AUSTIN (KXAN) - State Rep. Mark Strama announced Wednesday that he plans to resign from office and become head of Google Fiber in Austin.
Google Fiber will use fiber-optic communication technology to bring ultra high speed Internet and TV service to the Austin area starting in 2014.
"I'm not going to run for mayor. I'm going to run Google Fiber in Austin," said Strama, 45.
Strama has served in the Texas House since 2005 and has spent most of his professional life balancing business and politics.
A graduate of Brown University, he worked on Ann Richard's campaign for governor in 1990 before serving as chief of staff to State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, from 1991 to 1995.
He founded NewVoter.com, an online voter-registration service that was later acquired by New-York based Election.com. The service helped over 700,000 Americans register to vote for the 2000 elections.
He also holds the franchise rights to all Sylvan Learning Centers in the Austin area.
Strama is a former chairman of the House Committee on Technology, Economic Development and Workforce, a former member of the House Energy Resources Committee and a former member of the House Public Education Committee.
He is married to former TV reporter Crystal Cotti, and they have two young daughters, Victoria and Caroline.
"No one knows for sure where this technological advancement will lead," Strama said of Google Fiber. "In the near term, it will simply allow you to do all the things you currently do online, only much faster."
"It is entirely possible that we will someday look back on this evolution of technology as a point similar in significance to the introduction of the Internet itself," he said.
"I don't know where it's going to go, but I'll bet it goes somewhere really cool."
With his new position as head of Google Fiber, Strama is looking forward to making more time for family.
"I'm grateful to my family, for the sacrifices that all families of politicians must make," Strama said on his blog.
"This unique opportunity in the private sector has the potential to be as impactful, as transformational, as anything I could hope to achieve in the public sector. And it's one that allows me to be home in time to have dinner with my wife and daughters most nights - which is important to them, and to me," he said.
If Strama resigns before his term ends in January 2015, a special election will be called to fill the vacancy.
Google Fiber said in a statement on their website that "Austin city leaders have worked hard to make Google Fiber possible, and we're excited to be here."
The company hopes to start servicing customers in the Austin area by the middle of 2014.
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