In a surprise move, yesterday, Senator Tommy Williams (R – The Woodlands) announced he will resign from the Texas Senate. Sen. Williams is resigning to take a government relations position at his alma mater, Texas A&M. Sen. Williams, a CPA, served as Chairman of the Senate's Finance Committee this past session. Originally, Williams had been viewed as one of the more conservative members of the Texas Senate, he was the sponsor of the 2010 voter ID bill; but once he became the Chair of Finance, he transformed into one of the over-all saner members of the Republican caucus. As the Finance Chair, he had been known to draw the ire of the hyper-conservative Empower Texans and Michael Quinn Sullivan on a regular basis.
Sen. Williams was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2002, and before that he served in the Texas House, starting in 1997. Today, SD – 4 contains all of Jefferson and Chambers Counties and parts of Harris and Montgomery Counties. Rep. Brandon Creighton (R), who is currently running for Agriculture Commissioner, has said he is “considering all options” regarding his political future and may switch to running for the open Texas Senate seat. Other State House members who represent land within SD – 4 include: Rep. Joe Deshotel (D), Rep. Allan Ritter (R), Rep. Wayne Smith (R), Rep. Steve Toth (R), Rep. Cecil Bell (R), and the retiring Rep. Craig Eiland (D). President Barack Obama got 28.79% of the vote in SD – 4 in the 2012 Presidential Election.
Sen. Tommy Williams was not scheduled to face the voters until 2016. His pending resignation means a special election will take place at a future, currently unknown, date; likely during the 2014 primaries. Whomever wins will need to face the voters again in 2016 as they run for a full four year term.
Sen. Williams statement regarding his intention to resign is after the jump.
THE WOODLANDS – State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands,
announced Thursday he would not return for the 2015 legislative session.
A final decision will be made after meetings with Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and will be based on an appropriate transition time for Southeast Texans, who make up Senate District 4.
Senator Williams joined the Texas Senate in 2003 following three terms in the state House.
“After careful consideration, Marsha and I recently decided it was time to turn the page to a new chapter in our life.”
“I have enjoyed every minute of my service to the people of Southeast Texas,” Williams said. “Marsha and I are looking forward to concentrating on new opportunities and spending more time with our families and grandkids during this next chapter. I am especially grateful for the continued blessings of good health, a loving family and business success.”
“Any success I have enjoyed throughout my legislative service has been because of the tremendous support from my legislative and committee staffs,” he said. “I especially appreciate Lt. Gov. Dewhurst's strong, conservative leadership and the opportunities he has given me to serve not only the people of Southeast Texas, but the entire State of Texas.”
The senator, a certified public accountant, helped shape the state's 2014-15 budget as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He described the experience as the highlight of his legislative career and thanked Lt. Gov. Dewhurst for entrusting him with the responsibility. Republican and Democratic colleagues praised Sen. Williams for his fair and transparent leadership of the Finance Committee. Texas Monthly also named him one of the Legislature's “10 Best” legislators.
Sen. Williams expressed his gratitude to voters during a meeting with Rotarians earlier this week in Beaumont. “I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the chance to represent Southeast Texas in the Legislature. It is a great honor. You have placed a tremendous amount of trust and confidence in me. After faith and family, nothing has meant more than the privilege and honor to represent you in Austin.”
A special election for SD – 4 has been added to our State Senate Candidate Tracker.