When they’re not at the Capitol, the 181 members of the Texas Legislature may be cotton farmers, lawyers, realtors, or like Leticia Van de Putte, pharmacists. But on the second Tuesday in January in odd-numbered years, they enter a political twilight zone in which they abandon the reassuring routine of daily life for an erratic existence with its own unique language, customs, and terrain. When they step through the Capitol’s massive oak doors, fawning lobbyists descend upon them, eager and ambitious staff members perch at their elbows, and colleagues offer howdies and presses of the flesh. Imagine more than four months of mind-numbing committee meetings, intense floor debates, and uninspired take-out food; then add to that the intense pressure of the final few weeks, when the decisions you face can make or break your career and your reputation. Even veteran lawmakers find the experience daunting and draining. For a freshman, it can be overwhelming. This is the story of 46-year-old Van de Putte’s first session as a Texas
What did San Antonio Democrat Leticia Van De Putte learn in her first go around as a state senator? That victories are hard-won and compromise is inevitable. That just because she's a legislator she doesn't stop being a wife and a mother.
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