State Senator Leticia Van de Putte
Update 11/15: Here's what Sen. Van de Putte said on Friday: “As a mother, grandmother, and fifth generation Texan, nothing is more important to me than my family and the great state of Texas. I understand that the future prosperity of Texas families is dependent upon the path we choose to take today. So after much prayer, reflection and discussion with my family and friends, I'm ready to let you, my grassroots supporters, know what is next for me.”
The slate of Democrats running for statewide office in 2014 is about to gain a very strong new candidate. State Senator Leticia Van de Putte will make known on Friday that she will announce a run for Lt. Governor on Saturday, November 23rd. Sources close to the Senator told Texas media that she will definitely run for the second-highest office in Texas. The Texas political world is abuzz.
Sen. Van de Putte, 58, has represented large parts of San Antonio and Bexar County in the Texas Legislature since 1990 (she was elected to the Senate from the House in 1999). She chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs & Military Installations Committee, has pushed ardently for increased education funding, and has fought ardently against human trafficking in Texas and the suppression of women.
As soon as Wendy Davis began considering a run for governor, Texas progressives have hoped Sen. Van de Putte would join her on the ticket. Now we know that a Governor Davis – Lieutenant Governor Van de Putte administration is possible. And what a possibility that is.
More below the jump.Sen. Van de Putte, who has worked as a pharmacist for 30 years, went to the University of Texas and then earned a Kellogg Fellowship Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Van de Putte lives in San Antonio with her husband, Pete, of 32 years and has six children. The San Antonio Currant has a superb 2009 profile of her.
Van de Putte represents South Texas, a crucial part of Texas Democrats' statewide election strategy. Spurring high voter registration in the region and inspiring high voter turnout pushes Texas' government much closer to truly representing our state's demographics.
In September, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst bragged in a GOP primary debate that none of the Senate committees overseen by Democrats in the Dewhurst-run Senate matter. Sen. Van de Putte immediately called him out, tweeting: “With all due respect, Mr Dewhurst, if you don't think our work on behalf of TX vets is important, please step aside so we can continue it.”
Those are the words of a progressive fighter, not a squeamish politician. Van de Putte is a candidate Democrats can rally around, not just to win an election, but to do right by Texas. And how wholesome would it be for the Lt. Governor who replaces Dewhurst to be the woman Dewhurst has consistently demeaned?
During the fight over the anti-choice bill this summer, Sen. Van De Putte spoke passionately against the bill and she was a crucial part of Democrats' successful running-out-the-clock strategy. Right before midnight, Lt. Governor Dewhurst, who is president of the Senate, began ignoring Van de Putte's questions in an effort to pass the bill before midnight. “Did the President hear me or did the President hear me and refuse to recognize me?” Sen. Van de Putte asked. “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” she asked as bill opponents erupted into the “people's filibuster” that ended the special session before the bill could pass.
When asked in 2009 if she had any plans to leave the Texas Senate, Sen. Van De Putte answered: “If I can still have that passion in something else, then that's what I'm going to do,” she says. “But, really, what drives me is my family and the kids. I've got great freedom. I have a wonderful district that's allowed me to do stuff, and they've voted me in for another four years, and I'm going to use the voice.”
Now we will have the opportunity to elect Van de Putte to represent Texans with her voice.