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Changes In The Air For High-Profile Bexar County Legislative Delegation

The Texas Capitol will soon be abuzz with lawmakers returning for the session. But changes are in the air for members representing Bexar County.

According to last session’s Texas House of Representatives rankings, Bexar County’s legislative delegation held four of the top 50 spots, including Ruth Jones McClendon at No. 19, Mike Villarreal at No. 30, Jose Menendez at No. 32, and Trey Martinez Fischer at No. 35.

But Bexar County is going to have to look for others to fill in some of those spots. Villarreal is exiting the House to run for mayor of San Antonio. Menendez and Martinez Fischer are vying for State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s District 26 seat, because she, too, will be stepping down to run for San Antonio mayor.

Jeff Coyle, San Antonio’s Intergovernmental Relations Director, said Bexar County is the envy of the state at the Capitol. “Certainly, we are losing members who are effective and influential legislators, and have been for a number of years,” said Coyle.

In addition to four senators from the area, the powerful House Speaker, Joe Straus, is a San Antonio Representative. There is no timeline for when the new lawmakers from the county would take their seats. Coyle's job, incidentally, is to educate them on San Antonio’s priorities. “No matter who’s in those seats, they generally will represent San Antonio with gusto, so we just need to make sure we’re communicating with them regularly, what’s important to our community," he said.

Van de Putte said the delegation would remain strong and members like Rep. Joe Farias, Roland Gutierrez, Lyle Larson and Justin Rodriguez in the House, would only continue to move up. The Democratic Senator also praised a fairly new senatorial colleague, Republican Donna Campbell, for being a voice for Bexar County.

“She’s going to prove that she can carry her weight and her load for Bexar County, so I don’t have any qualms,” said Van de Putte.

The governor will be in charge of calling the special elections to fill the seats.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.