Dewhurst assessed the just completed 82nd legislative session at a luncheon hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership. He said the biggest accomplishment was balancing the budget without a tax increase, when $15 billion dollars was cut from spending.
"That's the fifth time since I've been Lt. Governor, we've balanced our budget without raising taxes. We saved $6.5 billion dollars in the Rainy Day Fund, so in the future we can continue to balance our budget without raising taxes."
He touted other session accomplishments, like increasing state funding for public schools, passing an historic "Loser Pays" tort reform law to reduce frivolous lawsuits, enacting a strong voter ID law to protect the integrity of elections and redrawing Texas House, Senate and Congressional Districts for the next decade.
"We're in better shape than any other state I know in the country in Texas. Is it perfect? No. Do we have improvements in place, are we working on them right now? Yes we are."
But Dewhurst told the crowd that he's worried about the future of Texas, and he's ready to take the fight to Washington.
"We all know that our country is at a crossroads, and that's the destination of my next journey. And that's why this Tuesday afternoon, I filed papers to become a candidate for the United States Senate." (applause)
The 65-year-old Dewhurst plans to keep his job while campaigning for his next challenge. After the luncheon, I asked him why he wants to succeed the retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison.
"I want to go up there and join with other conservatives, and take our country back. Literally build on our greatness, not tear it down. Build on what's worked here, which is free enterprise and capitalism, and not turn America into a European-oriented government."
He says he pledges to oppose any debt limit increase unless substantial cuts in spending are realized, a cap on federal spending is imposed that leads to a balanced budget, and that Congress passes a balanced budget amendment.
"If Washington was modeling itself after common sense, sensible business practices, we wouldn't find ourselves in a situation where we're having to raise the debt ceiling, where we're concerned as a nation that our credit rating is going to be decreased, and that other countries might stop buying our treasury bills."
Other candidates vying to be the top contender in the Republican primary field include former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz, former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert and former Texas Rail Road Comissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones.