It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH sits down with a member of Congress for five fun questions. This week, retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, talks about her start as a journalist, as well as what she’ll miss about Washington.You’re the most senior female GOP senator and the first woman to represent Texas in the Senate. How do you feel about the legacy you’re leaving behind for women in the Senate and in your party?
I hope that it is one of showing that you can represent your state and also have an impact on the bigger-picture issues of the day. I’ve concentrated on the military and national defense issues, as well as NASA, and I’ve worked with [Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.] on the spousal IRA. We can do so much when we collaborate and work together, and I hope that’s something that’s a lasting impression.
Do you think female legislators still face the kind of challenges you struggled with when you were first elected to Congress?
I think that in most ways, everything has worked as it should. A woman has an equal place on committees and an equal vote, but there are extra requirements for women who are serving in the male-dominated Senate. And I think that the women that I have served with have become great friends. I think that we have great camaraderie with our male colleagues and a special bond with our female ones.
Your first job after law school was reporting for a Houston television station. How did that experience shape your views and your career path?
It changed my career path. I had intended to be a lawyer, and law firms didn’t hire women in Houston at the time. After four months of looking for a job as a lawyer, I decided to take a different route and, on a lark, walked into a TV station and asked them if I could be a reporter. It gave me much more experience in politics and from that experience, I was asked to run for state legislature by the Republican county chairman and I decided to do it.
What are you looking forward to most about retirement? What are your plans?
I’m looking forward to having a career in the private sector. I would hope to make private speeches. I worked in business before I ran for state treasurer, and I like the people and challenges in business. I’m looking for a new career, but not a political career.
What are you going to miss most about Washington?
I’ll miss the beauty of the city and the fabulous museums. Washington, as our nation’s capital, is just the most fascinating city in America and certainly the one that every American should be proud to be able to visit and work in. I’ve loved having my children here and having them see from the inside of the Capitol. They believe playing soccer in the halls is the advantage, but some day they’ll understand.