Hutchison speaks on Nacogdoches
history, declining economy and war in Iraq
March 20, 2008
U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison made a stop in Nacogdoches
Thursday at the Sterne-Hoya House Museum to commemorate the
beginning of the annual Azalea Trail, as well as answer
questions on happenings on Capitol Hill.
Hutchison focused on preserving Nacogdoches' history.
"I am totally committed to this great town," she said. "I
will always try to preserve the history of this wonderful town
where I grew up."
She spoke on a more recent and tragic part of Nacogdoches
history — the Columbia Space Shuttle crash.
"I am working very hard to make sure we have a Columbia Space
Shuttle memorial here," Hutchison said speaking from the front
porch of the Stern-Hoya House.
She said she anticipates a bill being passed this spring that
will allow the memorial to be built. She and U.S. Rep. Louie
Gohmert are working to push it through the House and Senate.
"It's taken a little longer that it should have, but that's
kind of what happens in Washington — it's not Texas, I can say
that," she said. "You can get things done a lot easier here in
While speaking of the Columbia tragedy, she noted that she
has received many compliments from fellow senators about East
Texas and the local hospitality shown in the aftermath of the
Hutchison said people remark on having been "blown away" by
the offers to help, offers for emergency officials to stay in
private homes, food donations and even the special care with
which the remains of the crew were treated.
The senior senator also commented on the El Camino Real de
los Tejas trail that begins in Natchitoches, La., and runs
through East Texas (Nacogdoches particularly) down to Mexico.
"In 2009, we think we will be able to start putting up the
trail markers and the visitor centers," she said. "A lot is
going to be happening with that. I think this is going to be a
great destination for tourists."
Before addressing the crowd that gathered outside the museum,
Hutchison toured the historic Sterne-Hoya house and even found
an old photograph of a distant grandparent preserved in the
"I'm very excited about being a part of the building of
Nacogdoches," Hutchison said. "We've done a lot, and we have a
lot to do, and I think we can do it together."
Before leaving the podium, Hutchison took time to answer
questions from the audience and the media.
Nolan Alders, who publicly voiced his opposition of the
Trans-Texas Corridor, asked the senator to comment on the
proposed mega highway.
"I am very much against the concept of the Trans-Texas
Corridor," Hutchison said. "I met with the I-69 coalition in my
office last week and we are of one mind. We want I-69 back the
way it was originally configured, and that's what we are going
to work for."
She also said she sent a letter to the Federal Highway
Commission asking for another 45 days for additional public
comments concerning the roadway.
Another hot topic lately has been the dragging U.S. economy,
and Hutchison said she wasn't sure how effective the recently
passed economic stimulus package would be. However, she did
express her optimism of the economy getting back on track.
"We hope that (the stimulus package) will stimulate the
economy and try to get us out of this dip," she said. "We are
also being watchful to see if there is anything else that can be
She noted that Congress is trying to not do too much, which
could add to the national deficit, or anything else that would
require a tax payer "bail out" down the line, which would hurt
the economic recovery.
"I'm hoping that if we do another stimulus package, it will
be something targeted at the housing industry," she said.
With this week marking the fifth anniversary of the war in
Iraq, Hutchison responded to a question on how she believes the
war is going.
"I think we are making great progress in Iraq," Hutchison
said. "We must stay vigilant in both Afghanistan and in Iraq to
make sure there is not a haven for terrorists and they are not
able to export their terrorism throughout the world."
Hutchison said she just returned from Iraq, and it's
important that America stays the course.
"We've got to make sure our children have every opportunity
that we had growing up in this great country," she said. "If we
fail, it will be our generation's failure to keep what so many
have fought and died for before us. We cannot let that happen."