Center for Women in Law

Convening leaders, generating ideas, leading change.

Kay Bailey Hutchison

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U.S. Senator (ret.); Senior Counsel, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP; and Author, Unflinching Courage: Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas

Kay Bailey Hutchison, known most notably for her 20-year career representing Texas in the U.S. Senate, has been heralded as a pioneer in business and government. Currently a senior counsel with law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, she has influenced the public and private sectors as a politician, bank executive, journalist, and small business owner.

In her current role with Bracewell, she applies her years of public service in consulting with clients, particularly those in the banking, energy, transportation, and telecommunications sectors. In 1993, Texans elected Kay Bailey Hutchison to the U. S. Senate in a special election. She was the first woman to represent Texas in the Senate and was reelected three times by large margins. In the history of the Senate, only two women have been elected to Republican leadership; Senator Margaret Chase Smith and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-highest ranking Republican Senator. She served as the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and
Transportation and the Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science. She also chaired the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee and served on Defense Appropriations for 16 years.

She is acknowledged as a national leader on defense issues and is a tireless advocate for our military forces. In 2012 she finished her term as Chairman of the Board of Visitors at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

She was one of the Senate’s strongest advocates for American leadership in science, technology, and education. In 2007, she cosponsored the America COMPETES Act, in response to the National Academy of Sciences report on competitiveness. She was instrumental in establishing The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas, which brings together National Academy members and Nobel laureates to foster more academic research in Texas.

Early in her Senate career, she was the lead sponsor of a bill to create the new Homemaker IRA, which allows spouses who do not work outside the home to save for retirement through an IRA. The bill became law in 1996.

In 2011, Senator Hutchison served as Co-Chairman of the U.S. – Mexico Interparliamentary Conference. The University of Texas School of Law has established the Kay Bailey Hutchison Chair in Latin American Law to promote student exchanges, and teaching and research on Latin American legal issues such as trade, investment and the rule of law.

Before her service in the Senate, she was elected State Treasurer of Texas, where she proposed a general obligation debt limit for Texas which became law.

In June 2000, she and several colleagues coauthored Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate, and in 2004, she released her first book, a best seller, American Heroines: The Spirited Women Who Shaped Our Country. Senator Hutchison published her second bestseller, Leading Ladies: American Trailblazers, in October 2007. Her next book, Unflinching Courage, will be released April 16th.

She grew up in La Marque, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas and University of Texas School of Law. Senator Hutchison lives in Dallas with her husband, Ray, and their two children, Bailey and Houston.