Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell is a native Texan, decorated military veteran and lifelong conservative Republican currently representing Texas Senate District 22. Born in Fort Worth, Brian is a graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he earned a Master of Public Administration degree.
As the Distinguished Military Graduate of the Lamar Army ROTC program in1984, Brian was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army and served in numerous training deployments and two operational deployments. In 1990, he deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for Exceptional Meritorious Achievement. In 1998, he deployed to Central America as the Joint Operations Officer for Joint Task Force Aguila to execute humanitarian relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. In 2001, Brian was serving on the Department of the Army staff at the Pentagon as the military aide to the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.
On September 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed just yards away from his second floor Pentagon office, Brian was critically wounded and severely burned. Of the burns that covered more than 60 percent of his body, nearly half were third degree in severity. Today, following 39 operations, months of hospitalization and numerous skin grafts, Brian has made a miraculous recovery. Despite physical limitations, he testifies not only to his physical healing, but the ultimate miracle of grace through Christ. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received that day. Upon retirement in July 2004, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
After his retirement from the Army, Brian and his wife, Mel, launched Face the Fire Ministries, a non-profit organization that supports critical burn survivors and wounded servicemen and women and their families. Together, Brian and Mel authored Refined by Fire: A Family’s Triumph of Love and Faith, which chronicles their life-changing ordeal. Through the years, Brian has been profiled in numerous national and regional media outlets.
Brian was first elected to the Texas State Senate in a June 2010 special election, and has since been re-elected by his constituents three times, averaging more than 85 percent of votes cast. In his first three legislative sessions (2011, 2013 and 2015) Brian consistently received critical acclaim and top ratings from numerous pro-life, pro-business and conservative organizations, including Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Eagle Forum, Texas State Rifle Association/National Rifle Association, Texas Association of Business, Young Conservatives of Texas, Texas Alliance for Life, Texas Right to Life, Americans for Prosperity, Concerned Women for America, Texas Heritage Alliance and Texas Conservative Coalition, among others.
Brian is proud of his diverse and impactful legislative accomplishments; in his first three sessions, he filed and passed legislation broadening access to higher education, strengthening eminent domain laws protecting landowners, expanding self-defense rights of law-abiding gun owners, strengthening legislative oversight of state river authorities, increasing technical- and associate-degree options for high school graduates and adult students, serving Texas veterans and their family members, and authoring the strongest border security package in Texas history—the Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act.
Brian serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Nominations and is a member of the Senate Committees on Finance, State Affairs, and Criminal Justice. In addition to these duties, Brian is an appointed chairman or member of numerous legislative subcommittees. From 2012-2015, Brian was a member of the Sunset Advisory Commission, a joint, bipartisan committee working to identify and eradicate inefficiency, waste and noncompliance within state government. Since 2013, Brian has served as Chairman of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s 22-member U.S. Service Academy Nominations Board.
The Birdwells have been married for 29 years and reside in Granbury, where they attend Lakeside Baptist Church. The Birdwells have one son, Matt, a 2013 graduate of Texas Tech University, and a fabulous daughter in-law, Ann Marie, who reside in Tarrant County.