Discover: Senator Kirk Watson

By Devyn Bernal – November 1, 2016
Photo by Weston Carls

Celebrating his tenth year of holding office in the Texas Senate, Senator Kirk Watson has plenty of reasons to feel accomplished. Between his work with the state, Dell Medical School, Bastrop County Bank community board, Central Texas water planning and transportation, and raising two sons, Senator Watson thrives in the days he is given. After surviving cancer and appreciating what it means to feel physically well, he no longer dwells on 10-year plans. “What I’ve found is, it’s better to live in increments of time,” Senator Watson says. “I call it living with a short-term focus and a long-term vision.” 

These days, Senator Watson has quite a few increments he is directing his focus on, including the Texas State Senate election this November. To him, it’s not the substantial changes Austin has seen over the last decade, but rather, what has remained the same that stands out. “Some of our defining aspects that make this city attractive haven’t changed a bit,” Senator Watson says. “That says a lot about Austin’s character.”

Number one on his list of Austin’s treasures would be Lady Bird Lake and the trail surrounding it. “It is my single most favorite place in Austin,” Senator Watson admits. “Each morning I spend out there, working on my health and connecting with my community, improves my mood and boosts my morale.” He hasn’t been able to prove it yet, but he knows everyone he sees out on the trail will have a better day for it. These walks, along with riding his motorcycle to work on a gorgeous day, keep his overall health and wellbeing on a straight path. 

Senator Watson strongly advocates a stabilizing diet, exercise, and meditation—and he practices what he preaches. “There’s no question I’m a happier and more enjoyable person to be around when I’m active,” he says. “When I’m physically fit, it helps me to be mentally fit.” If you ask him, mental health is just as important to learn about as good nutrition and exercise, and a healthy check on all three has prevented him from battling cancer again.

“‘The Beast’—as I call it—impacted me to want to feel good,” Senator Watson says. Cancer struck him even after six years of no red meat or alcohol in his diet, taking him for a jaunting surprise. Both of his parents dealt with the same ‘beast,’ and he recalls his mother’s tenacity to survive 21 years after being diagnosed. She rode her exercise bike every day up until checking into the hospital, believing she’d start dying the moment she stopped. “A doctor once told me before surgery that I myself was physically fit enough to recover better, and I took that to heart,” he says. “Every day I’m better prepared to fight it off.”

Now, Senator Watson is in great shape and motivated to focus on all the combining increments in his life. He looks forward to the time he is given in Austin, with its creative, different points of views and defining oddities. “The whole idea of keeping Austin weird is attractive to me,” he says. “Weird ideas have become big deals in this city.”

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