Laney Won't Run in '06

Senior state Democratic rep promises to remain active in Austin's public arena after leaving office next year

Former House Speaker Pete Laney's announcement last week that he won't seek reelection in 2006 offered up yet another reminder of how bad things are now at the state House. The senior state Democratic rep from Hale Center, whose amiable, bipartisan leadership in his five terms as speaker won him routine praise from then Gov. George W. Bush, promised to remain active in the public arena in Austin after leaving office next year. In 2000, Bush called on Laney to introduce the president-elect to the nation and later hosted the former speaker and wife Nelda at the White House on several occasions. Two years later, Laney lost his leadership post to ex-friend and Midland Republican Tom Craddick, in a GOP upset that sent several Democrats packing and relegated Laney to the sidelines, along with any semblance of bipartisan good will in the House.

Laney's retirement opens the door for a Republican to succeed the West Texas cotton farmer. But Laney said he hopes that his conservative district will elect someone who is committed to work with members on both sides of the aisle. "My decision not to run again comes at a time when more than ever we as a state and as a nation need to encourage bipartisan leaders to get involved in public service," he said in a statement. "West Texas has produced some of the most influential leaders in our state's history, and I want us to continue that legacy." During one of two failed special sessions on school finance this year, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, tried to drum up support for Laney to run for governor next year by selling T-shirts with the message: "Save Texas. Laney for Gov – 06."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Pete Laney
Texas Dems Set Their Eyes on the 2020 Prize
Texas Dems Set Their Eyes on the 2020 Prize
Their goal: Flip the state House of Representatives

Mike Clark-Madison, Oct. 25, 2019

Carole's Greatest Hits
Carole's Greatest Hits
Volume 1 – Legislative Redistricting

Wells Dunbar, April 17, 2009

More by Amy Smith
Well-Behaved? Let's Assume Not.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story
Barbara Leaming's new biography makes the case that Jackie O suffered from PTSD

Nov. 28, 2014

Section 8 Reopens
Section 8 Reopens
Hurry up ... and wait!

Oct. 3, 2014


Pete Laney, Nelda Laney, Senfronia Thompson, George W. Bush, Tom Craddick

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle