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Kathryn Ann "Kay" Bailey Hutchison (born July 22, 1944), is the senior United States Senator from Texas and a candidate for the 2010 Texas gubernatorial election. She is a member of the Republican Party and by most national standards considered to be Conservative. In Texas politics, Hutchison is considered a moderate alternative to Gov. Rick Perry, who she is challenging for the Republican nomination for Governor. In 2001, she was named one of the thirty most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. She is a popular votegetter and was the first female U.S. senator for Texas and the first Texas U.S. senator to receive more than four million votes in a single election.

Hutchison is the most senior female Republican senator, and fifth most senior female senator, having assumed office in June 1993 behind Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD, 1987), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA, 1992), Barbara Boxer (D-CA, Jan. 1993), and Patty Murray (D-WA, Jan. 1993).

Family life

Hutchison was born in Galvestonmarker to the former Kathryn Ella Sharp and Allan Abner Bailey, Jr., an insurance agent. She has two brothers, Allan and Frank. Hutchison grew up in La Marque, Texasmarker.

She married her first husband, John Pierce Parks, a medical student, on April 8, 1967; they divorced in 1969. She married her second husband, Ray Hutchison, in Dallas on March 16, 1978. They have two adopted children: Kathryn Bailey and Houston Taylor, both adopted in 2001. She also has two stepdaughters, Brenda and Julie, from her husband's previous marriage. Ray Hutchison is a former member of the Texas Legislature and ran an unsuccessful bid for the Texas governorship, having lost the Republican nomination in 1978 to Bill Clements of Dallas. He is a senior partner with the law firm of Vinson & Elkins.

Hutchison and her family have their primary residence in Dallas, where her children attend school. She has a second house in Virginiamarker, where she lives when the Senate is in session. In August 2009 she put her Virginia house up for sale, and her campaign stated, "She's no longer going to be in the United States Senate. She's coming home to Texas. That's why it's for sale."

She is a supporter of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation where she is an honorary board member.

Education and early career

She received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Texas at Austinmarker in 1962, where she was a cheerleader and a sister of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1967. Following her graduation from law school, she was the legal and political correspondent for KPRC-TVmarker in Houstonmarker. Hired by Ray Miller, host of the long-running The Eyes of Texas anthology series, Hutchison was the first female onscreen newswoman in Texas.

In 1972, Hutchison was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from a district in Houston. She served until 1976. She was vice-chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1976 to 1978. She was a candidate for election to the United States House of Representatives in 1982 for the Dallasmarker-based 3rd District, but was defeated in the primary by Steve Bartlett. She temporarily left politics and became a bank executive and businesswoman.

1993 Senate special election

Hutchison was elected Texas State Treasurer in 1990 and served until June 1993 when she ran against Senator Bob Krueger for the right to complete the last two years of Lloyd Bentsen's term. Bentsen had resigned in January 1993 to become Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration. Krueger had been appointed by Texas Governor Ann Willis Richards to fill the seat until a replacement was elected.

A field of 24 candidates sought to fill Bentsen's unexpired term, in the May 1993 special election. The top two vote-getters were Hutchison (593,338, or 29 percent) and Krueger (593,239, also 29 percent). Two conservative Republican congressmen, Joe Barton of Dallasmarker (284,135 or 13.9 percent) and Jack Fields of Houstonmarker (277,560, or 13.6 percent) split pro-life voters. Their combined vote was 561,695, still a third-place finish. A fifth candidate, Democrat Richard W. Fisher, polled 165,564 votes (8.1 percent); the remaining candidates had about 6 percent combined.

During the campaign Krueger charged that Hutchison was a "country club Republican" and insensitive to the feelings of minorities. In January, the Houston Chronicle reported that both Hutchison and Fields had promised to serve a maximum of two six-year terms in the Senate as part of her support for term limit legislation for members of Congress. In April, the Dallas Morning News reported that Hutchison had repeated her pledge to serve only two terms in the U.S. Senate, if elected, and had also said term limits ought to cover all senators, including Senator Phil Gramm (Republican), who had been elected in 1984 and re-elected in 1990. (He would stay in the Senate until 2002.) The term-limits legislation never passed, and Hutchison has said that she would not leave the Senate in the absence of such legislation, because doing so would unilaterally hurt Texas at the expense of other states in the seniority-driven institution.

