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Leticia Van de Putte’s Lite Guv Bid Assures One Outcome: She will be heard

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: Photo by Mary Tuma, License: N/A

Photo by Mary Tuma

State sen. Leticia Van de Putte announced her bid for Texas lieutenant governor at San Antonio College in November

He readily admits he isn’t in accord with all of Van de Putte’s beliefs (including her pro-choice stance) but said that as a Latina business owner and champion of education, she understands how to solve the problems in order to stimulate a strong Texas economy. And while he considers Dewhurst’s record moderate, the pressure of running against a right-wing conservative has unleashed an extremist side that Barrios cannot support.

“I believe I’m saying what other moderate Republicans want to say, but can’t because there is a sitting Republican lieutenant governor that has been somewhat moderate,” said Barrios. “But I’m taking a stand.”

While Abbott is certainly not the most moderate Republican around, he’s largely avoided the type of flashy anti-immigration pronouncements that cut Barrios to the quick. Of the lite guv candidates, Barrios said “sometimes, you have to police your own party.”

She Will Be Heard

According to her ally network, no matter what the outcome, Van de Putte’s brazen words on the Senate floor in June (along with Davis’ epic filibuster) have already empowered a generation of new female leaders. Garcia said as a result of Davis’ and Van de Putte’s combined actions, hundreds of women have come out of the woodwork with eagerness and interest in running in local elections. “A number of these women said they were inspired and motivated by what happened over [the] summer,” said Garcia. A small snapshot: Annie’s List candidate training sessions have more than tripled, from an average of 30 attendees to 100.

And for Texas Democrats who can’t seem to catch a break, the Davis/Van de Putte ticket bestows renewed hope that their candidates will be seen as formidable. “I don’t think we’ve had a slate of candidates, particularly at the top, especially with Wendy and Leticia, of this quality and of this level in over 25 years,” said Hinojosa, who has been in the game since Richards was first elected. “They’ve really changed the complexion of the Texas Democratic Party and helped us rebuild substantially.”

Eyeing her cell phone, which buzzes every few minutes, a busy Van de Putte managed to remain engaged in conversation. For her, the decision to run, sparked by her comments on the Senate floor, goes back to reclaiming a voice at the table.

“Women from all walks of life have told me … ‘even when we’re at the table we’re not at the table because of what you said—it’s about not listening, not being valued, not being respected,’” she said.

“My mom thinks this ‘War on Women’ is not just about women’s health, it’s really about control,” Van de Putte continued. “Now, maybe that’s the perspective of her generation but I have to believe when something violent is done against women, whether it’s sexual abuse or discrimination, it’s never about the violence, it’s about the control.”

It’s up to Texas voters in November, then, to decide who will be in control, who will be silenced and who will be given a voice.

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