One week after launching an exploratory committee to look into running for Kirk Watson’s empty Texas Senate District 14 seat, Texas House Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, announced March 7 he is officially seeking election for the position.

“I am proud to announce that I am running to serve our community as the next state senator for Texans in Travis and Bastrop counties,” Rodriguez said in a March 7 news release. “Central Texas is growing incredibly quickly and Senate District 14 is being profoundly impacted. This growth has produced challenges that affect our lives in countless ways, from mounting strain on our transportation infrastructure and natural resources to accelerating increases in our rent and property taxes."

Rodriguez, whose District 51 seat represents parts of Austin and southeast Travis County, was first elected to the Texas Legislature in 2002, according to the candidate’s biography. Rodriguez served on the House Committees on Calendars, States Affairs and Ways & Means during the 86th Legislative session.

The Texas Senate District 14 seat is open for the first time since 2006, when Watson first won election to the seat. Watson on Feb. 18 announced he is stepping down from the post to become the founding dean at the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs.

In a letter submitted to Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 18, Watson said his last day in office will be April 30.

Several local politicians have expressed interest in running for Watson’s vacated seat.

Greg Casar, District 4 Austin City Council member, on March 2 filed paperwork naming Aimee Arrambide, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, as the treasurer of his Texas Senate campaign. If Casar wishes to become a candidate for the Senate seat, he will have to first resign from City Council, according to a legal memo obtained by Community Impact Newspaper.