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She Leads Texas: Donna Campbell

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Sen. Donna Campbell balances life as a politician, doctor and mother. This is how she leads Texas. 

By Anna Lassmann

Donna Campbell

State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, built a career as a physician before running for the Texas Legislature in 2012 on a health-care platform. She continues to build her political career while balancing her medical career and life as a mother. This is how she leads Texas.

Her mornings: “I am up by 6 a.m. and I am out of the house usually around 7, when I drop my little girl off with a friend who can take her to school, and then I’m in Austin—it kind of depends on the traffic—usually by 8:30. I leave earlier…at 6 a.m. if I have a committee meeting at 8 and so, I just gauge it. So, I get up at either 5 or 6 and, of course, go to bed late.”

Her decision to run: “Well, I’m a physician and a few years ago, when there was a lot of talk about universal health care, I was concerned what was going to happen with that and I felt like the government was getting too much into my life, my family’s life, into medicine. I felt the government was trying to, with their policies, create a wedge between the doctor and the patient, and that’s the worst thing that can happen. So, trying to protect patients in Texas, protect how we deliver quality health care and the fact that I felt the government was overreaching I would say were some of the inspiring issues of the time and that’s what got me into it.”

Her role from doctor to senator: “As a physician, we’re focused on people, the bedside, if you will. So, I can’t help but take that same practice to the Senate, where I am focused on the people. I’m not focused so much on [administration]and on bureaucracy. Quite the contrary, I want to decrease the amount of bureaucracy that’s in government and get government closer to the people. I would say more liberty; let the people have more liberty than the government.” 

Her view of women in politics: “I think it’s great. In the Senate, it’s a very amicable body, a body of great respect. We don’t have harassment; we do not have those kinds of problems. Women or men, we treat each other with great respect. We are seen as senators, not as male or female. And it’s a great time to be a woman in the Legislature.”

Her daily travel: “I go back [to New Braunfels, Texas] as often as I can, and that’s usually every night. I balance it with priorities. I have found that God gives me the ability to balance being a mother, being a full-time doctor, as well as being a full-time legislator. And it is actually not difficult. It is a matter of prioritizing. It’s easy to let little things nickel-and-dime your time away, but when you put the big things out there that you treasure, it’s easy to make a choice without still leaving out any of the objectives you want to make sure you fulfill in your job.”

Her daughter: “She is just the apple of my eye, and it’s easy for me to see her in everything I do. I work full time and that’s usually on the weekend, so she stays with someone and they bring her up to see me so I can see her some on the weekend. And then I know that everything I do in the Legislature, every bill that I support, I’m thinking, ‘Is this making Texas better? Does this make Texas good for my little girl when she grows up? And am I good role model for my girl?’ So, she and I read the Bible every night and say our prayers together every night, so [I make] sure I set that as a priority. Having her in my life makes it more meaningful and it also makes everything I do more purposeful.”

Her hobbies: “Well, I like to jog. I love to watch Touched by an Angel and Jeopardy with my little girl, and that’s what is pretty much done during the session. But when we have more time, my little girl and I like to go hiking. We like to go to the park, different parks around the state and travel a little bit. And we love good food, so we love to eat out as well as cook together when we get the chance.”

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