

Currently, in the 116th Congress, Senator Cornyn serves on the Senate’s Judiciary, Finance, and Intelligence Committees.