MAKERS Profile

Kay Hutchison

Senator (R-Texas)

In this video

Kay Bailey Hutchison on becoming a politician at a time when new doors were opening for women and what female lawmakers bring to the table.
Kay Bailey Hutchison is the first female United States Senator from the state of Texas. She has also served in the Texas State Legislature and as the state’s Treasurer.   Hutchison was raised in La Marque, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas Austin in 1962. In 1967, she was one of five women to graduate from UT-Austin Law School out of a class of five hundred people. “It was when I got out of law school that I hit my first brick wall,” she says. “Law firms in Texas didn't hire women.” Instead, Hutchison found a job a news correspondent for KPRC-TV in Houston, becoming the first female reporter in the Houston market.   She burst onto the political scene in 1972, when she became the first Republican woman to be elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In 1976, President Gerald Ford appointed her to the National Transportation Safety Board.   Despite these successes, Hutchison left politics for over a decade following her lopsided loss in a Congressional primary in 1978. Shortly afterwards, she was named Senior Vice President and General Counsel for RepublicBank Corporation. Over the next decade, she would go on to found Fidelity Bank of Dallas and then to purchase McCraw Candies Incorporated.   Hutchison returned to public service in 1990 and quickly resumed her path-breaking ways, becoming the first Texan woman to win statewide office when she was elected State Treasurer. She was elected to the US Senate in 1993 in a special election to replace Lloyd Bentsen, who had been named as Treasury Secretary by President Bill Clinton. She has served continuously since then.   Hutchison ran in the 2010 Texas gubernatorial election but lost in the primary to fellow Republican Rick Perry. She has announced that she will retire from politics in 2012.

More From Kay

Female Senators' Support System
Hutchison on the special bond between female Senators, no matter what party.

Getting Dads Involved
Hutchison talks about the joys and demands of motherhood and the encouraging sight of dads taking a more active role.

Across Party Lines
Hutchison reflects on her early years in the U.S. Senate when politics was less partisan and there was camaraderie across the aisle.

Republican Support for Women
Hutchison credits the Republican Party's openness to female candidates, and Anne Armstrong in particular, for the launch of her political career. 

Excluding Conservative Women
Hutchison comments on the strained relationship between the women's movement and conservative women.

A Game Changer
Hutchison observes how much women gain by playing team sports, an experience her pre-Title IX generation were denied.

Banding Together
Hutchison recalls how being a small minority party in the Texas House of Representatives created a sense of camaraderie amongst her and her fellow Republicans.

A Subtle Media Bias
Hutchison observes how the media uses different language for men and women and how you have to develop a thick skin.

Pick Yourself Up
Hutchison on how to respond to life's hard knocks. 

Bucking Tradition
Hutchison talks about the traditional life of a Texas girl and how she found a different path.

We Don't Hire Women
After graduating from law school, Hutchison soon discovered that, as a woman, getting a job wouldn't be so easy. 

Creating Your Own Opportunity
Hutchison recalls her difficulty, as a woman, finding employment after law school and her spontaneous decision to embark on a new career.