Texas state senator speaks at Women's History Month celebration
March 31, 2011
By Lori Newman
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Fort Sam Houston celebrated women's history March 25 during a ceremony at the Middle School Teen Center.
"Today, I think we have reached the point - I hope we have reached the point - where we just accept that women are a part of the team and do all the things that men have done throughout the history of our country," said Lt. Gen. Guy Swan III, commanding general, U.S. Army North, in his opening remarks.
"I for one am very proud of the way we have done that as an Army and as a military," the general said. "Today, we have female members of our team commanding in combat operations around the world."
"Those people that still maintain women should not be in combat do not understand the nature of warfare today," Swan added. "Combat has come to our female Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, and they have preformed magnificently under fire and in some cases are highly decorated; and many, many have paid the ultimate sacrifice."
Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte was the guest speaker at the event.
Van de Putte spoke about what it was like growing up in Texas. A 1973 graduate of San Antonio's Thomas Jefferson High School, she received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas at Austin's College of Pharmacy.
"In the 60s in Texas - and in most states - your ninth-grade math class for girls was home economics," Van de Putte said. "We learned fractions and how to balance the check book, and that was important.
"But, if you didn't take algebra I in ninth grade there was no chance you could take calculus, and if you didn't take calculus your senior year, you didn't qualify once you got to college to get into engineering, architecture, medicine or pharmacy classes."
Her father insisted she be allowed to take algebra in ninth grade.
Prior to her political career, Van de Putte was a pharmacist for more than 31 years. She said her father always told everyone she was smartest girl in her class.
"Of course I wasn't, but because my father said I was, I thought that I could be," the senator said.
A former five-term state representative, Van de Putte is currently serving her fifth term as a Texas State Senator for District 26. She is currently Chair of the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee and serves as a member of the Senate committees on Education, State Affairs, and Business and Commerce.
She encouraged everyone to praise young girls for being smart, not just pretty.
"Know that your words matter to those young women [in your lives]," she said."Now, today's young women can accomplish anything; there is not one field that is closed."