Citing health concerns, Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) announced he would resign effective January 4 and not serve the 13th term to which he was recently elected.
“Just before last session, I learned I had cancer,” Pickett said in a statement. “I moved quickly and sought treatment which was somewhat successful, but not 100%. I went ahead and struggled through the 85th Legislative Session.”
His resignation will trigger the expedited election provisions of Sec. 203.013, Election Code because the vacancy occurred within 60 days of the convening of the regular session. The election must occur between the 21st and 45th day after it is ordered. Pickett’s seat will be the second vacancy in the House. Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) won a special election to the Senate earlier this week.
Pickett said he “could probably continue at a reduced work level” while receiving treatment, “but I have been there and done that. I need to completely heal this time.”
First elected in 1994, Pickett would have been the ninth most senior member of the House when it convenes next month. He has been a committee chair since 2009, helming the Transportation (2009, 2015), Defense and Veterans Affairs (2011), Homeland Security and Public Safety (2013) and Environmental Regulation (2017) committees.
“After a time of recovery, I will be working on my old cars, still playing the drums and finding new ways to be of service,” Pickett said.
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