Marsha Farney

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Marsha Lane Hatley Farney
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 20th district
In office
January 2013 – January 9, 2017
Preceded byCharles Schwertner
Succeeded byTerry Wilson
Member of the Texas Board of Education from the 10th district
In office
Preceded byCynthia Dunbar
Succeeded byTom Maynard
Personal details
Born (1958-12-15) December 15, 1958 (age 60)
Place of birth missing

Reared in Dallas and

Paris, Lamar County, Texas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)(1) Nelson Louis Gonyaw (married 1976-1995, divorced)
(2) William Bryan Farney (married 1999)[1]
ChildrenAshley Michelle Gonyaw Bules

Bryan Paul Gonyaw

Drew Farney
ParentsHurshell Hartford Hatley
Shirley June Abney Hatley
Williamson County
Alma materTexas A&M University–Commerce
University of Texas at Austin
OccupationFormer educator

Marsha Lane Hatley Farney (born December 15, 1958)[2] is an American businesswoman and former educator from Georgetown, Texas. From 2013 to 2017, she was a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives for District 20, based in Burnet and Milam counties and a portion of northern Williamson County, a suburb of Austin in the central portion of the state.[3]

In her bid for a third term, Farney was unseated in the Republican primary election held on March 1, 2016, by Terry Wilson, who polled 18,754 votes (54.3 percent) to her 15,809 (45.7 percent).[4]


Early years[edit]

Farney is the daughter of Hurshell Hartford Hatley (born c. 1925) and the former Shirley June Abney (born 1934) of Temple, Texas, formerly of Paris in Lamar County in northeastern Texas.[5] Hurshell Hatley was a reserve police officer on duty in Dallas on November 22, 1963, the day of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the wounding of Governor John B. Connally, Jr. Hatley was near the grassy knoll of Dealey Plaza in Dallas where some have claimed that a second shooter actually fired the fatal shot at the president. At one point during the motorcade, Hatley was called upon to assist officers when Lee Harvey Oswald was brought into custody for the fatal shooting of both President Kennedy and the city patrolman J. D. Tippit.[6] In the aftermath of Kennedy's death, when word spread that a police officer had also been shot, Mrs. Hatley feared that the other victim was her husband, rather than Tippit.[7]

Because her father was in 1963 an 18-year Dallas police officer and still on duty five years after Farney was born, it appears that Farney was born in Dallas but reared at some point thereafter in Paris, Texas. In 1989, she was listed on the "Vice President's Honor List" at Paris Junior College under the name "Marsha Lane Hatley Gonyaw." This was thirteen years after her high school graduation and her first marriage in 1976.[8]

Higher education[edit]

During the 1990s, Farney received her bachelor's and master's degrees in education and interdisciplinary studies, respectively, from the regional Commerce campus of Texas A&M University in northeastern Texas.[2] In 2007, she procured a Ph.D. in curriculum development and instruction from the University of Texas at Austin.[9] While working on her master's degree, she was an adjunct professor at TAMU-Commerce. She is a former classroom teacher for the North Lamar and the Paris independent school districts. She has been a school counselor in the Paris and Pflugerville school districts.[3] She is also a former Realtor. While a legislator, she manages family real estate interests.[10]

Civic affairs[edit]

In civic affairs Farney is a board member of the women's foundation of Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock. She also sits on the Williamson Coiunty Historical Museum and the Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation. She has actively supported the Children's Advocacy Center and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.[3] The Farneys own the historic Howard Theater in Taylor, Texas, where she is a member of the Taylor Area Businesswomen Association.[10] She is affiliated with the First Baptist Church of Georgetown.[2]

Family life[edit]

On June 5, 1976, at the age of seventeen, Farney married Nelson Louis Gonyaw (born c. 1956) of Paris, Texas. From this union, she has a daughter, Ashley Michelle Gonyaw (born January 3, 1979),[5] and a son, Bryan Paul Gonyaw (born c. 1984) of Austin, Texas. Ashley is married to Brad Alan Bules (born 1976); the couple and their two children, Braden and Ava reside in nearby Round Rock. Nelson and Marsha Gonyaw divorced on June 5, 1995, the nineteenth anniversary of their marriage.[11]

On May 31, 1999, four years after the divorce, Marsha Hatley Gonyaw married the attorney William Bryan Farney[12] (born 1960), a specialist in intellectual property law who maintains his legal office, Farney Daniels, in Georgetown but has three additional offices in other states.[13] Bryan and Marsha Farney have a son, Drew Farney, an elementary school pupil in Georgetown.[2][10][14] Bryan Farney is one of three children of the retired educator and coach William Doyle Farney (born 1940) of Georgetown, who was the executive director from 1995 to 2009 of the University Interscholastic League, based in Austin.[15] and Shirley Bates, Teacher and Counselor.

