Longtime State Sen. Troy Fraser to step aside from politics

CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER

AUSTIN —  State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, a lawmaker for nearly three decades, has forged a foundation for preserving Texas economic strength in oil, gas and utilities; stood behind landowners on water rights and environmental issues; and helped secure funding for education, military and health care resources.

On June 2, Fraser, 64, announced he would not seek re-election in 2016.

“I have championed measures to ensure Texas was wide open for business, authoring legislation to foster competition in Texas to benefit consumers,” Fraser wrote in a statement June 2. “Today, it is with a heavy heart, and overwhelming sense of pride, and not an ounce of regret, that I am announcing I will not seek another term for Texas senate.”

Fraser has served as a Texas state senator for the 24th District since 1997.

Cities in that district are Abilene, Belton, Brownwood, Burnet, Fredericksburg, Killeen, Kerrville, Marble Falls and Temple.

He first entered state politics in the Texas House of Representatives, serving Big Spring and area counties in West Texas from 1988 to 1993.

Through the years, he was touted as a lawmaker who pushed back against federal overreach.

His most notable influence involved the Senate Natural Resources Committee with its broad-reaching control over legislation aimed at air quality, oil, gas, agriculture, state parks and wildlife issues.

When he was appointed chairman in 2010, he wrote: “I will work on slowing down the federal government’s attempted takeover so that Texas can continue to successfully balance the dual interests of a strong economy and a clean environment.”

Among his accomplishments:

• photo voter ID law — authored legislation passed in 2011 that required voters to show proof of identification at the ballot box;

• statewide water plan — sponsored a bill passed in 2013 as a vehicle to secure water resources for the next 50 years;

• electric deregulation — co-authored a bill passed in 1999 to deregulate the Texas electric grid, creating a competitive wholesale power system;

• groundwater rights — authored a bill passed in 2011 that reinforced and clarifed that property owners have the right to extract the groundwater beneath their land;

• health care development — authored legislation to create the Temple Health and Bioscience Economic Development District for collaboration with public and private hospital systems and research facilities;

• military support — helped establish funding for state military cemeteries in Abilene and Killeen and sponsored legislation to award the Texas Purple Heart Medal to soldiers wounded or killed during the 2009 Fort Hood shooting;

• education support — passed legislation to help found Texas A&M-Central Texas in Killeen and fund three buildings on campus; helped found and secure funding for the School of Pharmacy, School of Nursing and School of Public Health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Abilene; and helped establish Texas Tech campuses in Marble Falls and Fredericksburg

• historic courthouse restoration and preservation — authored legislation in 1999 that secured funding for continuing restoration projects on a biennium basis.

Fraser also served in leadership roles on a number of other committees and subcommittees for much of his tenure, overseeing banking, economic development, water issues, utilities, insurance, real estate and the telecommunications industry.

“I am humbled and honored by the legacy I have helped forged,” he wrote.

“Like the many senators who have come and gone before me, I know that the spirit of Texas will ensure our state’s continued success.”

Fraser’s alma maters are Angelo State University in San Angelo and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Fraser lives with his wife, Linda, in Horseshoe Bay.

“To my wife and family, thank you for sticking by my side through all the years of sacrifice and for being my biggest supports,” Fraser wrote. “To my staff, friends and constituents, I owe you a heartfelt thanks for unwavering dedication and friendship.”

His announcement comes on the heels of the end of the 84th Legislature.

“There comes a time when leaders must allow others the opportunity to leave their mark,” Fraser wrote. “Today marks that time for me.”

connie@thepicayune.com

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