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.