After months of speculation, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte formally announced Saturday that she is running for lieutenant governor. In a firey speech in San Antonio, Van de Putte told a crowd of more than 500 supporters, “Texas families deserve better than they’ve been getting. Texas can do better than this. And that’s why I announce that I’ll ask the people of Texas to hire me to be your next lieutenant governor.”

Van de Putte has been mulling the decision for months, citing the need to reflect on the need to weigh the challenges of a statewide campaign with her family. The Van de Puttes suffered several tragedies this year, including the death of the Senator’s father, infant grandson and father-in-law.

In her announcement Saturday, Van de Putte focused on women’s rights, transportation, immigration issues and the need for a better public education system for the state’s poorest residents. She did not shy away from taking direct aim at the crowded field of Republican candidates.

“While they’ve bickered amongst themselves, funding for neighborhood public schools has been cut by billions. Class sizes have swelled, and too often we’re losing our best teachers,” she said. “Texas is investing less in our school children than almost any other state. It’s by no coincidence that we’re last in the nation in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma.”

The senator kept her hispanic heritage and her family front and center during Saturday’s remarks, often times speaking to supporters in Spanish. The refain “Mama’s not happy” garnered loud cheers from the crowd.

Van de Putte faces one Democratic challenger in the 2014 primary. Maria Luisa Alvarado, who was the party’s nominee in the last election, announced her candidacy earlier this month. Should Van de Putte win the nomination this time around, she faces one of four Republican challengers. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples are all vying for the GOP nomination.