“Chairman Garnet Coleman’s retirement is a loss for the Democratic Caucus, the Texas House and the entire state of Texas,” said Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) in a statement. “While the Texas House will not be the same without him. The impact he has made will be felt for many years to come in his policy accomplishments, as well as through the many colleagues he has mentored and staff he has trained.”
Coleman reportedly cited health issues as one of the primary factors involved in his decision, something that worsened this year and led to the amputation of his right leg in the summer.
The surgery prevented him from joining his Democratic colleagues in their quorum bust flight to Washington, D.C., but Coleman initially expressed his agreement with the measure and stayed home instead of returning to Austin.
However, Coleman — flanked by fellow Houston Democratic Reps. Ana Hernandez (D-Houston) and Armando Walle (D-Houston) — ultimately said in mid-August that it was “time to move past these partisan legislative calls” and went back to the state capitol, marking the end of the quorum break.
Coleman first began representing House District (HD) 147 in 1991 when he was only 29 years old and has represented it continuously since.
In the 87th Legislature under the new House speaker, Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), Coleman was one of 13 Democrats to be appointed as the chair of a committee, the House County Affairs Committee which he also chaired in the 86th Legislature.
Coleman’s departure from the legislature follows a host of other members who have likewise announced that they will not seek reelection.
Alongside over 20 other districts, HD 147 will be open for a new member to fill.
The district lines will not be quite the same, though, as lawmakers recently redrew the map to adjust for the population changes over the past decade.
Redistricting left HD 147 highly favorable to Democrats, as its Texas Partisan Index rating — a metric based on election results in 2018 and 2020 — shifted from a district where Democrats carried about 80 percent of the vote (D-80%) to D-79% after the new House map was signed into law.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.