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Leticia Van De Putte announces for Lt. Governor of Texas

This is great news! State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte (D-San Antonio) will run for Lt. Governor. From the Texas Tribune, Van de Putte Joins Race for Lieutenant Governor.

Long rumored to be a contender, state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte has now made it official: She is running for lieutenant governor.

“I want to be your lieutenant governor because Mama ain’t happy — because Texas, we can do better,” Van de Putte said in a roughly 25-minute speech Saturday that touched heavily on the importance of family in her life.

On stage in a San Antonio College gymnasium, where her campaign estimated about 500 supporters gathered, the six-term Democratic senator did not shy from attacking the state’s Republican leadership, which she said had forgotten about mainstream Texans.

“For years, the governor’s been too busy trying to be president, and for years the lieutenant governor’s been trying to be in the U.S. Senate — nobody’s been minding the store,” Van de Putte said. “We cannot afford to keep kicking the can down the road because some Republicans are afraid of their primary voters.”


On Saturday, Van de Putte said she knew her opponents would say the race wasn’t winnable for a Democrat. But she said she would be a leader who would not ignore the “real-life priorities” of mainstream Texas families to chase after the “the most extreme five percent of Texans who control Republican primary elections.”

She said that under Republican watch, the state Legislature has underfunded public schools and transportation and has played politics while veterans went without health care. Van de Putte also set up a sharp contrast between her position and that of the state’s elected officials on social issues like equal pay and access to health care for women, and the right to work without facing discrimination just because of “who you love.”

“I’ll be the lieutenant governor who understands that fundamental rights, and dignity, and self-determination, and opportunities for women are not a pawn in some political game,” she said.

Making note of the Republican Party’s attempts to reach Hispanic voters, she delivered a message to her audience first in English, then in Spanish.

“Take my word for it, since I’m an actual Hispanic — you can’t successfully fight for the Hispanic vote unless you successfully fight for Hispanic families,” she said.


“My question to a lot of people was … is it doable, is it winnable? I’m just a really competitive person,” she said. “Yes, I want to help out the Democratic Party, but I’m not that good of a soldier. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it to win.”

In her interview with the Tribune, Van de Putte said she checks a lot of key boxes: female, Latina, pro-business, a veterans advocate. A pharmacist by trade, she served five terms in the Texas House before her election to the Senate in 1999. In that time, she has become known for her focus on public schools and veterans issues — two areas with bipartisan appeal.

Van De Putte’s been rumored to be running for statewide office for a couple of cycles now. It’s good that she’s found a time to go for it, and she does not have to resign from the Senate to run. She and Wendy Davis will compliment each other well.

The next stop for Van de Putte on Saturday afternoon was a campaign event with Davis in Austin. But Van de Putte told the Tribune that while she expects her fundraising to overlap with Davis’ some, she hopes to also draw support from national groups committed to electing Latinos to statewide office.

“I think at times we will probably be at some events together,” she said. “I don’t think Leticia and Wendy are going to be holding hands at every event we’re at. That’s not a useful allocation of time management.”

Both Van de Putte and Davis stepped into a phone bank Saturday afternoon full of volunteers for Battleground Texas and the state Democratic Party. The two candidates didn’t appear together long enough for photos. Their visits only briefly overlapped.

In separate interviews with the media, Davis and Van de Putte spoke highly of each other and said they will regularly campaign jointly over the next 11 months.

“Both of us believe that the values of our Texas families who support strong public education, access to higher education and taking care of our veterans are some of the most important values that we possess as a community,” Davis said. “And so you can expect that both of us will be talking about that on the campaign trail.”

Davis said education, veterans issues and jobs will be the focus of both campaigns. “We have so much to be proud of,” Davis said, “but the Texas miracle is one that we need to keep going, and the only way we’ll keep that Texas miracle strong and hold to our promise to the people of Texas is to keep a strong education system so that we have a well-trained workforce.”

The women acknowledged the momentous nature of their run. It is the first time two women have run at the top of a major party ticket in Texas. “It is going to be rather historic,” Van de Putte said. “But there will be a great contrast I think with what most Texans will view with their future, and what the same old trite ideas that we’ve gotten from our current leadership.”

While they’re not tied together at the hip, it’s tough to see Van De Putte winning if Davis doesn’t. She will be the most reasonable and sensible of candidates, no matter who wins the GOP primary, in the general election in November 2014. Kuff has more including all the links that matter.

It’ll be a tough race, but Sen. Van de Putte is a tough lady, and I’m delighted to see her take the plunge. She and Wendy Davis combine to be the most dynamic Governor/Lt Governor pairing in many years. She’ll need to raise some money, but I see no reason why she wouldn’t be able to do that. Lord knows, she’ll have no trouble looking like the most sensible, most reasonable, and just overall the best candidate against whoever survives the howling monsoon of insanity on the Republican side. Her webpage and Facebook page are up, the hashtag #TeamLVP is at the ready, and you can see a photo gallery from the announcement event hereTexpatriateConcerned Citizens, and the Observer have more.

No matter what, I think Texas Democrats have the best group of candidates they’ve had in a while. Hopefully that, together with an increased organizing presence, Texas Democrats can surprise in 2014.


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