SAN ANTONIO – In the two weeks since she lost her bid for Texas lieutenant governor, Leticia Van de Putte could have focused on her job at a local pharmacy and prepared for the next legislative session.
But the state senator is now preparing to resign from that post for a shot at a political position much closer to home.
"I will be running for mayor of the city that I love, so very much," Van de Putte said.
Van de Putte made the decision in the last 24 hours. She sat down Wednesday morning with KSAT 12's Steve Spriester for an exclusive interview.
She had not told her boss at the pharmacy about her plans. Some of her legislative aides also had not yet received the news.
The Democrat said she considers it "coming home."
She said she's been overwhelmed by people asking her to run.
"For 34 years, I've been listening across a prescription counter and for 20-plus (years), I've been listening to this community, and when they call, you answer, and I've answered that call today," she said. "I'm running for mayor."
Ready to run for mayor
Democrat Mike Villarreal was the first candidate to formally announce his plan to run for mayor. He has resigned from the Texas House. San Antonio District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal has said he intends to run for that seat.
Van de Putte said she was not running against Villarreal, but "running to be mayor."
She acknowledged that while she won more votes in Bexar County than her Republican challenger -- and statewide winner -- Dan Patrick, she has her work cut out for her.
"I'm here to work for San Antonio and San Antonio families. I'll reach out to Republicans, I'll reach out to Democrats, I'll reach out to Independents," Van de Putte said. "This is a nonpartisan position. The voters are the ones who are going to decide. The real question is a question of leadership."
Van de Putte said her statewide loss was a victory in her book.
"I lost the election, but we won in so many ways and I know personally that (the) experience that I bring and the contacts that I made statewide will benefit San Antonio," she said.
Faith and family
Van de Putte spends much of her time raising money for a charity in honor of her grandson, who died from sudden infant death syndrome.
His death and the loss of her father played a role in her decision to run for mayor.
"We have absolutely been strengthened by love and by faith -- by faith in our God, by faith in each other and our family, faith in the great people of our community who have been with the San Miguel Van de Putte family through the really great times and through those that are just absolutely tragic," she said. "I'm not in despair. I'm not in grief. I'm overjoyed and it's that commitment that keeps us going."
She also received news that is making her shuffle up her Thanksgiving routine.
Van de Putte learned Wednesday her nephew is headed home from deployment in Afghanistan -- with a few special requests.
"Instead of me making all the turkey and the yams and potatoes and green bean casserole, he wants me to make enchiladas. And guess what? We're going to have enchiladas, rice and beans because my nephew's coming home," she said.
Just in time to help launch her mayoral campaign.