An update on Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and her decision about whether or not to run for Lite Gov.
When I asked her about running for lieutenant governor she replied, “I’m just so very honored and flattered that so many people from the grassroots, Democratic Party leaders and Texas business leaders have urged me, about the possibility. First and foremost my thoughts are waiting to see what my sister colleague, Wendy Davis, is going to do, and then visiting with my family. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities, but I have not made any decision.”
Van de Putte said “history will show that we have had 20 years of solid Republican rule and in those 20 years, I’ve seen our infrastructure needs (she cited water, transportation and education) ignored, until this very recent session, and what we’re trying to do, as the speaker put it, with our highway funding is a band aid. It becomes really easy for those in office to say `no’ and be so afraid of the next primary that they are very hesitant to say `yes’ to even an increase in fees or a gasoline tax, which we haven’t had in 22 years.”
“All I can say is I’m still in the thinking mode and my family has really been through so much this past year,” she said. “The biggest decision will be that of the heart of my family.”
Van de Putte lost both an infant grandson, Rex, to unknown causes, in May, and her 82-year-old father, Daniel San Miguel Jr., in a car crash in June.
Last Thursday, Davis’ father, Jerry Russell, 77, died from complications after abdominal surgery. Davis was by her father’s side the last weeks of his life, postponing any announcement about whether she would run for governor until later this month.
“Well, we have visited a lot because we both lost our dads in a short period of time,” said Van de Putte, who said she had been in contact with Davis by phone during her hospital vigil.
Van de Putte said her father’s death was a terrible shock, but “he died instantly and he did not suffer.”
“My dear friend Wendy had that agnoizing wait. I think at a certain point they knew it was hoplesss and yet, that strong spirit wouldn’t let go. What they went through in those two weeks was agonizing.”
In her conversations with Davis, Van de Putte said they did not talk politics.
“The only thing she told me was that this two weeks was the most emotionally difficult two weeks of her entire life and so, with something like this, you put everything else out of your mind and concentrate on family and faith , and you don’t even think about it.”
My own sense is that Van de Putte would benefit Davis politically and emotionally if they ran together. Also, Van de Putte, with 14 years in the Senate and a career in the Hosue before that, is, unlike Davis, not up for reelection in 2014, so would not have to risk her seat to run statewide.
And her story is a good one.
As she explained in a speech she gave on being elected president pro tem on the opening day of the session, “If there were ever a glimpse at the future of our state, it is in our family portraits. Some of my six children are just as brown as you’d expect from a family named San Miguel, my maiden name. But my other children’s appearances reflect the Belgian and French genes of my husband, Pete Van de Putte.The majority of my grandchildren, despite their Latino heritage, have blue eyes. They are 75% Anglo, and they will someday be a minority in this state.”
“This is something to be embraced, not feared. Great things have emerged from the blending of our cultures,” she said. “As we move forward into this new Texas, let these examples be our guide. Instead of separating into groups, let us say to the world, `Bienvenidos, y’all!’”
See here for the background. I’m so on board with this. The two Senators would make an excellent and energizing top of the ticket, and should have no trouble attracting ballotmates, volunteer energy, and fundraising support. Sure, they would face an uphill battle, but they will be as well placed to start out as any Democratic statewide candidate has been in a long time. We’re ready when you are, ladies. BOR has more.