10 Things You Didn't Know About Kay Bailey Hutchison

The Texas senator is potential running mate for John McCain.

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1. Kathryn Ann Bailey was born July 22, 1943 in Galveston, Texas, and grew up in La Marque, a nearby suburb. Hutchison has said that she got her strong work ethic from her father, Allan, who was in real estate and often worked seven days a week.

2. Hutchison's family has a long history in Texas. Her great-great-grandfather, Charles S. Taylor, signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Taylor's law partner was Thomas Rusk, who became the first senator from Texas.

3. In high school, Kay Bailey was a popular—and busy—student. She did well in her classes and was voted the prom queen and queen of her senior class. She was also a cheerleader, and she studied ballet for 12 years.

4. During her college years at the University of Texas, she started as a government major, but switched to law because, she told an interviewer years later, she had not found a husband. When she completed her law degree at the University of Texas law school in 1967, she was one of only seven women in her graduating class.

5. After graduating from law school, Hutchison found that Houston law firms were reluctant to hire women at that time. Frustrated, she walked into television station KPRC in Houston and asked for a job. Despite her lack of experience, she was hired to cover local courts and politics.

6. Hutchison got into politics in 1971 after interviewing Anne Armstrong, who was then the new cochair of the Republican National Committee. Soon after, she left her television job to become Armstrong's press secretary.

7. In 1972, Hutchison became the first Republican woman to be elected to the Texas House of Representatives, where she was elected to two terms. One of her colleagues in the legislature was her future husband, Ray Hutchison.

8. After losing a close race for the House of Representatives in 1982, Hutchison left politics for a time to run a candy company in Dallas. She was later elected Texas state treasurer in 1990 in a race where her campaign manager was Karl Rove.

9. In 1993, Hutchison won a close special election to fill former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen's seat in the U.S. Senate when he left to join the Clinton administration. Hutchison recalled later that she arrived in Washington so quickly that she did not yet have an office staff in place and her colleague Phil Gramm loaned one of his staffers to help answer phones.

10. Hutchison and her husband have adopted two children, a daughter, Bailey, and son, Houston. The family lives in Dallas.

Sources:

  • Austin American-Statesman
  • Dallas Morning News
  • The Hill
  • Houston Chronicle
  • New York Times
  • USA Today
  • Washington Post