After five sessions in the Texas House, Democratic state Rep. Joe Farias of San Antonio announced Monday that he will not seek re-election.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Farias emerged as a key player this year in the fight against proposed cuts to the Hazlewood program, a popular college tuition initiative benefiting Texas veterans. Ahead of the debate on Hazlewood, Farias gave an emotional speech in which he asked his colleagues to not break a promise the state had made to its veterans.
"Why take from them when they've given so much?" Farias said in his speech about veterans and their families. The bill aimed at reining in Hazlewood's costs died after Farias and other military veterans in the House rallied against the proposal.
Democratic state Rep. Armando Walle of Houston, Farias' deskmate in the House, announced his colleague's retirement.
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"What you have sacrificed for this country, Joe, none of us can ever repay you," Walle said after announcing Farias' departure.
Farias eventually took to the front mic of the House, saying he didn't plan a farewell speech but wanted to tell his family he was grateful for their support over the years. Farias also made note of the Hazlewood debate.
"Let me thank each and every one of you for putting up with me" during the Hazlewood debate, Farias told his colleagues.
He added that his retirement did not mean he would stop advocating for veterans. "You haven’t seen the last of me," Farias said.