U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, went back to her coastal hometown Aug. 17 to formally kickoff her campaign for governor.
A former high school and college cheerleader, the state's senior senator visited her alma mater, La Marque High School, to rally fans for the big game Ã¯Â¿Â½ her battle for the governor's against Republican incumbent Rick Perry.
"It is with pride and humility for history that I announce today that I am a candidate for governor of Texas," she said. "Texas is like no other place on earth. It started on March 2, 1836 when our forefathers declared an end to tyranny with the Texas Declaration of Independence."
According to comments released on her campaign Web site, Hutchison acknowledged that her opponent is a dedicated public servant, but that he is "trying to stay too long."
Under Perry, who has held the governor's seat since 2000, the senator said the state of Texas now has the highest property taxes in the country, the state debt has doubled, tuition is skyrocketing, dropout rates are high and the number of uninsured children leads the nation.
"Ten years is enough. We can do better," Hutchison said.
If elected, Hutchison said she would lay out a "clear, conservative vision for the future of Texas," which would focus on fiscal policy, education, transportation, health care and government reform.
She criticized Perry's handling of federal bailout money.
"And to make a political point, we turned down half a billion in federal money, sacrificed it to other states, and now we're borrowing three times as much and sticking Texas business with the tab," she said. "That's not conservative. That's irresponsible. We can do better. It's time for results, not politics."
Not surprisingly, Hutchison proposed setting term limits for the governor's office.
"For any governor, eight years is enough," she said. "We can't afford 14 years of one person appointing every state board, agency and commission. It invites patronage. It tempts cronyism. And it has to stop, now."
As for the future of Republicans in Texas, the senator said the party can remain strong if it works together.
"As Republicans, we can continue down the road of shrinking majorities," Hutchison said. "Or we can inspire, unite, and grow our party. Rebuild it from the bottom up, and reach out to Texans and say, 'If you are for limited government, lower taxes and less spending, we want you in the Republican Party, we welcome you and want you to be active in our cause.' That's how we will win elections, keep the majority and be worthy to lead our great state. And that's what we're going to do if I'm heading the Republican ticket."
Hutchison plans to end her 16-year career in the U.S Senate to focus on winning the Republican primary in March.
The only Democrat to announce candidacy is Tom Schieffer, a Fort Worth businessman.