On Friday, Nov. 13, following her remarks to the Texas Federation of Republican Women Convention, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison issued the following statement for exclusive distribution by The Texas Observer. (Editor’s note: Italicized phrases are identical to the senator’s comments to the Republican women, highlighting her remarkable consistency.)
“We stand today at a historic crossroads in Texas history. I am proud to have fought for policies that keep us strong. You can trust me to continue fighting. Seriously. When have I wavered?
“Last weekend a bill passed out of the House, taking us one perilous step closer to a government takeover of nearly-one third of our economy. The Democrats are going to pull out every stop to socialize American medicine. But the health-care interests from whom I have received $1.4 million over the past five years are not going to take this lying down. And neither am I.
“From my omnipotent position as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, I am uniquely positioned to singlehandedly defeat this Soviet-style menace. Without my leadership, there is a grave danger that many of the one-quarter of Texans without health insurance will be covered in just a few years’ time.
“I cannot walk away while this fight is being fought by our fellow Republicans. I must stay and fight with them. Without me, democracy as we know it collapses. Earth darkens. Night reigns. That is why my colleagues have repeatedly begged and pleaded with me: ‘Kay, you are our only hope. You must not abandon the fight.’
“This is why I will not leave the Senate before the end of the year. I have said before that I intended to resign this fall after the government takeover of healthcare is defeated. While it is possible that I may have specifically promised to step down by October or November, I did not give an exact date for resignation.
“As you can clearly see, I am more determined than ever to become the 48th governor of our great state. But I must put what’s best for my campaign aside and do what is best for Texas. For Aetna. For Big Oil. And for my loyal husband, Ray, who has profited so handsomely from the offices to which you have elected me.
“While I am announcing that I will not leave the Senate before the end of the year, I am also saying: this will keep me in the Senate past the primary election. But that is a difference without a distinction. What is half a year between stalwart friends? Remember: Health care looms. And cap-and-trade threatens to somewhat clean up the air and water of Texas.
“These issues are too important to leave the fight to a newly appointed freshman senator. When the Democrats changed the timetable, I imagined how it would be for Texas to be represented by an interim appointee. One who doesn’t yet know the Senate during the biggest fight I have seen in my time. Although I want to be home, I know in my heart I could not leave.
“Will my critics attack me for this decision? Probably. Is this a change of plans? Yes. And I will be honest. It is certainly not my preference. But it is the right thing to do for Texas.
“Let me also be crystal clear about one thing. I will be resigning this Senate seat. For all of the good Republicans out there who plan on running for my seat next year, make no mistake. This is going to happen. It just isn’t going to happen until after health care reform and cap and trade are finished. And that will be after the primary election.
“As governor, you can trust that I will work to keep taxes low. Just as I have in the United States Senate, where I was named ‘Porker of the Month’ for my massive earmarks.
“As governor, you can trust that I will officially kill the Trans-Texas Corridor once and for all. As your Senator, I voted for the voted for the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act which expanded allowed states greater flexibility to use tolls to finance highway-building. This principled stand made it possible for Governor Perry to advance his Trans-Texas Corridor plans. Which I then fought. And will continue to fight. For Texas.
“And as you know, my friends, any woman can multi-task and that is exactly what I am going to do. I will not give my full attention to the Senate. I will not give my full energy to the campaign for governor. I will, to put it another way, fight for Texas.
“And this is why I am running for governor, because I know the real challenges facing our state cannot be fixed from Washington. Therefore, I will stay in Washington. Because I believe now more than ever that we need a serious leader who will put Texas first.”