After the initial voting, most of the Barton and Fields voters switched to Hutchison, who won the runoff, 1,188,716 (67.3 percent) to 576,538 (32.7 percent). Lower turnout in the runoff resulted in a decrease in Krueger's vote total, by 17,000. Hutchison became the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate.

Following Hutchison's election in 1993, Texas has had two sitting Republican U.S. senators.

1993–1994 prosecution

Shortly after the special election victory, Travis Countymarker authorities, led by Democratic district attorney Ronnie Earle, raided Hutchison's offices at the State Treasury looking for proof of allegations that Hutchison used state equipment and employees on state time to help with her campaign. She was indicted by a grand jury in September 1993 for official misconduct and records tampering.

The case against Hutchison was heard before State District Judge John Onion in February, 1994. During pre-trial proceedings, the judge announced that he would make no rulings on the admissibility of evidence prior to the trial. The evidence was to include data from tapes maintained by Treasury employees. Hutchison had allegedly given instructions that the data be deleted from the department's computers (during the course of the trial, the data — enclosed in a pizza box — were turned over to the Travis County DA's office).

This was a ruling DA Earle considered critical. Earle felt that it was a technique designed to torpedo his case, because Onion could rule mid-trial that certain important evidence was inadmissible under the Texas Rules of Evidence.

Following Onion's ruling, Earle declined to proceed with his case. Though he had intended to continue the case later, Onion declined to give Earle that opportunity. The judge instead swore in a jury and immediately ordered the panel to acquit Hutchison when no evidence had been presented to them by Earle. The acquittal barred any future prosecution of Hutchison. That year, Earle granted reporters access to the files he had amassed to make his case against Hutchison.

1994 and 2000 Senate elections

In 1994, the election for her first full term, Hutchison received 2,604,281 votes (60.8 percent) to 1,639,615 votes (38.3 percent) cast for Democrat Richard W. Fisher, the son-in-law of the late Republican Congressman James M. Collins, who had also run in the special election the year before.

In 2000 she defeated Democrat Gene Kelly, with 4,082,091 (65 percent) to 2,030,315 (32.2 percent). She carried 237 of the 254 counties, including one of the most Democratic counties, Webb County (Laredomarker). This was the only time since the early 1900s that Webb County had supported a Republican candidate for any office on a partisan ballot. More than four million Texans voted for Hutchison that year — still the record highest number of actual votes ever cast in Texas for a non-presidential candidate (George W. Bush received 4,526,917 votes in Texas in the 2004 election).

2006 Senate election

Speculation began in 2004 that Hutchison would run for Governor of Texas in 2006, challenging current Governor Rick Perry in the Republican primary. However, on June 17, 2005, Hutchison announced that she would seek reelection to the Senate instead, reneging on an earlier promise to a two-term limit. Many political analysts speculated that she did not believe she could defeat Perry in the GOP primary because of his popularity among Christian conservatives, while her Senate seat was unlikely to face a serious threat.

Hutchison's Democratic opponent in the November 2006 general election was former Houstonmarker attorney and mediator Barbara Ann Radnofsky (born July 8, 1956), who had not previously run for public office. Radnofsky received 44 percent of the vote in the primary and won a runoff election against Gene Kelly with 60 percent of the vote. Kelly had been the unsuccessful Democratic nominee against Hutchison in 2000. Libertarian Scott Lanier Jameson (born July 1, 1966), a real estate consultant from Planomarker, also ran for the seat.

Radnofsky faced an uphill battle in a state that has not elected a Democrat statewide since 1994, as George W. Bush's landslide reelection as governor in 1998 had helped carry Republicans into all the other statewide offices. In the August 2006 Rasmussen poll, Hutchison led her opponent by 30 percentage points — 61 to 31. The Survey USA Poll, which is not a head-to-head matchup, but only lists approval ratings of incumbents, found Hutchison with a 61 percent approval rating. The Zogby poll, in contrast, showed a closer result, but still showed Hutchison with a 17.3 percent lead — the highest of any incumbent Republican Zogby tracks. The authors stated "...Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who got 65 percent of the vote in 2000, is a safe bet to win a third term."

