Larry Gonzales, the state representative for Round Rock, Hutto, Taylor, and parts of Georgetown, submitted his resignation Wednesday to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, telling him he was looking for new “exciting opportunities.”
Gonzales said he wants to spend more time with his wife, Maria, and their two children. He did not specify what he intends to do next professionally. He told the Austin American-Statesman that “it’s very difficult for guys like me to make a living and to serve as a legislator.”
Gonzales is self-employed running a graphic design business. State legislators in Texas make only $600 per month, or $7,200 per year, plus a per diem of $190 for every day the Legislature is in session, which adds up to about $33,800 a year for a regular session.
The lawmaker had already announced last September that he would not seek reelection, saying, “I need to be a daddy a little bit more. I need to be home for my business a little bit more.”
In his resignation letter he told Straus, “As you know, last summer I decided not to seek re-election to the Texas Legislature. I am happy with that decision. Serving in this capacity has been a wonderful part of my life. It’s time now, however, to move on, and begin the next phase of what exciting opportunities lie in wait for the entire Gonzales family.”
During his time in the House of Representatives, which began in 2010, he was involved in appropriations and chaired the Sunset Advisory Commission, which reviews the operations of state agencies.
His legislative record includes co-sponsorship in 2015 of a bill regulating oil and gas companies, a bill requiring the Texas Rangers to investigate public corruption cases, and a bill authorizing religious officials to decline to solemnize a same-sex marriage based on religious belief.
In 2011 he opposed a bill prohibiting texting while driving. That same year he also voted against a ban on smoking in public spaces.
Gonzales supported many abortion-related measures including a bill requiring an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
His replacement is likely to be chosen in November. Candidates vying to succeed him include Democrat James Talarico, a former public school teacher, and Republican Cynthia Flores, a case manager at the Round Rock Area Serving Center, who won Gonzalez’s endorsement.