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Ogden Won't Seek Another Term

The Texas Senate's chief budget writer — Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan — won't seek re-election, he announced this morning.

State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, during debate on the state budget on May 4, 2011.

The Texas Senate's chief budget writer — Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan — won't seek re-election, he announced this morning.

The prospect has been in the wind for several weeks. Ogden said during the summer that he wouldn't announce his plans until this month, but has been talking like a guy at the end of his tenure for a while.

It took a weird bounce to get Ogden, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee and served as president pro tempore during the legislative session that just ended, back for another session. He announced plans not to seek another term before the 2010 election cycle, then changed his mind when state Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown, decided not to run in his place.

Ogden got his start in the state House in 1990 and has been in the Senate since 1997.

He's the third incumbent to say he won't be back next year. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, is running for Congress, and Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said yesterday she won't seek another term.

Here's his announcement:

After much thought and with great appreciation for the opportunity to have served in the Texas Legislature for the past 20 years, I am not planning to run for re-election as the State Senator from District 5.  I feel compelled to announce this so that others may consider running for the office and filing for candidacy.  I expect to serve the remainder of my term to January 2013. 

It has been an honor to serve the people of the 5th District and I am grateful for their confidence and trust.  They have enabled me, along with my colleagues in the legislature, to accomplish many things of which we can all be proud.

I am particularly pleased to have co-authored the last four state budgets as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.  All were balanced and conservative, attuned to the needs of our state and within its means.  Fiscal decisions made by the legislature have contributed to our state’s strong economy and excellent financial condition.  Texas is a beacon state and its fiscal policies are lighting the way for our nation.

Improving public education has been a major goal of mine since I sat on the conference committee for Senate Bill 7 in 1993.  Today our schools are better funded, students are better educated, teachers are better paid, and property taxes are significantly lower.

I have also worked to improve the quality and funding of higher education and to help eligible Texans gain access to the educational opportunities they want and deserve.  I expect that Prairie View A&M University’s ACCESS program, the state’s “Top 10%” scholarship program, and the Armed Services scholarship program will help produce leaders for the rest of the century.  I am proud of the dramatic growth of the Texas A&M Health Science Center in Temple, Bryan and Round Rock, and the legislature’s insistence on re-building the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston after the devastation of Hurricane Ike.  It has been a particular joy to see Blinn College, Sam Houston State University, and Texas A&M University – along with its sister state agencies – flourish over the years of my service.

I’m pleased with the significant enhancements made to our state highway system during my tenure.  I am particularly proud of improvements made to State Highway 6 in and around Brazos County and the construction of SH 130 in and around Williamson County.  Texas has been nationally recognized for an innovative method of funding of highway safety construction resulting in many saved lives.

Protection of the most vulnerable Texans was one of my major reasons for seeking public office.  Texas state government was not “Pro-Life” when I entered the legislature.  I worked hard to protect and defend unborn Texans and to provide for foster children, the elderly, and the disabled.   Today, children under the guardianship of the state are better cared for and protected.  Foster families are better trained and supported.  Texans with mental illness or developmental disabilities receive better treatment in more appropriate venues.  Our state government is now decisively “Pro-Life” and more people are alive today because of it.

I am proud of our state employees and the support the legislature provided to them through the good times and the tough times.  Our salaries are competitive, our retirement system is sound, and our workforce is lean, efficient, well-trained and qualified.  The 5th Senatorial District includes a large number of state employees.  I always tried to represent them well and champion their interests.

I have many people to thank for sustaining me during my years in public office, especially my wife, Beverly, and our children.  I will always be grateful for my colleagues’ edification and camaraderie, my staff’s dedication and intelligence, and my constituents’ support and friendship. 

Texas is home.  It has been a profound privilege to play a part in her continued growth and overall improvement. 

Update (1:06 p.m.):
Freshman Rep. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, will run for Ogden's seat in the Texas Senate, he said in an announcement that was also full of praise for the outgoing incumbent. An excerpt:

After a great deal of consideration and with the support of my wife and family, today I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Texas State Senate. I have the utmost respect for the job that Senator Ogden has done, and feel it's important that the people of Senate District 5 continue to be represented by someone who shares their values and conservative principles: a government that lives within its means, taxes which are low and fair, and a regulatory environment that doesn’t punish small businesses.
Update (1:14 p.m.):
Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, won't join the line of people who want to replace Ogden. He followed an appreciation of the incumbent with this statement:

I am blessed to represent Williamson County in House District 52, and my focus remains on serving our area in the Texas House while being the best father and husband I can be in my own house. I am making it clear that I will seek re-election in the new HD 52, and will serve the values of Williamson County voters as long as they allow me to represent them.

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