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Longtime Houston Democrat Garnet Coleman to retire early from Texas Legislature

The lawmaker has represented parts of central and southeast Houston in state House District 147 since 1991. He's decided to step down at the end of the month.
Credit: Eddie Gaspar

HOUSTON — State Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat who has served 30 years in the Texas House, said Thursday that he plans to retire early from his elected position.

Note: Portions of this story originally appeared in a November story from our KHOU 11 partners at the Texas Tribune.

Coleman, who has represented parts of central and southeast Houston in state House District 147 since 1991, told The Texas Tribune in November that this term would be his last due to health reasons.

He said in a statement Thursday that he'll step aside effective Feb. 28.

"I have decided to retire early so I can focus on serving the community in my next stage of life," Coleman said. "Additionally, I'm hopeful that my early resignation will allow the next  Representative of  District 147 to better  prepare for next year's legislative session and build upon the progress we have made."

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After nearly collapsing on the House floor in early May, Coleman battled a severe illness that eventually led to the amputation of his lower right leg.

Coleman’s recovery from that surgery kept him in Houston as tensions simmered over GOP elections legislation, which prompted multiple special sessions at the Legislature this summer after House Democrats fled to Washington, D.C., to break quorum and block that bill.

Coleman, who ranks fifth in seniority among the 150-member House, has served as chair of the House County Affairs Committee since the 2009 legislative session. He also chairs the Texas Legislative Study Group, a Democratic-leaning research caucus in the lower chamber.

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When a State Representative resigns, the governor is required to call for a special election to fill the seat, which must be held at least 36 days after the announcement, according to the Texas Election Code.

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