Walking and Talking: Using Your Feet and Your Voice to Change the World
January 20, 2016
Former Texas State Senator
Wendy Davis is an attorney, author, former Texas state senator, former city councilperson, and the 2014 Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee. Her public service career as an elected official spans three decades. From very humble beginnings, Davis worked as a single parent to forge a path to college, beginning at community college and earning a scholarship to Texas Christian University, where she graduated first in her class. Ultimately, Davis graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. She is widely recognized as a leader on women’s healthcare policy, and is best known for her historic 13-hour filibuster in the Texas Senate to kill a legislative effort that would have dramatically reduced women’s access to abortion care services in her state.
As a first generation college graduate, Davis has worked hard under challenging circumstances to improve public and higher education in Texas. An important success in Wendy’s legislative career was her 2011 filibuster that she staged on the floor of the Texas Senate in an attempt to prevent dramatic funding cuts to Texas public schools. As a strong supporter of public education, Wendy co-authored an important law that enabled the growth of high performing charter schools in her state.
Practiced in 15 years of public service advocacy, and as a corporate executive and attorney, Wendy is an analytical, articulate and decisive leader. She is recognized as someone with the ability to see an issue from multiple perspectives, demonstrating respect for viewpoints that differ from her own, and forging a path to consensus and compromise.
As a result, Wendy has played a leadership role with considerable success on many important public policy fronts, including her efforts to secure passage of the Texas equal pay for equal work law; championing economic development through the use of public/private partnerships; spearheading transportation efforts in her region and throughout the state through the use of innovative funding mechanisms; forging compromise between the oil and gas industry and local communities to allow for the capture of vital minerals while respecting quality of life, water and air; working with financial institutions and public utilities on important consumer protection legislation; championing efforts against voter suppression; and advocating for victims of sexual assault, passing legislation to clear a backlog of over 20,000 untested rape kits.
Though she was unsuccessful in her bid to become Texas’ first Democratic governor in 20 years, Wendy shattered records in both fundraising and volunteer recruitment. With over $43 million raised in her gubernatorial race, Wendy is most proud of the fact that the average donation to her race was only $103, with over 183,000 unique contributors from all over the country supporting her election. In addition to raising an extraordinary amount of money during her campaign, Wendy also energized a record number of over 34,000 active volunteers, and built a social media following of over 550,000 Facebook followers and over 180,000 Twitter followers.
Noted for her talents as a legislative leader, in 2009 Wendy was named the Texas Legislature’s Rookie of the Year by Texas Monthly magazine and Freshman of the Year by AARP, was named to Texas Monthly’s Top Ten Best Legislators in 2013 and has received numerous awards, including the 2013 Women Who Dared award by the National Council of Jewish Women, the 2013 Champion for Social Change award by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and the 2011 Legislative Star by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association.
As an attorney, Wendy maintains her corporate based law practice, representing several major entities including DFW Airport. Previously, she served as CEO of the Fort Worth Division of Republic Title, a nationally recognized title insurance company.
Despite her well known work fighting for the opportunity for all Texans to realize their potential through education, employment and healthcare, Wendy is most proud of her role as mother to her daughters Amber (32) and Dru (26). Wendy lives in both Fort Worth and Austin, Texas.