Former House member Goolsby interested in replacing Shapiro in Senate

September 20th, 2011 at 12:23 pm by under Politics

Former Rep. Tony Goolsby, R-Richardson (Texas House)

Former Texas House member Tony Goolsby is eyeing the Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano. Goolsby told KXAN on Tuesday he is interested in running, though it is still early in the thought process.

“Florence called me yesterday to tell me she wasn’t running,” said Goolsby. “It would be like replacing a legend, in my opinion. She will be missed.”

Shapiro, who has served in the Senate since 1993 and most recently chaired both the Education Committee and the Finance Subcommittee on Public Education Funding, announced she would not seek re-election on Monday.

“It has been my honor to serve the State of Texas and all the citizens of the many communities I have represented for almost two decades,” Shapiro said. “I am excited about the future and will continue with my passion for improving our state’s public schools, community colleges and universities.”

When Shapiro first served in the Senate, her district was a rural-suburban district stretching from Collin County to Smith County in East Texas. During her tenure, the district morphed into a very suburban area in Collin and north Dallas counties.

Goolsby, a Richardson Republican, has been working as a Capitol lobbyist since losing a re-election bid to the House in 2008. He served ten terms in the lower chamber, often filling the role of House Administration Chairman.

“I started running a campaign for Senate after my first term in the House,” he said. “But I decided it was too early. I was still trying to learn where the restrooms were.”

On Monday, Scott O’Grady, an Air Force fighter pilot and best-selling author, became the first to officially throw his hat into the ring for this race. O’Grady, who was shot down in Bosnia in 1995 and managed to evade capture for six days before a Marine rescue, had previously announced his candidacy for the Texas House.

O’Grady’s Senate intention included mention of several big endorsements, including Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, an early Shapiro supporter.

Another mentioned as a possible candidate Shapiro’s seat is Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney. On Tuesday, he told a Dallas-area radio station that he would run. Paxton drew statewide attention before the last legislative session when he campaigned against Speaker Joe Straus.

Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, had been rumored for a run, but a spokesperson for his House campaign confirmed on Tuesday he would not be seeking a Senate seat and intended to run for re-election to the House.

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