Texas state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, who is running for lieutenant governor, spoke with Texas Monthly about Democrats in Texas, her chances this November and what inspired her to speak up during colleague Wendy Davis' 2013 filibuster of a controversial anti-abortion bill aimed at severely cutting access to abortion services across Texas.
Van De Putte hadn't planned on calling out her male colleagues in the Texas state senate when Davis began her filibuster.
"I had never planned to be there that day," Van De Putte told Texas Monthly, noting her father's funeral had been that morning. Daniel San Miguel Jr. had died in a car crash just days prior.
But Van De Putte said seeing one photo made her remember how her father taught her "how smart I was and the strength that I had" and inspired her to head to the Texas statehouse:
At that moment I looked up, and there’s a picture on my iPad from when I was governor for a day; I’d called out my dad, and he was standing up and blowing me kisses. And I thought of all the times that my dad stood up for me. The memories just kept coming back, of things like that he would do when I was introduced to his friends, you know, and they would say, “Oh, what a pretty little girl,” or in Spanish, “Oh, qué niña más bonita.” And my dad says, it’s the first thing out of his mouth, “She’s the smartest in her class. Es la más inteligente.” I wasn’t, but because my dad said I was, I thought I might be. And because I thought I might be, I studied a lot. And then I never had the Barbie girl figure, so I understand the little girl growing up in the fifties and the sixties who had big thighs. So what my dad taught me was that it wasn’t what I looked like, it was how smart I was and the strength that I had. My dad was so formative in those early years, when the messages to girls were very different. All that came rushing back, and I looked at [my chief of staff] Gilbert [Loredo] and said, “I have to go.” Then I said, “If they’ve already called the second point of order, I won’t make it.” He says, “I have DPS outside.”
Read the full interview with Van De Putte at Texas Monthly.