SAN ANTONIO — State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, said she plans to reform educational policy, veteran services and other issues at a primary election party at Mi Tierra Café and Panaderia in San Antonio on Tuesday night.
In the general election, Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, will face either state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, or Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Neither Patrick nor Dewhurst reached the 50 percent mark in the Republican lieutenant governor primary. The two will participate in a run-off election May 27.
Van de Putte said her mission was to ensure a brighter future for Texas families, especially women and veterans, by focusing on issues such as road repair and transportation reform, water rights and education.
"It's about the kids, it's about my grandkids, and the workforce. It's about the next generation,” Van de Putte said.
Van de Putte said her focus on education and equality set her apart from Republican candidates.
“I can tell you that what the other side has to offer and what [I have] to offer are two very different things,” Van de Putte said. “Republicans aren’t focusing on any of [the important issues]. Their idea of an educational system is to have kids sit at computers all day long with virtual teachers.”
Van de Putte drew on her 22-year history in the Texas Legislature to emphasize that Texas deserves a better future than the one it’s been getting.
“Texas deserves a vision,” Van de Putte said. “The economy in Texas is struggling. We need to create new jobs, and while we’re working on that, Republicans are shoving the roads to local taxpayers and cutting healthcare."
Campaign volunteer Mark Trevino said he relates to Van de Putte’s emphasis on family values and women’s rights.
“Van de Putte has such a strong focus on women’s issues,” Trevino said. “It’s easy for a dad like me, with two daughters, to support her.”
Mary Ellen Velliz, who works with the Bexar County Young Democrats, said she supported Van de Putte because of her inclusive focus.
“I was born and raised in San Antonio, so for me, Van De Putte is the candidate for everyone,” Velliz said. “She not only stands for women or Latinos, but for all races.”
Businessman Phillip Ripper said he agreed that Van de Putte should emphasize equality.
“My sister’s a lesbian, and I’d like to see her get married in Texas one day,” Ripper said. “Van de Putte is a strong female candidate, and I’d like to see what she can do in terms of improving equality.”
Van de Putte rose to national prominence after an 11-hour filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, last June. Davis won the nomination to be the Democratic candidate for governor Tuesday night. When state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-San Antonio, called a third point of order on Davis to effectively end the filibuster, Van de Putte, who had traveled to the capitol building directly from her father’s funeral, protested the move.
“At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” Van de Putte said.
Van de Putte stressed that although the primaries are over, her work is just beginning.
"Today is only the beginning of the pathway," Van de Putte said. "I don't know who I'll face yet, but we'll need your help in November.”