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Former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson to seek Barrientos' Senate seat

By J. Lyn Carl,

Austin, TX –

The lights in the Speaker's Committee Room were hardly turned off after Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos' announcement that he would not seek re-election before former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson today threw his hat into the ring as a candidate to succeed Barrientos.

"With Senator Barrientos' announcement today, I'm a candidate for the Texas Senate, District 14," said Watson, 46, who promised a formal announcement of his candidacy in the near future. Watson, an attorney and public affairs consultant, is a graduate of Baylor University Law School. He had high praise for Barrientos, saying the people of Austin and of the state should thank the long-time lawmaker for his 30 years of service on their behalf. "Senator Barrientos has served Texas all of his adult life. He has served with all of his strength and all of his heart."

Watson, who served as mayor of the city of Austin from 1997 to 2001, said he would be "honored if the people who live and work in Travis County choose me to follow Senator Barrientos in Senate District 14."

Watson, a Democrat, gave up his post as mayor to run an unsuccessful campaign for Texas Attorney General.