On election night 2006, Hutchison won re-election to another term, winning 2,661,789 votes (61.7%). Radnofsky won 1,555,202 votes (36.04%). Radnofsky only won in base Democratic areas, carrying only border counties with strong Hispanic majorities, such as El Pasomarker and Webbmarker (Laredomarker) and in Travis Countymarker (Austinmarker). Hutchison won everything else, having won majorities in 236 of the state's 254 counties.

2010 gubernatorial election

On August 17, 2009, Senator Hutchison formally announced that she was a Republican candidate for Governor of Texas. She faces a primary battle against incumbent Rick Perry and Wharton Countymarker Republican Party chair Debra Medina.

Political views

Hutchison serves on the following Senate committees: Appropriations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Rules and Administration; Veterans' Affairs. During her time in the Senate, Hutchison has been a strong supporter of NASAmarker.

Hutchison speaking.
In June 2000, Hutchison and her Senate colleagues coauthored Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate. In 2004, her book, American Heroines: The Spirited Women Who Shaped Our Country, was published.

From 2001 to 2007, Hutchison served as Chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference (caucus), making her the fifth-ranking Republican in the Senate behind Majority Leader Bill Frist, Majority Whip Mitch McConnell and conference chairman Rick Santorum, and Policy Chairman Jon Kyl. In 2007, Hutchison succeeded Jon Kyl as the Policy Chair for Senate Republicans, the fourth ranking leadership position in the Republican caucus behind Minority Leader McConnell, Minority Whip, and conference chairman Kyl.

The National Journal ranked Hutchison as follows in its 2004 rankings, which are based on various key votes relating to economic policy, social policy, and foreign policy: "Economic: 26% Liberal, 73% Conservative; Social: 38% Liberal, 60% Conservative; Foreign: 0% Liberal, 67% Conservative. Although a loyal Conservative Republican she has been known to cross over to the other side on a few issues. She is more likely to do this than either Phil Gramm or his successor John Cornyn." A poll that was released on June 19, 2007, shows that Hutchison has an approval rating of 58%, with 34% disapproving.

Abortion positions

Hutchison supports the legality of abortion but has frequently voted for restricting abortion. Hutchison has often been rated highly by pro-life organizations receiving a 75% rating from the National Right to Life Committee. She is opposed to taxpayer-funded abortion and supports restrictions such as parental notification and making it illegal to transport a minor across state lines in order to circumvent parental notification laws. She also believes that the decision of the United States Supreme Courtmarker in Roe v. Wade was appropriate and should not be overturned, but is opposed to the Freedom of Choice Act because it would restrict the right of states to impose restrictions on abortion. In the past years NARAL has given her ratings of 0%, 7%, 20%, and 0%, indicating that her voting record mostly favored enacting proposed abortion restrictions. Despite this, many pro-life activists consider Hutchison to be pro-choice because of her basic support of Roe v. Wade.

She has served on the Advisory Board of The Wish List (Women in the Senate and House) a Political Action Committee, which contributes to pro-choice female Republican candidates for Congress. She is no longer on the board and the PAC did not endorse her in 2006.

While in the Texas House of Representatives (1973 to 1977), Hutchison worked, along with Sarah Weddington (the attorney who won the Roe v. Wade case), to protect rape victims from having their names published. She supports some abortion rights, but does not believe taxpayers should fund abortions. Hutchison has also endorsed parental notification laws and in 2006 sponsored legislation to prevent minors from legally being transported across state lines to circumvent such laws.

Pistol ban controversy

Hutchison proposed the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act," which drew 31 cosponsors in the United States Senate, while drawing 157 cosponsors from the House. This bill would have protected gun rights of DC citizens by dismantling the handgun bans the city had had for thirty years. DC's law states that one may possess a rifle or shotgun as long as they are disassembled and inoperative, but not pistols. The law was recently struck down in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia v. Heller.


