Wendy Davis, State Senator, Fort Worth
Wendy Davis has been called "courageous," "articulate and gutsy" and "inspiring" by the Fort Worth Star Telegram, which also described her as a legislator who "will stand up and fight." Wendy has been taking on tough fights her entire life. She began working after school at 14 to help support her single mother and three siblings. By 19, Wendy was a single mother herself, working two jobs to make ends meet in hopes of creating a better life for her young daughter. Through a brochure laid on her desk by a co-worker, Wendy learned of a paralegal program at Tarrant County Community College that she thought could be the ticket to creating that better life for her young daughter. After two years of community college, Wendy transferred to Texas Christian University. With the help of academic scholarships and student loans, Wendy not only became the first person in her family to earn a bachelor's degree, but graduated first in her class and was accepted to Harvard Law School. After graduating with honors from Harvard Law, Wendy became a practicing attorney in Fort Worth and served nine years on the Fort Worth City Council, where she was recognized as a leader on economic development issues. As chair of the City's Economic Development Committee, Wendy helped create numerous public/private partnerships and successfully helped to bring thousands of new jobs to Tarrant County. Wendy was elected to the Texas Senate in 2008, defeating a longtime incumbent in a race widely considered one of the biggest upsets in Texas politics in recent times. Last year, she staged a filibuster and forced a special session in her attempt to stop $5 billion in crippling cuts to Texas public schools. Wendy's legislative advocacy does not stop there. She authored and collaborated to pass a law that will bring justice to rape victims and jail sexual assault predators before they commit another crime by addressing Texas' backlog of tens of thousands of DNA samples collected from sexual assaults. She filed "Texas Jobs First" legislation to give preference to Texans in the award of state contracts, protected the Veterans' Assistance Fund from being used to fill budget gaps, and fought against the severe cuts to women's health care. The opportunities that Texas provided for a young Wendy Davis — quality public education, a strong community college system, college loan and grant programs for deserving students — are what made the difference in her life. Wendy knows that every Texan deserves the same opportunities to do better, and fights every day to ensure that Texas remains a state where hard work and determination are rewarded and where everybody has the chance to succeed.