Political life[edit]

State Board of Education[edit]

For the two years preceding her tenure as a state representative, Farney served in the District 10 seat on the 15-member elected Texas Board of Education to succeed the retiring conservative member, Cynthia A. Dunbar of Round Rock. In the 2010 Republican runoff election, Farney easily defeated the patent attorney Brian Franklin Russell (born c. 1969) of Round Rock, a homeschooling advocate and an elected member of the Republican State Executive Committee.[9] Farney polled 23,789 votes (61.8 percent) to Russell's 14,716 (38.2 percent).[16] In the primary, Russell had trailed Farney by only 198 votes; the presence of classroom teacher Rebecca Osborne of Round Rock, the third candidate in the primary, required the runoff contest.[17]

In the general election for the state board seat, held on November 2, 2010, Farney defeated the Democrat Judy Jendruck Jennings (born c. 1952) of Round Rock, 255,874 (55.9 percent) to 183,385 (40 percent). The remaining 4.1 percent of the vote was polled by the Libertarian Party nominee, Jessica Elise Dreesen (born c. 1978) of Austin.[18] On the state board, Farney represented 16 area counties and 1.8 million residents.[10]

State legislature[edit]

Farney ran unopposed in both the Republican primary and the general election for the House District 20 seat vacated after one term by Republican Charles Schwertner,[19] whom she had previously supported.[10] An orthopedic surgeon from Georgetown, Schwertner was, after his one House term, elected to the District 5 seat in the Texas State Senate to succeed the retiring long-term Republican incumbent, Steve Ogden of Bryan, Texas.[20]

On her website, Representative Farney calls herself a "lifelong Republican" and a "Common sense conservative".[10] She served on the House committees on (1) Judicial and Civil Jurisprudence, (2) Local and Consent Calendars, and (3) Public Education.[2]

Legislative voting records and ratings[edit]

In the 2013 legislative session, Farney supported a ban on abortion after twenty weeks of gestation; the bill passed the House, 96-49. She voted for companion legislation to increase medical and licensing requirements of abortion providers.[21] Despite those high-profile votes, Texas Right to Life rated her only 44 percent favorable.[22]

Farney did not vote on the taxpayer-funded breakfast program for public schools; the measure passed the House, 73-58. She co-sponsored legislation to provide marshals for school security as a separate law-enforcement entity. She supported the requirement of immunization of minors without parental consent, a measure which the House approved, 71-61. She supported the law to extend the franchise tax exemption to certain businesses. Farney voted against the measure to prohibit texting while driving. She voted to require testing for narcotics of those receiving unemployment compensation. She did not vote on the "equal pay for women" measure, which passed the House, 78-61. Farney voted to forbid the state from enforcing federal regulations of firearms and co-sponsored another law allowing college and university officials to carry concealed weapons in the name of campus security. She voted for the redistricting bills for the state House, the Texas Senate, and the United States House of Representatives. Farney voted for term limits for certain state officials.[21]

In 2013, Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, managed in Texas by Cathie Adams, a former state chairman of the Texas Republican Party, rated Farney 70 percent favorable. The Young Conservatives of Texas rated her 53 percent. The Texas League of Conservation Voters rated her 79 percent. The interest group, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, founded by Michael Quinn Sullivan, rated her 40 percent, low for a Republican member. The Texas Association of Business and the National Rifle Association rated her 93 percent and 92 percent, respectively.[22]

2014 election[edit]

On March 4, 2014, Farney had no opposition in the Republican primary for a second House term. In the November 4 general election, she will face the Democrat Stephen Matthew Wyman (born c. 1957) of Round Rock.[2] In both 2006 and 2010, Wyman was handily defeated for the District 5 seat in the Texas Senate by Steve Ogden.[19][23]


  1. ^ "Marriage records for Marsha L. Hatley". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Marsha Farney's Biography". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Texas House Member: Rep. Farney, Marsha (District 20)". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ "Republican primary returns". Texas Secretary of State. March 2, 2016. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Reference to Mr. and Mrs. Hurshell H. Hatley of Paris, Texas". The Paris News, January 7, 1979, p. 4. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  6. ^ "Shane Ersland, "Former Dallas reserve officer was working when JFK, Oswald were shot", November 18, 2013". Temple Daily Telegram. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  7. ^ "Colby Howell, "Retired Dallas PD officer recalls his shift on 11/22/63", November 22, 2013". KWKT-TV. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  8. ^ "Paris Junior College Honors List". The Paris News, June 5, 1989, p. 6. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Kate Alexander (January 28, 2010). "GOP education board candidates all say they're conservative: Differences lie in background and approach to the job". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Meet Marsha". Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  11. ^ "Lamar County, Texas, Divorces: Nelson L. and Marsha L. Gonyaw: No. 38628". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  12. ^ "Bryan Farney". Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  13. ^ "Farney Daniels PC". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  14. ^ "Nelson L. Gonyaw". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  15. ^ Template:Cite and Shirley Johnson Bates (1939) school teacher and counselor. web
  16. ^ "2012 Republican runoff election returns (State Board of Education District 10)". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  17. ^ "2010 Republican primary returns (State Board of Education District 10)". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  18. ^ "2010 General election returns (State Board of Education District 10)". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  19. ^ a b "2012 General election returns". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  20. ^ "2012 General election returns (Senate District 5)". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Marsh Farney's Voting Records". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  22. ^ a b "Marsha Varney's Ratings and Endorsements". Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  23. ^ "2006 General election returns (Senate District 5)". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles Schwertner
Texas State Representative for District 20 (Burnet, Milam, and part of Williamson counties)

Marsha Lane Hatley Farney

Succeeded by
Terry Wilson
Preceded by
Cynthia A. Dunbar
Member of the Texas Board of Education for District 10

Marsha Lane Hatley Farney

Succeeded by
Tom Maynard