Wendy Davis: Her leadership and her story

Occupation: Attorney, Business Owner
Education: Texas Christian University, Harvard Law School
Legislative Experience: Senate Member, 2009 - Present
Hometown: Fort Worth
Party: Democrat

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.


Recent Awards:

2013 Legislator of Excellence Award — Texas State Independent Living Council

2013 Women Who Dared Award — National Council of Jewish Women

2013 Champion for Social Change Award — Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

Judy Coyle Texas Liberty Award — Association of Texas Professional Educators

Horizon Award — Christian Life Commission

2012 Texas Women's Health Champion Award — Texas Association Of OB-GYNs

Bold Woman Award — Girls, Inc.

Golden Apple Award — Texas Association of Mid-Sized Schools

Distinguished Service Award — Texas Rural Education Association

Champion for Children — Equity Center

Taxpayer Champion — Texas Conference of Urban Counties

Leadership Award — Texas Veterans Commission

Veterans Service Award — Jewish War Veterans Post #755

Freshman of the Year — AARP

Legislative Star — Texas Classroom Teachers Association

Best of Senate Legislative Award — CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas)

Distinguished Legislative Service — Texas Municipal League

Freshman of the Year — Texas Watch

Friend of Texas Historic Preservation — Preservation Texas

Texas Outstanding Public Servant — Public Citizen Texas

Appreciation Award — Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems

Friend of County Government — Texas Association of Counties

Readers' Choice, Best Servant of the People — Fort Worth Weekly

Best Person to Watch — Fort Worth, Texas Magazine