The Kay Place

For the past two decades, the Capitol in Washington, D.C., has been her home, but the first woman from Texas to be a U.S. senator will soon cast her final vote. We sat down with Kay Bailey Hutchison for a long conversation about her life, her politics, and why she finally decided to move on.
Photograph by Sarah Wilson

Kay Bailey Hutchison had already made a name for herself in Texas politics when she ran for state treasurer in 1990. A 1967 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, she had worked as a reporter at KPRC, in Houston, covering the Legislature before becoming the first Republican woman to win a seat in the Texas House, in 1972. She later served as a vice chair for the National Transportation Safety Board; married Ray Hutchison, a former chairman of the state Republican party; and then lost a race for Congress, in 1982. She reentered private life as a Dallas businesswoman, purchasing a candy manufacturing facility. Politics, it seemed, was behind her.

The race for treasurer, a now-defunct position, changed the trajectory of her career. Ann Richards had decided to leave that

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...