Another committee chair bows out.
After a decade in the Texas House and fresh off his first session as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, state Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, announced Tuesday that he is not planning to seek re-election.
“I want to thank the voters of House District 18 for their support and encouragement over the years,” Otto said in a statement. “This was not an easy decision, but I never intended for this experience to be a lifelong endeavor. After accomplishing much of what I set out to do when first elected, the time is right for me to step aside.”
Along with announcing his retirement, Otto also endorsed Liberty County Attorney Wesley Hinch to replace him in the district, which covers Liberty, Walker and San Jacinto counties in southeast Texas.
“Wes Hinch has the values, integrity, and experience needed to serve House District 18,” Otto said. “I am honored to endorse him to be our next state representative.”
Otto was first elected in 2004 and like several other retirees is considered a moderate, which mostly means he wants to get stuff done rather than burn it down. It’s a bit amazing to realize that he defeated an incumbent Democrat, Dan Ellis, in 2004 – Ellis won in 2002 in what was a red but not overwhelmingly so district – John Sharp got more than 45% of the vote for Lite Guv in that 2002 race. By 2012, this was a 71.6% Romney district, so it will not be changing hands. One hopes Otto’s endorsed would-be successor is from a similar mold as he is.
Over in El Paso, a Democratic seat opens up as Rep. Marissa Marquez steps down.
State Rep. Marisa Márquez will not seek reelection after representing El Paso for four terms in the Texas House.
The Democrat announced her retirement from House District 77 in a statement on her official website, saying she would remain an active figure in state politics.
“I am truly grateful to the many people who have worked with me on the passage of important legislation for our area and to my constituency for their support over the last eight years,” she said.
First elected in 2008, Márquez was considered somewhat of an ascendant among the outnumbered Democrats in the lower chamber. She was named by House Speaker Joe Straus as vice-chair on the House Committee on County Affairs in her sophomore term in 2011, and currently sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
Rep. Marquez defeated longtime legislator Rep. Paul Moreno in a typically nasty primary, which made her less than overwhelmingly popular among her peers when she first arrived. She was viewed as a potential Craddick Dem at the time, which didn’t help either. That of course all blew over, and in the last session she made a valiant attempt at marijuana reform. President Obama carried her district 64-34 in 2012, so this is another one that will be decided in the primaries. The El Paso Times has more on Rep. Marquez. Best wishes to her and to Rep. Otto in the next phases of their lives.