State Sen. Kyle Janek, a Houston Republican who represents parts of Jefferson County, has announced he will resign his seat in June.
Janek, an anesthesiologist, was elected to represent District 17 in 2002. The district includes parts of Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Chambers and Jefferson counties. The senator said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family.
Janek held a 10-minute news conference Jan. 29 in Austin to announce his resignation. He was joined by his wife Shannon, his sons Ryan, 9, Will, 7 and Luke, 3, and his father and brother.
"I've had a great 13 years at the Capitol. I showed up with no wife, no kids, no gray hair, no glasses and no hearing aid," the Associated Press reported. "Now look at me."
He spent eight years in the state House before he was first elected to the Senate in 2002. He won re-election in 2006 with 78 percent of the votes against a Libertarian candidate. Janek had no Democratic opponent in 2006.
The senator said Tuesday he originally intended to resign in March but decided to postpone stepping down until after May 10. That is the date there could have been a special election to fill his seat. The next uniform election date would be the Nov. 4 general election unless Gov. Rick Perry sets an emergency special election.
Janek's departure means Republicans will hold a 19-11 majority in the Texas Senate, and may give Democrats an opening in the district that has been a GOP stronghold.
"The (Democratic party) is taking a long and serious look at this district," Democratic Party spokeswoman Amber Moon told the Associate Press. "It's unplowed but very fertile territory."
The door is open for Janek to become a lobbyist, as Texas allows former lawmakers to become lobbyists as soon as they leave office.
Janek was unsure of his future plans, and told reporters in Austin that he may continue his medical practice there.
The senator was instrumental in the 2007 passage of the high school steroids tests bill first touted by fellow Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. The $6 million program is expected to begin next month.
He currently serves as chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Technologies & Economic Development, as vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce, and as a member of the Education Committee, the Subcommittee on Higher Education, the Finance Committee, the Subcommittee on Capital Funding for Higher Education and the Health & Human Services Committee.