As the 2014 campaign season begins to pick up steam, it's becoming clear which candidates hold the momentum. Some are fully engaged in general election fights, like Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott in the Governors' race, while others like Dan Patrick and David Dewhurst are forced to vie for the GOP nomination in the upcoming Primary run-offs. The Patrick- Dewhurst brawl has already gotten particularly ugly.
However, one candidate for Lieutenant Governor sees the GOP run-off as a golden opportunity... State Senator Leticia Van de Putte. Though she's been a known fixture in Austin since the Ann Richards administration, Senator Van de Putte came to international prominence last June alongside Wendy Davis, causing a roar in the Senate chamber when she was disrespected by her male colleagues.
But make no mistake... Senator Van de Putte is not taking her cues from Davis. She is running her own campaign, and talking about the issues that matter to Texans as she sees them. The increased action on the GOP side is certainly an advantage, but in some ways, so is the fact that the Davis- Abbott battle is stealing the spotlight. As a result of these factors, Van de Putte is quietly building a movement for her campaign, and may have a better shot at victory than her more famous Gubernatorial counterpart. The Senator has tackled the tough issues, and is a strong supporter of common-sense reforms, public investment, and providing healthcare for all Texans.
And this week, Leticia Van de Putte embarked on a bus tour across the state of Texas, giving voters a dose of old-fashioned shoe leather politics. Here's more about the tour from Van de Putte's op-ed in the Burnt Orange Report...
Campaigning statewide requires listening to the people in all of these areas, learning what they expect of government, and then unifying them all under the Lone Star flag so that we may move forward together as a single state.Those relationships will be key to sway voters if the Senator is to make history in the Lone Star State. April is a critical time for the Van de Putte campaign... a time to get the word out, meet voters and make sure that Texans know there is a credible alternative GOP antics. Given that she's kicking off the month with a statewide, press-generating bus tour, she's off to a great start.
And when I say unify, I don't just mean Democrats or those who usually agree with me. I mean all the people of Texas. During my 30 years as a pharmacist and legislator, I've learned that to really serve people, first you listen - then you talk. That's why I've been able to work with Republicans, Independents and Democrats to solve problems. I've worked with Fortune 500 executives, community activists, doctors and nurses, firefighters and financial executives, all sharing the same goal - keeping Texas the best place to live in the country. And I am proud to say I've developed friendships and working relationships with all of them.
During her swing through Houston, I was able to catch her at a meet-up with area college Democrats. As everyone knows, seeing a candidate on TV is one thing, but it cannot replace a face-to-face interaction. Take it from me... there is nothing fake or insincere about Leticia Van de Putte. She has that unique personality that is equal parts charisma, commanding knowledge and heart. Though I spent barely an hour with her, I felt like I have known her my entire life, and most importantly, that she is dedicated to ALL Texans... not just those with big pocketbooks.
As a business owner, pharmacist, mother of 6, and experienced legislator, Van de Putte brings a wealth of unique experience that her opponent, whomever it is, simply cannot match. It just may be the prescription for victory in November.