State Rep. Beverly Woolley, R-Houston, says her current term — her ninth — will be her last; she's not running for re-election next year.
Woolley was a close ally of former House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, who in 2003 became the first Republican speaker since Reconstruction. Woolley stuck with Craddick in 2009 when he lost that post to Rep. Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, in 2009. Two years later, a challenge to Straus fell short, in part, because he won the endorsement of an important House conservative: Woolley.
She had talked about leaving the House before, but came back after Gov. Rick Perry vetoed her eminent domain bill in 2007. She said she wanted to see that issue through to completion. It passed this year, as one of Perry's "emergency bills."
Woolley was elected to the House in 1994 and had earlier been a member of the Nassau Bay City Council. She is speaker pro tempore and now co-chairs the Tea Party Caucus in the House. Today is 72nd her birthday, and it puts a bookend on her legislative career; Woolley says she announced for office on her birthday in 1994.
"I've been there a long time, and I'm no youngster," she says. "It was a hard session. You have to know when it's time."
[Editor's note: An earlier version of this story put Woolley in the speaker pro tempore chair at the wrong time; she was named to that spot in January 2011 by Straus.]