MARBLE FALLS — Patrons at the Blue Bonnet Cafe may not have expected a side of politics with their pancakes and eggs June 30 when U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison arrived.
Hutchison, a Republican, served up plenty of smiles, handshakes and greetings Saturday morning at the famous 83-year-old roadside eatery.
PHOTO: John Kemper (left), co-owner of the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls, speaks with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (center) and Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger on June 30, as the senator greeted constituents at the cafe. Staff photo by Jared Fields
She spoke about the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, discussed her plans for when her term ends and weighed in on the plight of French bakers who own a business in Marble Falls; the couple is stuck in France with visa troubles.
Back from Washington, D.C., the Republican senator stopped for a pie to-go and to greet constituents before heading off to visit the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City.
“I think people are more concerned about the future of our country than I’ve ever seen in my senate career,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison has voiced her disappointment with the Supreme Court’s ruling June 28 that for the most part upheld President Barack Obama’s universal health-care package, which has been dubbed Obamacare.
Hutchison, the first female Texas senator, said now is the time to look ahead.
“I think now we move forward because we have one last chance to assure that this health care bill does not take hold and that is the elections,” she said.
The Republican-held Congress has said the health-care law, which takes effect in 2014, will bankrupt America. Obama is a Democrat. The GOP is urging future elected leaders to repeal or amend the act.
The senator, who failed in 2010 to unseat Gov. Rick Perry during the Texas gubernatorial race, said she is looking forward to new pursuits after her senate term ends. The former Texas treasurer was first elected to the Senate in 1993.
“I’ll certainly be there for my colleagues in every way, but now it’s time for someone new to come in,” she said. “I am going to keep working, but in the private sector, and I’m really looking forward to that.”
On the Republican ticket, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz are in the running for her seat during the July 31 runoff. The winner of that race likely will face the Democratic runoff victor — either Paul Sadler or Grady Yarbrough — Nov. 6 in the general election.
Hutchison said she has nothing lined up yet and is only beginning to see what possible options might be available to her later.
“Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be ready to go in the new direction,” Hutchison said.
The Galveston native said she has not endorsed a senate candidate, but hopes whomever takes her seat will keep focused on Texas issues.
“If we don’t have a senator that will help cities and counties and the people of Texas, then no one else will and we’re elected to do that and that’s been my trademark,” Hutchison said.
“I hope that our next senator pledges to do that as well,” she added.
Hutchison’s office also has worked recently on an issue involving French nationals Jean-Claude and Beatrice Walter, owners of Fleur de Ble bakery at Main and Twelfth streets. They left in May to visit relatives in France and now remain there, barred by the U.S. government from returning. The couple are trying to get their visas renewed through the U.S. Embassy in Paris, but have been stonewalled.
The Walters had been in the U.S. on an entrepreneurship visa that requires a business to make a certain income.
“It’s our job to help people if there is something that hasn’t been looked at or they have not been rightly adjudicated,” Hutchison said. “We’re going to do everything within our power and within the law to see if the government has made a mistake and if so, that it’s corrected.”
Hutchison during her visit also spoke with Blue Bonnet co-owner John Kemper and Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger, a Republican.