John Zerwas

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John McCall Zerwas, Sr.​

Texas State Representative for
District 28 (Fort Bend County)​
In office
January 2007​ – September 30, 2019​
Preceded by Glenn Hegar​
Succeeded by Gary Gates​

Born March 24, 1955​
​Place of birth not specified

Reared in Bellaire
Harris County, Texas
Resident of Richmond, Fort Bend County, Texas

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Cynthia Hughes "Cindy" Zerwas (married 1978- 2013, her death)​

(2) Sylvia Haist Collins Zerwas (married 2015)​​

Children Four children from first marriage

Two stepchildren from second marriage

Alma mater University of Houston​

Baylor College of Medicine (Houston)​

Occupation Anesthesiologist

John McCall Zerwas, Sr. (born March 24, 1955), is an anesthesiologist from Richmond in suburban Fort Bend County near Houston, Texas, who served from 2007 to 2019 as a Republican state representative for District 28. Zerwas resigned his legislative midway in his seventh term to become the executive vice chancellor for health affairs for the University of Texas System. [1] [2]

Zerwas and his first wife, Cynthia "Cindy" Hughes, graduated in 1973 from Bellaire High School near Houston and wed in 1978. They had four children. After graduating from the University of Houston, Zerwas earned his medical degree at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1980. He began a full-time practice in 1985. ​ After his wife's death, he married the former Sylvia Haist Collins (born 1956) and acquired two stepchildren.

In 2017, Zerwas was named the chairman of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee.[2] ​ On his departure from the legislature, Zerwas cited "an absolute honor to represent House District 28, and I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the last twelve years. … I have served under three Speakers (Tom Craddick, Joe Straus, and Dennis Bonnen), and each of them gave me incredible opportunities to lead …"[2]

Zerwas' successor, fellow Republican Gary Gates, in a special election handily defeated in a special election the Democrat Elizabeth Alexander "Eliz" Markowitz (born 1983) to fill the time left in Zerwas' seat. Former U.S. Representative and defeated 2018 U.S. Senate nominee, Beto O'Rourke of El Paso, amid much Democratic enthusiasm, had campaigned extensively on behalf of his fellow liberal's candidacy. In the November 3, 2020, general election Gates again faces Markowitz, who ran unsuccessfully in 2018 for a seat on the Texas Board of Education.


  1. Julie Chang (August 1, 2019). State Rep. John Zerwas to become UT System vice chancellor. Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved on October 10, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Patrick Svitek (July 31, 2019). State Rep. John Zerwas to step down in September. The Texas Tribune. Retrieved on April 18, 2020.