AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A.R. "Babe" Schwartz, a longtime liberal state senator with a reputation of being one of the most formidable orators in the Texas Legislature, has died at age 92.

His son, New York Times climate reporter John Schwartz, said that his father died Friday in Houston after years of health problems.

A.R. Schwartz served in the Texas House from 1955 until 1960, when he won a seat in the Texas Senate. He remained there until losing his bid for re-election in 1980.

The Galveston-born child of Polish immigrants championed civil rights, public education and care for the disabled. Schwartz also helped craft legislation that guaranteed public access to Texas beaches.

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Aaron Schwartz was known in his family as "Baby" until age 14, when he demanded a change. He added the middle name "Robert" when he joined the Navy.