The rumor mill had been running for months, but he made it official on his new blog: Mark Strama will not run for reelection in the 2014 elections.
From his post:
Before this legislative session began, Crystal and I decided that it would be my last. By the end of this term I'll have served 10 years in the Texas House, and it's been a truly wonderful experience, a great honor, and all that stuff. At the same time it's been frustrating and at times disheartening, especially since the 2010 elections re-set the balance of power in the Texas Legislature in such a lopsided way.
So why am I announcing it now? The biggest reason is that there are a bunch of really talented folks interested in running to replace me, and I want them to be able to start introducing themselves to voters without having to tap dance around me.
Plus, I've noticed that I'm enjoying this session a lot more knowing that it's my swan song in the Texas House – I'm enjoying my relationships with the members more, I'm enjoying studying the issues more, and I'm feeling a renewed sense of urgency to make progress on some issues I've been working on for several sessions. The expectation is that members will take you less seriously when you're a lame duck, but I have a sense that it may actually lead to a deepening of the friendships I've formed here, which has been one of the most personally gratifying parts of this entire experience.
Strama's full blog post is worth a read. But there are a few other money-quotes, too.
Fun and interesting: “I finally figured it out when I started recognizing some of my own BS coming back at me. The members of the Texas House have some pretty good BS.”
As many already know, Strama is also thinking of running for Mayor of Austin in 2014. This is what he had to say on that:
I know you're all assuming this means I'm running for mayor of Austin. It doesn't. I still haven't decided, and don't intend to decide until after session is over. I'm very focused on getting the most out of my remaining time as a member of the House. I am thinking about running for mayor, but I'm also thinking about a lot of cool things I could do in the private sector once I'm freed up full time again. I've done a lot of work on renewable energy and on education technology, and both are areas where I believe I might have a greater impact through private entrepreneurship than I'm able to have in government.
He'd immediately be a favorite, if not the favorite, to be the next mayor of Austin. But let's see what he can get done in his final term in the House, first. Among his filed legislation is HB 313, which would create online voter registration in Texas.
As the representative wrote, there are, indeed, many already wishing to replace him. Among the potential candidates are well-respected Democrats and Austin activists Celia Israel and Ramey Ko. Also in the mix is Jade Chang, who has a mixed-party donation history and made a name for herself as a San Antonio businesswoman.