Otto, House's Lead Budget Writer, Announces He Won't Seek Re-election

After a decade in the Texas House and fresh off his first session as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, state Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, announced Tuesday that he is not planning to seek re-election.

Group congratulates Rep. John Otto R-Dayton after HB1 passes on May 29, 2015

After a decade in the Texas House and fresh off his first session as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, state Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, announced Tuesday that he is not planning to seek re-election.

“I want to thank the voters of House District 18 for their support and encouragement over the years," Otto said in a statement. "This was not an easy decision, but I never intended for this experience to be a lifelong endeavor. After accomplishing much of what I set out to do when first elected, the time is right for me to step aside."

Otto, 66, joined the House in 2005 after stints on the Dayton City Council and Dayton Independent School Board. He quickly became best known in the chamber for his deep understanding of budget and tax issues. He has served on the Appropriations Committee since 2007. In January, House Speaker Joe Straus appointed him as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the first certified public accountant to serve in the position in more than 25 years. Otto, alongside Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, put together a $209.4 billion two-year budget that Gov. Greg Abbott signed last month.

Along with announcing his retirement, Otto also endorsed Liberty County Attorney Wesley Hinch to replace him in the district, which covers Liberty, Walker and San Jacinto counties in southeast Texas.

“Wes Hinch has the values, integrity, and experience needed to serve House District 18,” Otto said. “I am honored to endorse him to be our next state representative.”