I'm sure I'll get back to regular political and electoral blogging sooner or later, but for now I'll just pass along some tidbits I've seen elsewhere. BOR has several items of interest: here, here, here, and here. And In the Pink reports that State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos (D, Austin) is making an announcement today, which could speculatively be that he's retiring. I'll update this post when I know more.
UPDATE: Senator Barrientos is retiring. Here's the press release:
State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos (D-Austin) announced today that he will not seek to represent Travis County for another term in the Texas Legislature. First elected to the legislature in 1974, Barrientos served ten years in the Texas House of Representatives before being elected to the Texas Senate in 1984. “After thirty years pursuing a high calling, my heart is telling me to continue fighting for the things I believe in, but to find another way to wage that fight,” Barrientos said. “I will serve out my current term, but I shall not seek another.”
As a legislator Senator Barrientos authored, co-authored, sponsored and co-sponsored almost 550 pieces of legislation. Among the bills of which he is most proud are the state’s Top Ten Percent law, which addressed the Hopwood ruling by guaranteeing college admission for Texas high school students graduating in the top ten percent of their class, a package of bills from the 71st Regular Session addressing the state’s school dropout problem, the creation of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, and the creation and funding of Texas Task Force One. Through decades of service on House Appropriations and Senate Finance, the senator consistently pushed for better pay and benefits for state employees. As a whole, Barrientos legislative record reflects his focus on education and his steadfast advocacy for society’s most vulnerable members. Barrientos distilled his legislative philosophy simply. “Looking back, I would say that through thirty years in office, what I did more than anything else was follow my heart.”
Senator Barrientos quoted his favorite president, John Kennedy, as he concluded by urging colleagues to return to the tradition of bipartisanship as they wrestle with the issues of the day in the future. “In his inaugural address, President Kennedy said ‘civility is not a sign of weakness,’” Barrientos remembered. “As they work in the next session and beyond to further the common good, I hope that my colleagues in the house and senate will take that to heart.”