On Thursday, Democrat State Rep. Garnet Coleman (Houston) announced he would not be seeking re-election to his Houston-area House seat.
Coleman currently represents House District 147 and was first elected in 1991. His announcement marks the end of 30 years in the position.
Coleman has served as chairman of the House County Affairs Committee since 2009 as well as chairman of a Democrat-leaning caucus in the House known as the Texas Legislative Study Group.
The announcement makes him the 23rd House lawmaker to indicate they will not be returning to the Texas House of Representatives; some of those lawmakers are seeking other elected offices.
Coleman has previously had very public bouts with health complications, nearly collapsing on the House floor at the end of the regular legislative session earlier this year. Since then, he had surgery performed as a result of a severe illness, causing the amputation of a portion of his right leg.
Though he originally joined his Democrat colleagues in busting quorum earlier this year in protest of the election integrity legislation being considered by the House, he ended up being one of three Democrat lawmakers who returned to help re-establish quorum during the second special legislative session, whereby the legislation eventually ended up passing.
In the 87th regular legislative session, Coleman was the author of an unsuccessful amendment to the proposed state budget legislation that would have effectively expanded Medicaid in the state.
He was also the author of legislation deemed as a healthcare legislative priority by Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan that would have created the Office of Health Equity within the Texas Department of Health and Human Services as a part of Phelan’s “Healthy Families, Healthy Texas” legislative package. The legislation purported to work to address disparities in health outcomes in various demographics.
Though the legislation went on to pass the House, it was never considered in the Senate. Nevertheless, the state agency implemented the office anyway, defying the Legislature, using grant funding from the federal government.
Coleman was fifth in seniority of the overall 150 member House of Representatives.