BURLESON — State Rep. Rob Orr announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election to the Legislature next year.Orr, 57, a Republican from Burleson, did not give a reason, other than to say he promised his constituents that he would not be a “career politician.”Orr was first elected in District 58 in 2004.He served as chairman of the House Land and Resource Management Committee, as vice chairman of the Business and Industry Committee, and as a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee.“It is with mixed feelings that I make this announcement,” Orr said in a statement. “To say it has been an honor representing the residents of Johnson and Bosque counties is an understatement.”He could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Among his accomplishments, Orr listed his work on the $1.6 billion Chisholm Trail Parkway, reform of eminent domain laws and the passage of a constitutional amendment to provide additional funding to schools by authorizing the School Land Board to make direct contributions to the Available School Fund.Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter, who worked closely with Orr on a number of issues, said he wasn’t surprised to learn of Orr’s retirement.“Rob has said all along that he wasn’t going to do this forever. I think he is being true to his word,” he said.Orr was instrumental in helping to pave the way for the parkway, a 28-mile toll road from southwest Fort Worth to Cleburne, Shetter said. The parkway is scheduled to open in about a year.“He did a good job of establishing a voice when the project was in danger of stalling out,” Shetter said.Shetter said Orr’s real estate experience and support for development were also important to Burleson’s rapid growth over the years.Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon also praised Orr’s work on the parkway.“A lot of people deserve credit for the project, and Rob certainly helped with it,” he said.Harmon added that Orr will be missed as a legislator.Orr’s retirement announcement “kind of caught me off guard,” Harmon said.A Realtor, Orr owns Orr & Associates Real Estate in Burleson and has served as chairman of the Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce.
Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696 Twitter: @fwstliz