Leticia Van de Putte, Democratic lieutenant governor candidate, holds rally on West Mall


Shweta Gulati

Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte speaks on the West Mall on Monday evening. The Rally at UT Austin was a part of Van De Putte's nine day statewide bus tour which began March 30. 

Jeremy Thomas

In a rally on the West Mall on Monday, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio and the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, said bipartisan approaches to issues such as higher education are necessary in Texas state government.

The rally marked the last stop on Van de Putte’s statewide bus tour, which covered 16 cities in nine days. In the general election in November, Van de Putte will face either state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, or incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, depending on the result of a runoff election between the two Republican candidates that is scheduled for May 27.

“I heard loud and clear that what people want from their leaders is to focus on the priorities,” Van de Putte said. “Focus on problem solving and not partisan pettiness and politics that absolutely paralyze, like what we sometimes see in Washington D.C.”

Van de Putte said, 10 years ago, the business community, the Texas Legislature and state universities all worked together in efforts to have more tier-one, postsecondary institutions. She said that, because of the way the legislature has handled higher education since then, that goal has not materialized.

“You know, I know, and smart business people know the innovations and the programs, the learning that happens at our tier-one institutions, spark the economy,” Van de Putte said. “They give birth to your creative minds that are going to go out and have new products and services, new research and new and better ways to get things done.”

David Feigen, government senior and University Democrats president, said Republican candidates for lieutenant governor stand in the way of basic reforms of education, marriage inequality and immigration policy.

“This campus is very much ready for change in the lieutenant governor’s office,” Feigen said.

Sheryl Cole, Austin mayor pro tem and a Democrat, said it is historically significant to have two women at the top of the Democratic ticket.

“I think they will bring a balance to statewide politics,” Cole said. “I think [Van de Putte] brings a lot of vibrancy and energy that young people understand and appreciate.”

During the rally, Van de Putte said she hopes to unite everyone as Texans.

“I see the hopes of your parents and the prayers of your grandparents,” Van de Putte said. “So, as Democrats, I want us to all embrace these folks who are understanding our true values and what we’re focused on is the opportunity that’s always been Texas, not the issues that divide us, but the issues that make us stronger when we focus on what’s right for Texas.”