Hartnett Confirms He Won't Seek Re-election

State Rep. Will Hartnett (r), R-Dallas, listens to a question from the back mike as State Rep. Rene' Oliveira (l), D-Brownsville, waits on May 6, 2011.
State Rep. Will Hartnett (r), R-Dallas, listens to a question from the back mike as State Rep. Rene' Oliveira (l), D-Brownsville, waits on May 6, 2011.

State Rep. Will Hartnett, R-Dallas, said this afternoon that he won't seek another term in the Texas House. The lawmaker, who's in his 11th term, has been either a chairman or a vice chairman in nine of those, and says he's ready to spend more time with his family. He noted that he was the only member who voted in 2001 against passage of the bill that provides in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants.

"My wife and three sons have stood by me during my years of public service, and now I look forward to having more time to stand by them in our family life and events that, in the end, are vastly more important than political life. Serving in the Texas House of Representatives for two decades has been a tremendous privilege. I thank my constituents for entrusting me with their representation in Austin, and my friends and supporters for their efforts on my behalf during 24 elections," he said in a statement.

Here's his full press release:

AUSTIN - State Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas) announced today that he will not run for reelection in 2012.
 
Hartnett is serving his eleventh term in the House, and is the senior member of the House Delegation from North Texas.  He has served as a Committee Chairman or Vice-Chairman during 9 of his 11 terms.  Hartnett served as the Speaker’s Master of Discovery in all four House election contests during the last seven years.  This year Texas Monthly named Hartnett as one of the “Ten Best Legislators,” calling him “the epitome of fairness.”  In 2005, Texas Monthly also gave him its “Bucky Award” “honoring the lawmaker whose single act made the biggest contribution to the session”.

During four of the last five sessions of the Legislature, he authored and passed more legislation than any other member of the Dallas County House Delegation.  Rep. Hartnett has been the lead House sponsor of 159 pieces of legislation, and a joint author or co-sponsor of dozens of other enacted bills.

Rep. Hartnett has been one of the leading champions of improvements to Texas’ system of justice, having served on the House Judiciary Committee for eleven terms, and having carried extensive legislation to strengthen access to justice in both civil and criminal courts and support for the judiciary (including the only pay increase for judges during the last 10 years).  He authored the massive Estates Code which will take effect in 2014.
 
Rep. Hartnett has also been an advocate for better laws affecting intellectual property and technology, carrying earlier this year the first overhaul of Texas trademark laws in 40 years and legislation to encourage development of the “Internet Cloud” in Texas.
 
He also was a key leader during the historic 2005 fight to secure North Texas’ water supplies, as both a drafter of legislation and as the tie-breaking member of the Conference Committee on SB3.

In 2001, Hartnett was the only House member who voted against passage of the now controversial HB1403, which provides in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrants.

He has received numerous other awards, including: the 2011 National Federation of Independent Business “Guardian of Small Business” Award; 2009 Texas Association of Business “Fighter for Free Enterprise” Award; 2009 Texas Family Law Foundation “Champion for Texas Families” Award; 2008 American Electronics Association “Texas Technology Champion” Award; and 2007 Texas Guardianship Association “Honor Star” Award.

Hartnett offered the following statement:
 
“My wife and three sons have stood by me during my years of public service, and now I look forward to having more time to stand by them in our family life and events that, in the end, are vastly more important than political life.  Serving in the Texas House of Representatives for two decades has been a tremendous privilege.  I thank my constituents for entrusting me with their representation in Austin, and my friends and supporters for their efforts on my behalf during 24 elections.”

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