Robert Christopher "Chris" Bell (born November 23, 1959) is a Democratic Party politician. He last served as a one-term congressman in the United States House of Representatives from Texas's 25th congressional district in Houston from 2003 to 2005 before being defeated in the Democratic primary by Justice of the Peace Al Green. He was the Democratic candidate in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas, but lost to Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Perry by more than 407,155 votes (Perry 39% versus Bell 30%).
Chris Bell was born in Abilene, the seat of Taylor County in West Texas. He was reared in Dallas and moved to Austin when he was accepted to the University of Texas at Austin. As a student, Bell was a member of Phi Delta Theta, and served as president of the Intrafraternity Council, and also spearheaded a successful effort to reinstate student government. In 1982, he graduated with a journalism degree and began work as a television and radio journalist, first in Ardmore, Oklahoma and later in Amarillo. He then moved to Houston, working as a Harris County court radio reporter while taking night classes at South Texas College of Law. Despite his success in journalism (he was named “best radio reporter in the state” in 1990 by the Texas Associated Press), he left journalism and began what would become a successful litigation practice after receiving a law degree in 1992. Bell's public service career began in 1997, after being elected to the Houston City Council. He currently lives in Houston with his wife, Alison Ayres Bell, and their two sons, Atlee, 12, and Connally, 10. Alison previously worked for Mosbacher Energy and as the scheduler for Republican Robert Mosbacher, Jr.’s 1994 campaign for lieutenant-governor.
Bell served as at large Position 4 councilman for the Houston City Council for five years. During this time, he served as chairman of both the Council Committee on Customer Service and Initiatives and the Ethics Committee. Throughout his service, he focused on ethics reform, passing laws that limited the use of soft money in city elections. He also championed what he called “customer-driven government,” featuring innovative ideas to make government more accessible to the public. He also helped pass the largest tax cut in the city's history and worked to pass sweeping ethics reform that significantly cleaned up what was a corrupt local government.