ROCKWALL – By J.J. Smith. CampaigningÂ to become Texas’ next Governor in 2010,Â current four-term U.S. Senator Kay Bailey HutchisonÂ told a crowd ofÂ about 120 people atÂ a Rockwall CountyÂ Republican Women’s Club luncheon yesterday that she is running for the position because she sees too many problems in Texas and now believes she canÂ do more good for the Lone Star State,Â the Republican PartyÂ and the nation in Austin than in Washington D.C.
She explained that she and her husband â€“ who was born in Rockwall – have worked too long and hard to help build the Republican Party and help make Texas the best state in the nation to let either deteriorate and now believes she is the right person to restore the party and the state to the prominence they once had.
“I believe I can do more here in Texas than in Washington D.C.” she explained. “If I wanted the easy way out, I would stay in the Senate. But I don’t.”
The four-term Senator explained that she doesn’t want to split the Republican Party in Texas, as some critics have suggested, but wants to rejuvenate and rebuild it toÂ help ensureÂ moreÂ Republicans are elected to local, state and federal offices and prevent Democrats from seizing control of the state.
She said she fears if Gov. Rick Perry is re-elected, Democrats will become even more successful than they have been, explaining that there are only two more Republicans in the Texas House now than Democrats, compared to a few years agoÂ when there were 88 Republicans and 76 Democrats.
“We cannot lose leadership of this state. If Texas goes Democrat, we cannot elect a Republican president. You cannot win the presidency without Texas,” she said.Â â€œWe must rebuild the Republican Party to keep Texas Republican.”
She explained initially she didnâ€™t plan to run against Gov. Perry and that she had already told people she was going to run when he surprised her and announced he was going to run again after already being in office for 10 years.
â€œAfter 10 years, thatâ€™s too much power for one person,â€ she said.
Hutchison said that in Texas currently property and business taxes are too high, high school education rates too low, the nursing shortage too critical, the transportation system not good enough.
If electedÂ Governor, she said she will lead the fight toÂ reduce property taxes, which she said are the highest in the nation.
â€œIâ€™m very concerned about the future. Itâ€™s time for the Governor to take the lead for lowering taxes.â€
She willÂ work hard toÂ raise high school graduation rates in Texas, which she saidÂ are the lowest in the nation.
“Every child should be computer literate,” she added, calling it the first step to improving educations for Texas students.
She cited the lack of community college training programs as leading to the critical nursing shortage and called for an increase in such programs.
She also vowed to reform the transportation system in the Lone Star State – stating that TXDOT has become too powerful – by appointing more local community leaders to TXDOT boards to plan for better freeways and fewer toll roads, especially trying to convert older, already paid for highways as toll roads.
“We can do better and I promise as Governor to reformÂ our transportation system.”
To begin her speech, Hutchinson criticized Democrats in Washington for refusing to allow their proposed health care bills to be placed on the Internet for 72 hours for all citizens to read.
â€œThe government health care takeover is one of the worst things Iâ€™ve seen in my time in the Senate. Iâ€™m going to do every last thing I can do to stop the government takeover of our heath care system.â€
She explained if the government does take over, it will drive insurance companies out of business.
â€œPrivate insurance companies wonâ€™t be able to compete with government.â€
She added that the Democrats do plan to pass such a bill by voting along party lines, and that once passed, every family which doesnâ€™t purchase health insurance will be forced to pay a $1500 penalty.
She said the good news is that the legislation wouldnâ€™t begin until 2013, but not coincidentally until after the 2012 presidential election.
â€œThe full impact of the legislation wonâ€™t be felt until after President Obama is re-elected and the Democrats know that.â€
Hutchison first ran for the Texas legislature in 1972, after working as a cub reporter in the US House of Representatives and meeting Congressman Ralph Hall from Rockwall, who introduced her at the luncheon.
In 1993, Texans elected Hutchison to theÂ US Senate in a special election, making her the firstÂ and only woman ever elected as a senator from Texas. One year later, she was re-elected to a full six-year term. In 2000, she received more votes for her re-election to a second full term than any other statewide candidate had ever received. Again in 2006, she was again re-elected by an overwhelming margin.
Sen. Hutchison is the Senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Additionally, she serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and the Committee on Rules and Administration.
In the 110th Congress, Sen. Hutchison served as the Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. Sen. Hutchison is a member of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly (RNHA) National Advisory Committee, and she is Chairman of the West Point Board of Visitors.