State Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, announced Monday that she won’t seek re-election next year.
The five-term officeholder is the sixth member of the Legislature to say she won’t try for another term. The list so far includes Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, and Reps. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen; Joe Farias, D-San Antonio; Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress; and Sylvester Turner, D-Houston.
Harless said she has become frustrated with infighting among Republicans in the Legislature and hopes to stay involved in GOP politics and campaigns after her term ends at the end of 2016. "I'm just really disappointed in the way the Republicans act in the Texas House," she said. "People need to know that consensus and moderation and working across the aisle is not a bad thing.
"Some Republicans cater to the 4 or 5 percent who vote in the Republican primaries," she said. "That's not who we represent; we represent everybody in our districts."
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Harless is one of House Speaker Joe Straus' stalwarts and serves on three powerful House committees: Calendars, State Affairs and Transportation. She said she thought about leaving after her fourth term: "I stayed last time for Straus. I'm leaving this time for me."
One potential candidate has already popped up: Kevin Roberts of Houston, the chief operating officer of the Lanier Law Firm who has been active in a number of Republican organizations.
Harless ended her letter to constituents with this announcement:
Lastly, with a peaceful heart I share with you that I will not run for re-election. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the constituents of District 126 in the Texas House of Representatives. When elected in 2006, I had simple goals: to respect the institution, the process and the members; to make votes based on the needs of my district, and not my party or the scorecards of the policy groups du jour; to stay grounded in my community — not Austin; to remember that serving in the legislature is a job and not a way of life; and to know when it is time to leave.
I hope I have accomplished these goals and I look forward to working for you until my term ends in December 2016. It has been a great honor to represent the constituents of District 126 at the state capitol for 5 legislative sessions.