|SAN ANTONIO, November 23 - State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte is aiming to become the first Latina to preside over the Texas Senate.
On Saturday the San Antonio Democrat announced, as expected, that she is running for lieutenant governor. The four Republicans running for Lt. Gov. are incumbent David Dewhurst, state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.
With state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth running for governor, Democrats are aiming to have two women hold the top elected positions in Texas. That would be a first in the Lone Star State. The front runner for governor in the Republican primary is Greg Abbott, the current attorney general.
Here are Van de Putte's prepared remarks from her speech at San Antonio College on Saturday:
Bienvenidos, yíall! Thanks for coming!
I want to thank my daughter Nichole for introducing me.
23 years ago, my husband Pete and I sat down with the kids to talk to them about my first race -- for the Texas House of Representatives...representing the house district where weíre standing today - when I first got to the Texas Legislature, I represented this wonderful college campus in the House, and I still do in the Senate.
At that family meeting 23 years ago, Nicholeís little sister Isabella asked, ďwhy does mommy wanna be a ďstate episentative??Ē
With the wisdom of a 10 year old, Nichole responded "because thereís not enough mommies there!"
Nicole was exactly right, and 23 years later, Nicole is still exactly right - there arenít enough mommies in Austin at the state capitol, am I right?
I want to introduce the rest of my family....
Youíre here because you love Texas as much as I do. From the celestial views atop the Chinati Mountains in far West Texas, to the beautiful east Texas piney woods around Longview and Marshall, to the majestic ďBig TreeĒ north of Rockport - the ancient old oak tree that has stood strong for more than a thousand years - to the vast high plains of the Panhandle, to the vibrancy of the Rio Grande and its border region stretching more than a thousand miles. We love our land, we love our dynamic world-class cities, we love the rich traditions of small town Texas, and we love the people who live here.
My love for Texas, and for Texans, is what led me to public service in the first place - the opportunity to work on behalf of Texas families in the state legislature for almost 23 years...all my work on public education, and in putting a stop to human trafficking, and working to thank our brave Texas veterans as chairwoman of the Veterans Affairs And Military Installations Committee in the Senate -- and every time I can play a role in helping make Texas an even better place to grow up, raise a family, and start a small business - thatís what makes me believe itís worth all the time spent away from this wonderful family.
But friends...mammaís not happy. Iím not happy with how things are going. My family knows what that means - when Mammaís not happy, ainít nobody happy.
Make no mistake - weíre all proud of Texas. But for a long time, the politicians in charge around here havenít done much to make Texas a place worthy of our pride in it - Texas families have carried the slack on their own. For years, the Governorís been too busy trying to be President, and the Lt. Governorís been too busy trying to get to the U.S. Senate - nobodyís been minding the store!
We should probably be glad theyíve been too busy trying to move up the political ladder. Lord knows the damage they could have done if theyíd worked harder at it.
Have you been paying attention to the Republican primary race for Lt. Governor? It gets whackier every day. Theyíre all trying to out-extremist one another...all four of them chasing after the most extreme five percent of Texans who control Republican primary elections. To them, the rest of Texas doesnít exist.
And that, my friends, is the problem: to them, the real-life priorities of too many mainstream Texas families simply donít exist.
While theyíve bickered amongst themselves, funding for neighborhood public schools has been cut by billions. Class sizes have swelled, and too often weíre losing our best teachers. Texas is investing less in our school children than almost any other state. Itís by no coincidence that weíre last in the nation in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma. Donít you think Texas deserves better than that?
While they bicker, Texasí transportation needs continue to go unmet. Theyíve even talked about turning paved highways into gravel roads, as if they think we can grow a 21st century economy while driving on 19th century roads. Doesnít Texas deserve better than that?
While they argue, college tuition gets higher and higher, putting an affordable education completely out of reach for too many Texas families. Doesnít Texas deserve better than that?
As they continue their hyper-partisan fights over health care, while they have no real ideas of their own, they turn their backs on Medicaid expansion that would create jobs and add billions to the Texas economy. Their failure on this means that more than 65,000 Texas veterans wonít get affordable healthcare, itíll cost 200,000 new Texas jobs, and billions in new revenue that would have flowed into the Texas economy. Doesnít Texas deserve better than that?
And as they continue to be too afraid of their own primary voters to provide any leadership whatsoever to pass meaningful immigration reform, theyíve failed to craft a balanced approach that works in the real world. Theyíve failed to make sure immigration policy maximizes jobs for Texas, helps our economy, creates new consumers for Texas businesses, and fosters a skilled and affordable Texas workforce. Doesnít Texas deserve better than that?
While they wage their war on women, theyíve cut funding and closed the clinics Texas women relied on for the only preventive health care they could afford.
Doesnít Texas deserve better than that?
Texas does deserve better. And that, my friends, is why...Mamma ainít happy.
Weíre proud of Texas too, but Texas families deserve better than theyíve been getting. Texas can do better than this. And thatís why I announce that Iíll ask the people of Texas to hire me to be your next Lt. Governor.
Iím running to be the Lt. Governor who doesnít forget about the rest of Texas - the ones out-of-touch Republican candidates have forgotten, as they continue to pat their most extreme voters on the head.
