Democratic leader in Texas state senate retiring in 2021

(Courtesy of the Texas State Senate)

The Democratic leader in the Texas Senate has announced his retirement, giving up a seat that the party considers safe. 

El Paso Sen. José Rodríguez said Friday he'll retire at the end of his current term in January of 2021. He was first elected in 2010. 

Rodriguez said at a press conference he thinks it's time for him to leave office.

The El Paso senator has been an outspoken supporter of reforming gun laws in Texas and passing so-called "red flag" laws and universal background checks. 

Rodriguez was also a vocal critic of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's former embattled Secretary of State David Whitley. Democrats blocked a vote on Whitley after his office used flawed data in a bungled scouring of voter rolls.