Ed. Note: Written with the help of Russell Sanderson and Tyler Anderson
The name of Wendy Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, quickly became recognized across Texas during the summer of 2013 with her 11-hour long filibuster against Texas Senate Bill 5. While the filibuster succeeded in thwarting a vote on the issue for that evening, Governor Rick Perry eventually won the war by calling a second special session of the legislature the very next day. Despite being unable to stop the bill, Davis made a name for herself and rumors of a gubernatorial bid flew until October, when she formally announced her intention to run.
This, however, was not Davis’ first filibuster. Her first claim to fame was in 2011 when Davis challenged the 82nd legislative session that refused to settle for a school finance plan that untapped public schools for four billion dollars.
Davis said in a Texas Tribune article in 2011, “I’m seeing hope being expressed by people who really felt it was useless, and that their voices didn’t matter. When people think someone is standing up and fighting for them, it gives them hope.”
Because of the filibuster, legilation went into a special session under the watch of Gov. Rick Perry.
After handily winning the Democratic nomination, Davis set to the difficult task of campaigning as a Democrat in a deeply Republican state. She uses her past experience with education to fuel her current stance. Davis has focused on issues such as stopping increases in college tuition, investing in primary education, increasing the minimum wage and working on immigration reform while keeping the border secure. Davis has also supported open carry laws in the state of Texas, however also saying that cities should be able to choose whether to allow or ban open carry of firearms. Davis also maintins a tough on crime stance, especially with her goal of cracking down on rape, domestic violence and human trafficking in Texas.
Education in particular has been one of the primary focuses of Davis’ campaign.
“When I say that we need to make college more accessible and affordable for every single Texan, I’m saying it because education lifted me up out of the hard times, because for me, it was the great equalizer,” Davis said.
She has supported reining in tuition costs, reducing standardized testing and increasing the quality of teaching in the state as well as opposing massive budget cuts to state education. Davis’ campaign also ties better education, both for young children and college age students, into her platform of keeping the Texan economy strong.
During her campaign Davis has been all over Texas. She visited the big cities, such as Dallas and Houston, but she also made stops at universities like Texas A&M, traditionally conservative areas such as Tyler in East Texas and smaller cities and towns such as Amarillo. Both candidates in the race have made efforts to increase voter turnout.
“[It is the] most significant field operation that state has ever seen,” Davis said.
Davis’ campaign in particular has focused on the rapidly growing minority demographic in Texas, frequently campaigning with African-American and Latino groups within the state. Davis is also a noted supporter of equal rights for LGBT individuals, having co-authored nondiscrimination legislation as well as receiving an endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign and explicitly voicing her support for same-sex marriage. Davis has also voiced her support for decriminalizing marijuana.