AUSTIN - Senator Bill Ratliff, Republican from Mount Pleasant, announced his resignation from the Texas Senate today, November 20, 2003, effective January 10, 2004.
He was first elected to serve the citizens of Senate District 1 in 1988. During his fifteen years in the Senate, he also had the opportunity to serve as Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate during the 77th Legislature in 2001.
When asked, Ratliff said he could not see himself running for any other elected office.
At his press conference in the Senate Chamber today, Ratliff said "I could never have imagined, in my wildest dreams, that during my career I would be given the opportunity to chair the Senate Education Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate State Affairs Committee, and to author major legislation in all those committees. Even more unbelievable would have been the prospect that I would have been chosen by my colleagues to serve this state as its 41st Lieutenant Governor."
When asked what his biggest regret was among that string of accomplishments he replied that he was sorry that he had not been able to do more for the school teachers of Texas. He also thanked the citizens of District 1 for returning him to the Senate in four succeeding elections giving him what he called "the freedom to use my best judgment in representing their interests in Austin. That freedom has allowed me to vote my convictions and ignore the pressures of political partisanship or other special interests."
In eight sessions, Ratliff was named one of Texas' best legislators by Texas Monthly Magazine six times.
Ratliff submitted his letter of resignation to the Governor's Office today, asking the governor to call a special election to fill the Senate seat for District 1 at the earliest possible time. Ratliff said he wanted the seat to remain vacant for no longer than absolutely necessary.