After the 83rd Texas Legislature was gaveled in, the Senate nominated Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, to the position of senate president pro tempore.
Longtime friend and Senate colleague Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, officially named Van de Putte to hold the third highest position in the state, after Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
“As a working mother and the owner of a pharmacy, she worked so hard,” said Zaffirini to the 31 senators, Dewhurst, and others gathered with their families on the Senate floor.
“Members, she is the only member of this body who has her career chronicled in a book,” said Zaffirini.
Many of her colleagues honored the nomination by seconding the motion, and publicly acknowledging the work Van de Putte has done over the years.
“Leticia is a woman who is deeply devoted to her family,” said Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Browsville.
Van de Putte, who is in a wheelchair after her foot slipped in a pothole during a recent trip to Washington, D.C., received help getting to the podium to be sworn in and accept the job.
She gave a pep speech to the senators gathered with their families.
“Let's begin with what our goals are and then let's figure out how to accomplish them,” she said.
Later, she called out several colleagues by name as if to symbolically push their differences aside.
"Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), I know we can come together to find solutions for our transportation problems. And Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), I know we can come together to find a way to get better access for health care for Texas women. Dan (Patrick, R-Houston), I know sometimes you and I might have a different vision to make education great,” Van de Putte said.
Van de Putte was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1990 and elected to the Senate in 1999.