This article originally appeared on MSNBC.com
A mother of six could be the next lieutenant governor in Texas.
Holding elected office was the last thing on Leticia Van de Putte’s mind when the opportunity unexpectedly presented itself. She had six children—all under the age of 10—and was running two small businesses in 1990 when a state legislative seat became vacant in a heavily Hispanic, lower middle class district in the heart of San Antonio. A quirk in Texas law left it up to the party precinct chairs to select the legislator to fill the seat.
Five men were running and after interviewing all of them, Van de Putte—who was one of the precinct chairs—was unsatisfied. Her husband nudged her to consider it. Her oldest child was more blunt: “There aren’t enough mommies there.”
Two decades later, Van de Putte, who is a pharmacist, found herself right back where she started, staring at an all-male slate. The positions being pushed by the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor left her angered and dismayed. Each one of them has pledged to end the Texas DREAM Act —a bill Van de Putte authored. They also promise to curtail what few options remain for access to abortion in Texas, to mandate the teaching of creationism in schools and to change the 17th amendment which established the direct election of U.S. senators by popular vote. More traditional pro-business policies were nowhere to be found.
Van de Putte decided to seek the lieutenant governorship. As she explained in her announcement speech: “mama’s not happy.” Van de Putte is running alongside state senator Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for Texas governor. The two women will square off against an all-male Republican ticket. Below is an interview with Van de Putte, condensed for space and clarity.
Q: How does a ticket with two Democratic women at the top appeal to Texas voters?
I guess we’re going to find out. I think that there is a lot of synergy but that we both happen to be females, should that be the news? We just happen to be two gals. And the state has a history of electing women—(former Democratic governor) Ann Richards, and (former Republican senator) Kay Bailey Hutchison. There was a time when all of the major cities were headed by women. There were eight mayors in the cities in the 1990s – Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Corpus Christi. They were all women and the state didn’t fall apart.
Q: Do you consider yourself pro-choice? Continue Reading