State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, formally announced her decision on Nov. 23 and said her campaign and time in office will be about insuring that all Texans have access to a quality education in both the public school system and at affordable college and universities.
She said her family is no different than any other family:
"We want to be able to have our children and our grandchildren have a great public education system so they can make the best possible decisions about their future," Van De Putte said. "My focus will be a lot about the education both about the public school system and an affordable pathway to higher education."
Van De Putte said she was dismayed hearing Republican lawmakers bragging about the amount of money that was cut from public and higher education in 2011.
"Smart people have known all along when you need to cut expenses and when you need to make an investment," she said. "And looking at our leadership now, it is only about cutting."
Van De Putte said the state also needs to position itself for economic sustainability for the long haul.
"You have to make the investments in the highway systems and water infrastructure," she said. "So for me, a lot of our focus is going to be: 'How do we position Texas to remain the strongest possible, not just for the short haul, but for the next decade and next decade after that.'"
Van De Putte is also hoping to change how Texas treats gays and lesbians, especially in the workplace. She said Texas needs to focus on professional development work skills, not the fact that an employee happens to be gay or lesbian.
If Van De Putte wins the general election, she will be the first Latina to hold the office of lieutenant governor.
Davis and Van De Putte solidify top of Democratic ticket
While Van De Putte said she loves and respects state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who is running for governor in 2014, she insists that they are running completely different campaigns.
"While we’re running both as Democrats, we’re not going to be together at every single event," Van De Putte said. "We’re going to run very strong campaigns."
Shortly after her announcement in San Antonio, Van De Putte traveled back to Austin to join Davis at a campaign event at the Texas Bar Association's headquarters.
Van De Putte said getting out the Hispanic vote will be essential and she said this is the opportunity for Latinos to have a voice. She plans to travel the state visiting Latino communities, urging them to vote and addressing the issues in both Spanish and English.
Referring to her opponents on the Republican ticket, the "gang of four" candidates that feature current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, state Sen. Dan Patrick, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, Van De Putte said she doesn’t even recognize them anymore.
"They are so out of touch with mainstream Texans, who are really focused on education and their community and their family and opportunities for small businesses," Van De Putte said. "That’s not what we are hearing at all from those candidates, we’re hearing things that are so far to the extreme like repealing the 17th amendment to the U.S. Constitution."