Iíll be the Lt. Governor who wonít forget about our neighborhood public schools - it is mainly because of the education I received in public schools that I am living my parents dream and my grandparentsí prayers. I wonít be afraid to innovate, and Iíll stay laser-focused on the fact that if we donít give our teachers the tools to teach, we canít give our children a world-class education, and theyíll never achieve their world-class dreams.
Iíll be the Lt. Governor who understands that, for Texas families, the best economic development program is a job with good pay, not a corporate hand-out for a big company which was doing just fine anyway.
Iíll be the Lt. Governor who ensures that whether or not you get a college degree should be determined by how hard you can work for it, not whether you and your family can afford it.
Iíll be the Lt. Governor who understands that Texas veterans deserve our heartfelt thanks...and I donít mean just on a bumper sticker - I mean working to make sure they can find a good paying job and affordable healthcare.
Iíll be the Lt. Governor who will fight to make sure your rights as a citizen of Texas are equal to everyone elseís, and that your job security isnít determined by who you love, but by what you can accomplish.
Iíll be the Lt. Governor who fights for meaningful immigration reform - a balanced approach, not a free ride...that both secures our border, and maximizes jobs for Texans. I want immigration reform that requires immigrants to pay their taxes and encourages people to come out from the shadows. Iíll fight for the kind of balanced approach that creates new consumers, fosters an educated and affordable workforce for Texas businesses, and holds employers accountable for hiring undocumented immigrants. We canít afford to keep kicking the can down the road just because some Republican candidates are afraid of their own voters.
Iíll be the Lt. Governor who puts the middle class first. The Texas economy is booming for big business. I want to foster the kind of economic growth that makes the Texas economy boom for middle class families and small businesses too - not just for those already at the top. And I want to build that strong economy to endure - we should be in it for the long haul, not just quick fixes. In our booming economy, if those in charge now werenít missing opportunity after opportunity, we wouldnít be leaving anybody behind.
Iíll be the Lt. Governor who understands that we donít have to choose between a strong economy, and keeping our air safe to breathe and our water safe to drink - Texans are good enough and smart enough to do both. I wonít let lobbyists and special interests drive the agenda, and I wonít let reckless corporate polluters do whatever they want.
Iíll be the Lt. Governor who understands the difference between a frivolous unnecessary expense, and a wise investment. Iíll keep taxes low, and Iíll make sure we donít waste a dime, because our families donít have a dime to waste. Republicans are fond of saying ďgovernment should be run more like a business,Ē and I agree. Smart business people understand that thereís a time to cut, and a time to invest. But the people now in charge have forgotten how to invest in Texas. Our lack of investment in transportation and water infrastructure, quality neighborhood schools, and world-class colleges and universities is hurting our children, itís hindering sustainable economic growth, itís holding back the workforce necessary for small business opportunities, and itís harming Texas families.
And finally, Iíll be the Lt. Governor who understands that fundamental rights...and dignity...and self-determination...and opportunities for women are not a pawn in some political game, and Iíll fight to ensure that women will never again be treated they way weíve been treated by our own government lately.
Women currently make 77 cents on the dollar a man makes. Senator Wendy Davis passed the bill to fix that problem, by guaranteeing that Texas women would make the same pay for doing the same work. But the current Republican governor pandered to the extremists when he vetoed that bill. As Lt. Governor Iíll make sure womenís voices will truly be heard in shaping these decisions, and when Iím Lt. Governor Iíll fight to pass that bill again, so that it can be signed into law...by Governor Wendy Davis.
Thatís the kind of Lt. Governor Texas families deserve, and thatís the kind of Lt. Governor I intend to be.
Are you with me?
You better be serious, because I canít do this without your help. Are you with me???
Theyíll say we canít win...because Texas is a red state. Theyíll say that little olí Leticia Rosa San Miguel Van de Putte from the barrio becoming Lt. Governor will never happen. Theyíll say that theyíre going after the Hispanic vote. Well...take my word for it - since Iím an actual Hispanic - you canít successfully fight for the Hispanic vote, unless you successfully fight for Hispanic families.
Let me say that again, because itís important: DirŠn que Leticia Rosa San Miguel Van de Putte del barrio nunca serŠ subgobernadora. Ellos dicen que buscaran el voto Hispano. Bien... Siendo hispana,... Se los aseguro,...no podrŠn obtener nuestro voto si no estŠn listos para luchar por nuestras familias.
They canít say Iíve forgotten where I came from, because Iím still here. For 30 years our family has lived in the same modest house in the neighborhood, a block and a half from where I grew up. I still live in the same house my husband Pete and I raised our 6 children in, and now the wonderful noise of our grandchildren is all around us.
I have to run. Itís my grandchildren. Itís your grandchildren. Itís the future of Texas: Proverbs 3:27 says ďDonít withhold good from those to whom it is due, when itís in your power to act.Ē Thatís what guides me as a public servant, thatís what will guide me in this race, and thatís what will guide me as your Lt. Governor.
I want to be your Lt. Governor because Mamma ainít happy - because Texas can do better.
And with your help, and with your hard work, and with Godís blessing, we will win, and Texas families will be better for it.
Dios y Tejas! Letís get to work! Thank you!