State Rep. Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land, won't seek another term in the Texas House, he said today.
Howard, 69, began his tenure in the Legislature in 1995. He's been easily re-elected ever since, never drawing less than 64 percent of the vote either in primary or general elections. But this year, opponents started to emerge. Sugar Land Mayor Pro Tem Jacquie Chaumette and Sonal Bhuchar, a Fort Bend ISD Board Trustee, are already in the race, and Howard's decision to step down could draw others into the race.
Howard said he won't endorse either of those two and said he expects "at least two others" to get into the race. He and his wife talked and made the decision not to seek re-election last week, he said, after those two opponents had already announced.
Howard cited "lingering health issues" as the reason he's stepping aside. He's had problems with his jawbone since undergoing radiation treatments for cancer years ago and says that and a re-election campaign are too much to deal with at one time. Here's the text of his announcement:
State Representative Charlie Howard (R – District 26 – Sugar Land) announced today that he, regretfully, will not seek re-election in 2012.
“Many of you know I have a lingering health issue,” Representative Howard said. “I have postponed treatment for the past few years because of the time commitment it requires, but this is no longer an option. I want to reassure my constituents and friends that this has no bearing on my ability to effectively serve out my current term until January 2013. Thus, I will successfully finish that which I enjoy most – serving the people of Fort Bend County in the Texas House of Representatives.”
Rep. Howard and his wife, Jo, came to Houston in 1970 from Alabama where they had both worked on the Apollo program, which landed the first man on the moon. Charlie, an electrical engineer, was a member of the team that developed the first broadband data system to handle the massive data transmissions to and from the spacecraft and the NASA facilities.
After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, he joined Gerald D. Hines Interests, where he helped develop First Colony in Sugar Land. Charlie served his community in many capacities, including President of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce and founding director of the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council, before being elected to the State Legislature as a Republican in 1994. As a respected member of the legislature, Rep. Howard passed many bills specifically enhancing the lives of his constituents. To mention a few of such bills would include bringing the University of Houston to Sugar Land, establishing the Fort Bend Technical Center with Wharton Junior College, and helping Sugar Land be the best FOB Airport in the country. He worked with integrity with other officials to bring about the expansion of Hwy 59, Hwy 6, and Hwy 90A.
“WOW! What a fantastic ride Fort Bend County has had the past 40 years, becoming the best and greatest county in the state and one of the most sought after places to live in the country. I never tire of bragging on you,” he said.
“What caused this greatness? The answer is simple – you, the people of Fort Bend county. You have embraced new comers regardless of gender, education, race, religion, or place of birth and as a result we are one of the most cosmopolitan counties in the state, if not in the nation. You have had a vision and an unfailing commitment to give freely of your time and resources to the many worthy causes in our community, especially those benefitting the less fortunate. And you have displayed a „Can Do‟ attitude in the face of difficulties.”
“Jo, my loving wife and life partner of over 40 years, and I thank you for allowing us to live and work quietly side-by-side with you and to contribute in a small way to this greatness. What a joy, honor and privilege it is, has been, and will continue to be to serve you.”
“I am working on a rather extensive newsletter that should arrive in your mail boxes from my Austin office in the next month giving details of this past session. I am available for answering your questions and for speaking engagements to give further specifics of how the new statutes will affect mine and your lives.”
“I will continue to further the vision of the citizens of Fort Bend County- to build a better future here for ourselves and our children, and I will not stop working toward that effort, in or out of public office.”
“My prayer is you will continue what has brought you to this level of greatness by loving and serving each other. GOD BLESS YOU, and may God continue to bless the State of Texas and the USA.”