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Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas Won’t Seek Third Term in 2012

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Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has served three terms in the Senate, is hanging up her political hat next year and returning to Texas.

“I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2012,” she wrote in a letter to supporters that was posted on Facebook. “That should give the people of Texas ample time to consider who my successor will be.”
She added: “When my current term is up, I will have served Texas for 19 years in the United States Senate. I intended to leave this office long before now, but I was persuaded to continue in order to avoid disadvantage to our state. The last two years have been particularly difficult, especially for my family, but I felt it would be wrong to leave the Senate during such a critical period.”
Hutchison and her husband, Ray Hutchison, a bond attorney in Dallas, adopted two children, Kathryn Bailey and Houston Taylor in 2001. She was 58 at the time. Her husband, a former member of the Texas legislature who lost a campaign for governor in 1978, was 68.

Though the adoptions created a mild controversy about older parents adopting children, Hutchison once referred to the move as “just a dream come true for us.”

Hutchison, the most senior female currently serving in the U.S. Senate, has had a storied political career in Texas state politics and Washington.

In 1993, she became the first — and so far the only — woman to represent Texas in the Senate when she won a special election after Lloyd Bentsen resigned to become secretary of the treasury in the Clinton Administration. At the time, she was serving as state treasurer.

The next year, she won a full six-year term. In 2000, she was the first Texas U.S. senator to receive more than 4 million votes in a single election.

In 2010, Hutchison ran against Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a moderate alternative. But her pro-choice position became fodder for Perry. Although she had endorsements from former President George H.W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, Hutchison lost to Perry 31 percent to 53 percent in the Republican primary.

Hutchison is one of the Republican Party’s brightest stars, often appearing on political talk shows to press the GOP agenda. Still, she broke ranks during the health care debate and opposed an attempt to stall the bill in the Senate.

But on most issues, she stands by her party. Just last month, she said she would not support the DREAM Act and voted against the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

In 2006, she received more campaign contributions from members of large oil and gas corporations than any other member of Congress. Just this week, in a press release from her office, she “cautioned against putting American energy jobs at risk through new layers of bureaucracy recommended in the National Oil Spill Commission’s report on the BP oil spill.”

Hutchison has been a fierce advocate for NASA, Amtrak, military families and homeland security. She serves as the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

During her political career, Hutchison has had a series of strange threats and stalkers. A man who volunteered on her first state legislative race in 1972 asked her to marry him. She said no, and he broke into her campaign office, driving an ice pick through a campaign poster with her image. The man resurfaced periodically in her life.

In 1996, Hutchison led efforts for a new federal anti-stalking law. Former President Bill Clinton called her “a victim of stalking who fought back.”

Her stalker died in 2002, but six years later, another entered Hutchison’s life, referring to her children’s adoption in disturbing phone messages. He was later indicted and charged with third-degree felony stalking.

Hints have been floating that Hutchison would not seek re-election. In August 2009, she put her 4,300-square-foot home in Virginia up for sale. At the time, an aide said, “She’s coming home to Texas. That’s why it’s for sale.”

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Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 3:06 am

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