Bob Barton, a one-term state lawmaker who for decades was a force in Hays County politics and owned several small newspapers, died Saturday. He was 82.

Barton remained a diehard Democrat as Texas transitioned to a more conservative political climate, friends said. He championed those who didn’t have a voice, whether in the pages of his newspapers or through his work as a Democratic organizer, said his son, Jeff Barton.

“He loved people, newspapers and politics, not necessarily in that order,” Jeff Barton said. “If there was an underdog, that’s whose side he wanted to be on.”

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