FREEPORT — Troy Brimage is giving up his current office to focus his energy on winning another one.
Brimage announced his resignation as Freeport's mayor Monday night as he launches a campaign to replace House speaker Dennis Bonnen in the Texas Legislature. Voters awarded Brimage a second two-year term as mayor in May after first electing him in May 2017.
Ward B Councilman Brooks Bass, who joined city government at the same time as Brimage, will serve out Brimage's term as mayor. Council will appoint a replacement to represent Ward B for the remainder of Bass' term.
"I feel at this time, I can better serve Freeport and the citizens of Freeport at the state level with the relationships I know I can build in Austin," Brimage said.
Brimage last week announced his intentions to run for the House District 25 seat Bonnen chose to surrender after being recorded making controversial remarks to a conservative activist. Bonnen has represented the district that serves much of Brazoria County and all of Matagorda County since 1997.
To be fully transparent and run for that spot, Brimage said, it was best to resign as mayor before driving to Austin with his family to officially file for the House seat.
"We feel very confident about it and we're 100 percent in moving forward," Brimage said. "With that said, however, my first priority in making this decision was the city of Freeport and where we started almost three years ago now."
Brimage is joining an increasingly crowded field. Nurse Rhonda Seth announced her campaign for the seat before the Bonnen controversy erupted, and since has been joined in the Republican race by longtime Brazoria County Tax Assessor-Collector Ro'Vin Garrett. Angleton City Councilman Cody Vasut has announced his plans to seek the office but had not yet filed, according to the Texas Secretary of State's website.
Another consideration for Brimage's decision to step aside as mayor was who would fill the empty seat, he said.
"I wanted to make sure it was someone who would ensure the citizens' best interest," Brimage said. "I wanted someone with the right direction and vision that we're going with this city."
Brimage announced Bass as his replacement, saying he hopes Bass will run to continue as mayor after the current term ends.
"This is an awesome responsibility because as mayor we hold a sacred duty of public trust," Bass said. "I was proud of the decision he and his family made to represent us because I believe it's important to have local leadership. But at the same time, I knew it was stepping up."
Stepping up means representing all the residents of Freeport and expanding on his responsibilities serving Ward B, and Bass said he's up for the challenge.
"I respect the position and I understand and undertake the responsibility," Bass said. "I have a passion for the city of Freeport. I was born and raised here; I was a 1985 Exporter graduate and it would be my honor to serve the citizens of Freeport."
To replace Bass, Brimage said the city will be accepting applications for the council spot, reminding residents who want to apply to take the role seriously and consider Freeport's needs.