Watson to Lead Senate Dems
Travis County senator to replace San Antonio's Van de Putte
By Richard Whittaker,
4:12PM, Tue. Jun. 28, 2011
With the special session winding down, and the Senate calling Sine Die, a major shuffle in the Democratic caucus has been announced: Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, is replacing San Antonio's Sen. Leticia Van de Putte as Democratic leader in the upper chamber.
In a very brief statement, the former mayor of Austin said, "I'm honored that my colleagues have entrusted their chairmanship to me, and I look forward to getting to work."
Van de Putte has headed up the caucus since 2003. She will replace Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte as Senate president pro tempore next session, and she explained that being caucus leader and pro tem would inevitably "present conflicts." She said, "Nobody is better able to lead us as we move forward than Kirk Watson, and I applaud his election."
The shuffle also sees a change in vice-chairmanship: Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, steps down, to be replaced by two co-vice-chairs: Brownsville veteran Eddie Lucio, Jr. and El Paso freshman Jose Rodriguez. Watson said that he is "excited about this leadership team, and I can't wait to lead the Democrats in defending Texas families who have suffered from the decisions of those in control of the Capitol."