Hutchison kicks off run for governor

LA MARQUE, TX Hutchison, using her old high school as a backdrop, also proposed limiting governors to two, four-year terms. She called Perry a "dedicated public servant," but otherwise laid into him. Perry, in office since 2000, is the longest serving governor in Texas history.

"Now he's trying to stay too long -- 14 years," Hutchison said. "After ten Perry years, where are we?"

Perry took over the remainder of former President George W. Bush's second term as governor and has been elected to two, four-year terms since.

Hutchison answered her own question by saying the state is awash in debt, leads the nation in uninsured children and suffers from the highest property taxes in the country. She singled out the Texas Department of Public Transportation, calling it the "most arrogant, unaccountable state agency in the history of Texas."

The state's senior U.S. senator also belittled Perry's decision to turn down $550 million in federal stimulus money to help the state's empty unemployment insurance trust fund. She described the move as politically motivated and "irresponsible."

Her highly critical speech underscored the bitter clash that the Republican primary for Texas governor is becoming.

The rancor was evident from the moment Hutchison's vast entourage pulled into the parking lot of La Marque High School, the site of her first event. Perry's aides had already parked a large truck carrying an oversized picture of the senator with a sign emblazoned across the front: "Kay Bailout Express," it read in reference to Hutchison's vote in favor of the 2008 financial rescue package.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner also showed up at the gymnasium where Hutchison was speaking and delivered a response before the senator even began her speech.

"Once again, the senator is coming up with no ideas," Miner said. "It's easy to criticize after being in Washington for 16 years, but the people of Texas want results not rhetoric."

Only two Texans -- Sam Houston and Price Daniel -- have made the rare leap from U.S. senator to governor, but Hutchison has been itching to come home for years. She flirted with a gubernatorial run in 2005 but ultimately decided to stay in Washington -- avoiding a primary that GOP honchos feared would leave the party badly divided.

Joining Hutchison in La Marque was Karen Hughes, the former spokeswoman and trade representative from the last Bush administration.

Hutchison planned to continue her five-day announcement tour in Houston, San Antonio and Austin as well as 15 other cities.

Find us on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter | More social networking
ABC13 widget | Most popular stories | Political blogs
ABC13 wireless | Slideshow archive | Help solve crimes

Copyright © 2024 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.