FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Texas’ new Senator Ted Cruz became the center of attention from Republicans and the Tea Party long before today’s swearing-in.

He campaigned as a grassroots conservative and won big.

Political analyst John Weekley says, “He goes there almost as a star quality because he’s from Texas, he’s Latino.”

Cruz, the first Latino Senator from Texas, succeeds Kay Bailey Hutchison, who became the first female Senator from the Lone Star State.

During her 19 years in office, she received wide praise.

Weekley says, “Senator Hutchison will go down as one of the best Senators in Texas.”

Supporters point to Hutchison fighting for federal funding for Texas military bases and veterans, winning federal money for DART, Dallas’ Trinity River project, and negotiating the end of flight restrictions at Dallas Love Field, known as the Wright Amendment.

Fred Moses, Collin County’s Republican Party Chairman, says, “She was a quiet storm and she was focusing on her mission which was to help Texas. She did that.”

During his campaign, Senator Cruz said cutting spending is his top priority and he wouldn’t go along with other Senators to get along. But some analysts express caution.

Weekley says, “Cruz is going to have to be willful about balancing bringing home the bacon to Texas, which all Senators are expected to do to some extent, but not so that cutting the budgets that he disadvantages Texas to Arkansas and Kansas.”

Collin County’s Democratic party chairman, Shawn Stevens, says Cruz must keep an open mind. “If he wants to be a flag-bearer for extreme causes, he can certainly choose to do that, but in the end, I don’t think that will serve Texas well.”

Republicans, like Moses though, believe Cruz brings with him exactly what the party needs. “What will make him effective is his style of being vocal, of being visible.”

And they say his willingness to fight for what he believes is right.

Cruz says he still plans on working to repeal the President’s healthcare reform law, known as Obamacare.

The former Texas Solicitor General will sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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