Whether you supported his politics or not, you have to know that the resignation of Senator Kirk Watson means a lot to all of us.
Watson announced last week that he was resigning from the Texas Senate to be the founding dean of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs. That’s quite a job, and you can’t blame him for jumping at the chance.
Because, after all, Kirk will be damn good leading a school of public affairs. This man has given his life to public affairs, protecting residents of Texas, making sure that we have open government, that we know what is going on in government.
Watson’s resignation is effective April 30, 2020. A special election will be held in Senate District 14. While his district does not reach into Hays County, there are plenty of local Democrats who claim him as their state senator.
I knew Kirk just a bit while I attended Baylor University. He was in law school at Baylor, and a group of us protesting some of Baylor University’s rules found a kindred soul in Kirk. He could talk circles around all of us … we seemed to know that he was headed for politics.
And when I came back to Central Texas after working in Washington D.C., we seemed to cross paths occasionally. I was proud of the work he had done as mayor of Austin and was proud to say that he helped various bills supported by the Texas Press Association.
When Texas Monthly Biz magazine described Watson as “a man with a vision of what the community wants and the moxie to carry it out,” they were not joking.
He served on a lot of committees, centered on education, health care, transportation and governmental transparency.
And that’s one area that all of us should say “Thank you” to Kirk.
Watson worked tirelessly to make strengthen the Texas Public Information Act.
What does that act do for you? Well, if you want to request information from the city council, then the Public Information Act ensures that you have the right to do so. No one can withhold government documents, letters, bills, emails from public scrutiny. This includes text messages, internet postings, emails, letters to and from governmental entities and more.
So, from all of us – local citizens, friends, people who support open government, thanks for your service. And be sure that some of us will likely look you up the next time we are in Houston.