In what could be her last visit to Lubbock as a U.S. senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison said Texas’ increase in research funding was one of her proudest moments during her terms in the Senate.
Thursday at the Texas Tech International Cultural Center, Hutchison said when she took office, Texas was ranked sixth in the nation in the receipt of federal research funds.
The state is now ranked third, she said.
Hutchison said she is glad Tech’s research funding has increased in its goal of achieving tier-one status.
“I am real proud of getting $100 million dollars for the great research projects for Texas Tech,” she said. “I think (the research projects) have put Tech on the national map now. I think we’re going to grow, we’re going to grow economically, and Texas Tech is going to grow in numbers.”
However, in comments after the event, Hutchison said, she is not as satisfied with the funding for K-12 education in the state.
An audience member asked about a Dallas Morning News article quoting Texas Gov. Rick Perry having said Texas schools have an “adequate amount of money.” Figures from the National Education Association’s most recent report, however, suggest Texas will spend approximately $8,900 per student this year. The national average, according to the NEA report, is more than $11,400 per student.
“I am not pleased with what I have seen in our public education,” Hutchison said. “I certainly think that we have cut too much from education and I think that we need to be much more attentive to the needs of our K-12.
“I think we are not doing what we should be doing at the K-12 level to make sure that every child has a chance to reach their full potential. I would say that we are not nearly what Texas should be.”
Hutchison, who will not run for re-election for her Senate seat this year, said she does not plan to retire from politics, necessarily.
“You know, I plan to keep working, but I don’t know where,” she said. “I don’t want to retire. I want to retire from the Senate, but I don’t want to retire from being engaged in different things.”
Several candidates have filed with the Federal Election Commission signaling their intention to run for Hutchison’s seat, including former Texas Solicitor Gen. Ted Cruz , Texas state senator Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former ESPN football analyst Craig James and former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert.
Hutchison was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1993.