Sen. Van de Putte

Republicans hold double digit lead in statewide races

Republican Greg Abbott continues to hold a double digit lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the race for Texas Governor, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

The poll puts Abbott at 51 percent, to Davis’ 37 percent. Those numbers are similar to the last PPP poll, conducted in November.
In fact, Republicans hold a double digit lead in every statewide 2014 race.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte trails regardless of who her potential Republican opponent might be. Senator Dan Patrick, who came out ahead in the Republican primary, leads Van de Putte by a 16 point margin. A match-up with Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst puts Van de Putte 18 points behind.

Van de Putte’s Republican opponent will be determined in the May 27 runoff election.

 

Capital Tonight: One-on-one with Sen. Van de Putte

For the first time in its history, Texas could see two women running the state. Sens. Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte have both announced that they’re making a bid for statewide office. It’s a move Democrats hope will help them make their case to more women voters, but Republicans say the values of their party are still very much aligned with those of Texas women.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how the two major parties are working to make their case to women, plus we sat down with Sen. Van de Putte to talk more about her bid for lieutenant governor.

ON THE AGENDA

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has chosen David Reisman as its new chief compliance officer. Reisman currently heads up the Texas Ethics Commission, which enforces campaign finance laws.

The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to talk about that development and more.

ELECTRIC TENSION

The Public Utility Commission is drawing fire from members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee after setting up a move toward a different form of payment for electricity providers, known as capacity payments. They say the new system would encourage private generators to build up more resources to guard against blackouts, but the Senate committee’s chairman, Sen. Troy Fraser, says the current system is already designed to meet demand, and that the commission is simply overstepping its authority.

Davis praises Van de Putte’s work with veterans in statement of support

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s announcement made history in Texas, Saturday. For the first time two women will lead a major party’s ticket for the state’s top offices.

Sen. Wendy Davis, who is running for governor, issued a statement of support following Saturday’s announcement.

“Sen. Van de Putte’s dedication to representing the interests of all Texans makes her an outstanding choice for Lieutenant Governor. She has delivered for our veterans and small businesses, and like many Texans, I’m excited about her announcement.“ 

While the two are running separately, it is likely we will see them on the campaign trail together often, starting today. Davis and Van de Putte will appear together in Austin, this evening.

Van de Putte releases campaign announcement details

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte will make her future political plans known at an event in San Antonio, Sat. Nov. 23. It is widely assumed she will announce a run for lieutenant governor.

Van de Putte has said she is considering a run for higher office, but struggled with the decision in the wake of several deaths in her family. “Our infant grandson in May, and my dad, and just less than a month ago, my mother-in-law. And so a statewide race is very grueling, and very contentious, and unfortunately very toxic,” she said in an October interview. ”So I want to serve my state and I love being in the Texas Senate, but I really have to look at, first, my family, and if we would be up to this, and we’re really taking in a lot of data and looking at it if it’s possible.”

In an email to her supporters today, Van de Putte said:

“I understand that the future prosperity of Texas families is dependent upon the path we choose to take today. So after much prayer, reflection and discussion with my family and friends, I’m ready to let you, my grassroots supporters, know what is next for me.”

That announcement is scheduled next Saturday, at San Antonio College. If Van de Putte does decide to run, she will be the second Democrat to join the race. She will face Maria Luisa Alvarado in a primary election.

Capital Tonight: Sen. Van De Putte speaks up

From the south steps to the halls of the Capitol, thousands got involved in Texas politics this week. Jay Root with the Texas Tribune, Ben Philpott with KUT’s “Agenda Texas,” and Terrence Stutz with The Dallas Morning News joined us to talk about the week that was.

Although Sen. Wendy Davis was in the spotlight for her filibuster last week, another lawmaker is also getting credit for stirring the gallery with her comments from the floor. We sat down with Sen. Leticia Van de Putte for a one-on-one interview.

Bills address veterans’ tuition program concerns

Two bills have been filed to address concerns raised by some Texas universities over the expense of the state’s veteran higher education financial aid program known as Hazlewood.

State Rep. Chris Turner (D-San Antonio) and state Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) filed identical measures which would allow schools to use “B-On-Time” funds that are currently not utilized to offset Hazlewood and Hazlewood Legacy tuition exemptions.

“Hazlewood represents a solemn promise from the state of Texas to our veterans and their families and our legislation is aimed at keeping that promise,” Turner said.  “By allowing our state’s colleges and universities to utilize unused B-On-Time funds that are currently being transferred back to the state to instead offset Hazlewood costs, we will strengthen our veterans benefits and help our colleges and universities.” 

“The first and foremost consideration is that we help the 1 percent who defend our freedoms and have earned their Hazlewood benefits,” Van de Putte said. “It makes sense to give schools the flexibility to utilize monies already appropriated for their campuses before looking at additional state dollars. This bill will help our universities do the right thing for our veterans and their families.”

The two pieces of legislation would allow state institutions to retain unused tuition funds designated for the “B-On-Time” loan program. HB 3265 and SB 1543 would allow leftover funds to stay with the institution at which they were collected, rather than the current practice of sending that money to other schools.