Kay Bailey Hutchison became the first woman to represent her state in the U.S. Senate with her election in 1993. She was elected to a second full term in 2000 with the largest number of votes ever garnered in Texas, more than 4 million. In 2006, she was again re-elected by an overwhelming margin. She serves in the Senate leadership, having been elected by her colleagues to be chairman of the Republican Policy Committee in the 110th Congress, making her the fourth-highest ranking Republican senator and the highest ranking Republican woman. Hutchison also serves on the Republican National Hispanic Assembly (RNHA) National Advisory Committee.
Senator Hutchison has played a vital role in shaping America's defense policy and fulfilling our nation's promises to our veterans as former Chairman and now Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and as a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense . She introduced and passed legislation creating an Overseas Basing Commission, which conducted a comprehensive review of the U.S. military's global footprint to help ensure that our Armed Forces are prepared to meet 21st century threats. She currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Visitors for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The senator worked to secure funding for an additional 1,500 Border Patrol agents to strengthen enforcement of immigration laws. In 2004, she helped pass the National Intelligence Reform Act, which included provisions she authored to ensure greater screening of air cargo. That legislation instructs the Transportation Security Administration to establish a database of known shippers, develop facility security plans, and mandate use of worker identification cards.
During her term as Chairman of the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Aviation, she played a major role in drafting the airline security bill passed by Congress after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Senator Hutchison has consistently championed tax relief for working families. In recent years, she has led the fight to provide relief from the marriage income tax penalty and to reestablish the deduction for state and local sales taxes for Texans. Senator Hutchison has worked to reduce marginal income tax rates, eliminate the death tax, and lower taxes on capital gains.
Early in her Senate career, she was lead sponsor of a bill to create the new Homemaker IRA. It allows spouses who do not work outside the home to save for retirement through an IRA.
Senator Hutchison has authored legislation to help recruit mid-career professionals and retirees into teaching positions. A provision included by Senator Hutchison in the No Child Left Behind Act requires "report cards" that give parents regular updates on the performance of their child's school. Senator Hutchison was also able to allow parents to place their children in a single-gender school or classroom by removing barriers that prevented local school districts from offering this choice.
Senator Hutchison was instrumental in establishing The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST). It is the centerpiece of her effort to support research and development while promoting Texas as a science state. During her tenure in the U.S. Senate, Texas has moved to third in the nation in receipt of federal research and development expenditures.
From January 2005 to December 2007, Senator Hutchison served as Chairman, then Ranking Member, of the Science and Space Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee, overseeing NASA and the National Science Foundation. In December of 2005, the president signed into law the Senator's five-year blueprint for NASA's exploration and research initiatives.
In December of 2007, Senator Hutchison became Ranking Member of the Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee, having led efforts in 2006 to repeal the anti-competitive Wright Amendment, which limited flights out of Dallas Love Field Airport. Originally intended to encourage growth at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the harmful provision artificially inflated air fares at both airports. At the Senator's encouragement, airlines and airport owners reached an historic agreement -- now enacted into law -- that will remove unfair barriers and restrictions at Love Field.
Senator Hutchison became the Ranking Member on the Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation in July of 2008.
The senator's Texas roots run deep. Thomas Rusk of Nacogdoches was the first Texan to hold the U.S. Senate seat she currently occupies. He and Senator Hutchison's great-great-grandfather, Charles S. Taylor, were friends and both signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Senator Hutchison grew up in La Marque, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas and UT Law School. She was twice elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In 1990, she was elected Texas State Treasurer. In June 2000, she and several colleagues coauthored Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate, and in 2004, she released her second book, American Heroines: The Spirited Women Who Shaped Our Country. Sen. Hutchison published her most recent bestseller, Leading Ladies: American Trailblazers, in October 2007.
The senator lives in Dallas with her husband, Ray, and their two children, Bailey and Houston.