Following a busy session of the 86th Texas Legislature, State Rep. John Wray announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection to the Texas House.
Sam Bryant, a Waxahachie born, Italy raised U.S. Army veteran, has already announced his plans to run for the seat.
Wray (R-Ellis) has served District 10, which includes all of Ellis County and a portion of Henderson County, since 2015. His term is set to expire in 2021.
Wray defeated Kimberly Emery (D) and Matt Savino (L) by receiving more than 70 percent of the 63,550 votes cast in the most recent general election held Nov. 6, 2018.
Wray won the 2016 election with 86.94 percent of the 59,502 ballots placed and ran unopposed in 2014.
In his announcement, Wray noted that he is proud of all his staff has accomplished while in office, but stated, "these elected jobs are not meant to be a lifetime position."
"It is time for me to return full time to Ellis County and join my fellow citizens to elect the next conservative state representative," stated Wray, who served as vice chair of the House Public Health Committee this past session. He also previously served on the Calendars and Ways & Means committees.
Wray noted the 86th Legislative session was "a highlight" of his time in office.
"We put the needs of our children and families first by passing landmark school finance reform and securing property tax relief for the next two years," he added.
Wray also stated in the announcement that he "fought aggressively for conservative priorities and values" while in Austin. He played a role in helping to trim property taxes across the state by $5 billion, while also providing public school teachers and retirees with raises.
His announcement also pointed to the renaming of a portion of U.S. Highway 287 in Midlothian as the Chris Kyle Memorial Highway and the creation of the soon-to-be-established Ellis County Court at Law No. 3 as being additional highlights.
Wray is a graduate of Texas A&M University and the University of Texas School of Law. He is an Ellis County-based attorney focused on small businesses and also co-owns Town Square Title.
Wray and his wife, Michele, live in Midlothian with their two children, Morgan and Partick.
As for Bryant, he announced his plans Tuesday to run for the seat currently held by Wray and will do so on the Republican ballot.
"The last legislative session did not go well regardless of what they say. I know what's going on," Bryant told the Daily Light. "Things should be done a lot better, and I would think if you're a Republican and run on a Republican ballot you should vote accordingly to the platform."
He added, "It's time for Republicans to start voting like Republicans."
Bryant, 37, was born in Waxahachie and grew up in Italy. With a desire to follow in his father's footsteps, he obtained his GED and enlisted in the U.S. Army during his senior year of high school.
Bryant medically retired from the Army in 2013 after a 14-year career, which included two combat deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.
Bryant married Nicky, a fellow U.S. Army veteran, in November 2014 and the two have an 18-month-old daughter. The two met while deployed. He also has an 18-year-old son, who intends to enlist in the U.S. Army.
Bryant currently serves as the male representative on the State Republican Executive Committee for Senate District 22, which includes Ellis, Bosque, Falls, Hill, Hood, McLennan, Navarro and Somervell Counties, as well as a portion of Tarrant County. He is technically retired from the workforce after a short career in tactical weapons training.
"I just think the people have lost an honest vote," Bryant added. "[...] The days of failed promises are over."