The first woman elected to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate, Kay Bailey Hutchison addressed a wide range of issues, from transportation to healthcare, during her two decades in Congress. In 2000, Senator Hutchison�s GOP colleagues elected her Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference�making her the fifth-ranking member of the party leadership�and the first woman to hold a Republican leadership role in the Senate since 1973.She eventually rose to the fourth-ranking position in the conference as the Policy Committee Chairwoman.��One of my obstacles has been attempts to trivialize me or underestimate me,� Hutchison said in 2000, stereotyped as a �quintessential, perennial cheerleader.� �Being in the leadership is not easy. You have to learn how to deal with the issues that come to you in a professional way. And it can be done.�While a journalist, Hutchison was inspired after an interview with Anne Armstrong�co-chair of the Republican National Committee�to enter politics, first working as Armstrong�s press secretary. In 1972, Hutchison was elected to the Texas state house of representatives. After two terms, she left the state legislature in 1976 to serve as vice-chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. After four years in that post, Hutchison returned to Texas.In 1982, she made an unsuccessful bid for an open U.S. House seat representing portions of Dallas. She spent eight years in the private sector as a banking executive and as owner of a candy manufacturing company before winning election in 1990 as the Texas State Treasurer. As treasurer, Hutchison increased returns on state investments to $1 billion annually, led a successful campaign against a state income tax, and helped cap Texas� state debt.�Two years later, Hutchison co-chaired the Republican National Convention, held in Houston, Texas.
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