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Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns Resigning

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – He burst into the national spotlight 2010 after giving an emotional speech letting gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender teens who are victims of bullying know “it gets better.” Tuesday night Joel Burns announced that he is resigning from the Fort Worth City Council.

Elected to the council in 2007 Burns represented District 9 and was the as the first openly gay elected official to hold office in Tarrant County.

- Fort Worth Official To Gay Teens: “It Gets Better”

- Fort Worth Councilman At Washington Conference On Bullying

Burns, who announced his resignation during the regularly scheduled city council meeting, will be attending a Mid-Career Masters in Public Administration program at Harvard University in the summer.

In a press releases statement Burns said, “It is an amazing honor and incredible opportunity I never thought possible. And I was excited to accept Harvard’s invitation last week.  But it’s a bittersweet moment, because participating in this program means choosing to step out of my seat here on the City Council and say good-bye to a life-changing experience I never could have imagined.”

Though the program doesn’t start for months Burns said he announced his resignation so, “…the people of the my Council district can begin the process of choosing their next council member.” His current would have expired in June of 2015.

Late Tuesday night Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price issued a statement that said, “His passion for his district and his passion for Fort Worth brought a dimension to the council with all that is in his heart that is hard to replace.”

Burns, 45, said he will continue to serve his district and Fort Worth until a successor is elected in a May bond election that will now also include a vote for the District 9 council seat or a subsequent summer runoff election.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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