Hutchison is a strong supporter of single-sex education in public schools. In 2001, she worked with Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to write provisions into the No Child Left Behind Act (specifically sections 5131.a.23 and 5131c) authorizing single-sex education in public schools. Section 5131c required the Department of Education to write new regulations facilitating single-sex classrooms; this provision led to the publication of new regulations by the Department of Education in 2006 which do in fact facilitate single-sex education in public schools. She is a supporter of the U.S. Public Service Academy.

Environmental record

In 2006, Hutchison received more campaign contributions from members of large oil and gas corporations than any other member of Congress. In 2005, Hutchison voted against prohibiting oil leasing in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refugemarker, and has supported legislation promoting drilling in the refuge in 2002 and 2003. In 2005 she also voted against including oil and gas smokestacks in the Environmental Protection Agency's mercury regulations. In 1999, she voted to remove funding for renewable and solar energy, although she has more recently stated she supports the development of alternative energy sources. According to the League of Conservation Voters environmental scorecard, Hutchison received a rating of zero — the lowest possible score — in the 104th Congress. However, they have since upgraded her to a grade of 18% in the 110th Congress

Border issues

Senator Hutchison supports local consultation between communities along the border and the Department of Homeland Securitymarker to determine what type of fencing and security measures make sense in particular areas based on what those officials see on the ground. She has stated that bureaucrats in Washington are hardly positioned to determine the most effective measures, which areas of the border are experiencing the most significant problems, and how construction of the fence will impact local communities.

Term limits

Senator Hutchison has proposed limiting Texas governors to two four-year terms.

Earmarks and Appropriations

Senator Hutchison supports the practice of earmarking as a way to bring Federal dollars to her constituents. Senator Hutchison, through her assignment on the Senate's appropriations committee, has been influential in directing Federal funds to projects in her district. In FY 2008 and FY 2009, Hutchison sponsored or co-sponsored 281 earmarks totaling almost $500 million. In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman, Hutchison expressed her pride in the practice as a way to, "garner Texans' fair share of their tax dollars."

Senator Hutchison's earmarks and appropriations have been criticized as pork barrel projects or pet projects by the non-partisan government watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste. CAGW recognized Hutchison's efforts by naming her "Porker of the Month" in October 2009, based on her extensive legislative history, in addition to her request for 149 such pork projects worth $1.6 billion in FY 2010.


In July 2008, Senator Hutchison opposed the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by voting in opposition to H.R. 3221, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

Senator Hutchison voted in support of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008., which authorized the creation of the TARP bank bailout.

In December 2008, Senator Hutchison voted to oppose the bailout of the GM and Chrysler. Despite her opposition, the President used an initial amount of $17.4 billion from the Troubled Assets Relief Program to bail out the auto industry.

Political future

On August 17, 2009, Hutchison officially announced her long-anticipated candidacy for Governor of Texas, to run in the 2010 Texas gubernatorial election against Republican incumbent Rick Perry, among others. She has previously announced her intention to resign her Senate post sometime during the autumn of 2009.

State Republican Chairman Cathie Adams of Dallas, who supports Perry but as chairman remain neutral in the primary, has called upon Hutchison to clarify when she will vacate the Senate so that other Republican candidates can make preparation for their races.

On November 13, 2009, Hutchison announced that she would not resign from the Senate seat until after the March primary.

Committee assignments


  1. Ancestry of Kay Bailey Hutchison
  4. Manu Raju, "Hutchison pressured to stay in Senate", Politico, January 15, 2009.
  6. MMRF Honorary Board
  8. Senator Trails in Texas, and Slugs Alone New York Times 1993-06-03
  14. NRLC Lifetime Rating per and Project Vote Smart.
  15. U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 108th Congress - 1st Session, On the Amendment (Harkin Amdt. No. 260 ).
  20. Big Oil's 10 favorite members of Congress - MSN Money
  21. Public Theology: Senate Vote on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  22. Kay Bailey Hutchison on the Issues
  23. Rice University | News & Media
  24. Environmental Zeroes and Heroes of the 104th Congress

External links


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