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Mon Feb 10, 2020, 10:05 AM

For Your Consideration: Shannon Hutcheson for TX-10

Shannon Hutcheson grew up in a working-class Texas family — her father worked for the post office, her uncle built cars for General Motors, and her grandfather sewed mattresses for Simmons Mattress. Her mother ultimately became a public school teacher.

But, it was Shannon’s great-grandmother who was her greatest inspiration. She was orphaned as a child, survived the Great Depression, and worked as a Rosie the Riveter during WWII. Then, in 1963, she obtained a court order to remove her “disability” — the “disability” of being a woman — so she could open a bank account, sign contracts and get a job in real estate. She kept that order in her sock drawer. From time to time she’d take it out and show Shannon, just to remind her there is no obstacle you can’t overcome if you are hardworking, resourceful and persistent. Today, that court order hangs in Shannon’s home as a reminder to her family of these important values.

As a child, Shannon faced a lot of obstacles. Her parents split up when she was young. While her mom worked full-time and went to school, Shannon was tasked with caring for her 5 younger siblings. Shannon moved from place to place and from school to school. But, she realized at an early age that education was going to be the way to a better life for her family.

Through loans, work-study grants and scholarships, Shannon graduated from Austin College with Departmental Honors. She then went to the University of Texas School of Law, graduating in 1996 in the top 10% of her class. The following year, Shannon married her husband, Mark, who is also an attorney, and proudly served for 8 years in the United States Marine Corps Reserves.

Shannon and Mark began their married lives under a mountain of debt. They had no choice but to take on that debt to fund their education, but no young person should start their working life on the brink of financial ruin. Shannon recently represented a veteran of the U.S. Army who was scammed by a for-profit college in the early 1980’s. Thirty-six years later, Secretary DeVos filed suit against Shannon’s client, just as she did against thousands of borrowers across the country who were victims of fraud, seeking six figures on an original debt of roughly $8,000. Shannon filed claims against the Department of Education raising the college’s fraud as a defense to collection. And, ultimately, Shannon negotiated a favorable settlement for her client.

Shannon and Mark finally paid their debt off and, in 2010, she started a small, woman-owned law firm, Hutcheson Bowers, with her longtime friend and colleague, Allison Bowers. Having her own firm allowed Shannon the time and flexibility to work on the causes that are important to her, including reproductive justice and access to high-quality healthcare, rooting out violence in our communities, and advocating for survivors of abuse. Hutcheson Bowers was recognized as the Law Firm of the Year in 2014 by the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association.

For almost ten years, Shannon has done legal work for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. As someone who relied on Planned Parenthood for her own healthcare, Shannon recognizes the vital role that Planned Parenthood plays in providing trusted, preventive healthcare to thousands of Texans, helping them to lead healthy and productive lives.

Shannon knows firsthand the importance of access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. Her father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer when she was 18 years old – a disease he battled for the next 11 years. More recently, Shannon’s daughter battled a mystery illness for almost a year, requiring countless specialist visits and tests. Ultimately, she was hospitalized and required emergency surgery. While she was covered by insurance, the out-of-pocket costs were still staggering.

Just as she has worked to provide for and protect her siblings, parents, and family, Shannon has been a champion for women and families across Texas.

She served on the Board of Austin Children’s Shelter, helping oversee its merger with SafePlace to form The SAFE Alliance. Shannon continued to serve on the Board of SAFE, which provides holistic support services to survivors of child abuse, domestic violence, sex trafficking, and sexual assault, and she was a founding member of Women of Hope, a women’s organization focused on fundraising for SAFE.

Today, Shannon is running for Congress in the 10th Congressional District to fight for working Texas families. Now more than ever we need to elect leaders who are accessible, accountable and transparent; leaders who will achieve concrete results for us — ensuring everyone has access to affordable, quality healthcare, providing our children with a good education without crushing debt, and creating economic opportunity for everyone, not just the wealthy.

Shannon is committed to being that kind of leader and will fight every single day to make life better for the people in the 10th district.


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