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Davis brings hope to dispirited Democrats

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Senator Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, is familiar with being first.

She was first in her family to graduate from college and first in her graduating class at college. But on Tuesday, Davis's goal is to be last -- as in the last person senator speaking in the filibuster planned to kill the Republican-backed abortion bill headed pending in the Texas Senate.

Davis, 50, said on her Twitter account Monday that the bill is "the most anti-woman, anti-family legislation that Texas has ever seen."

"The leadership may not want to listen to Texas women, but they will have to listen to me," Davis said.

Democrats have been shut out in statewide elections for coming up on two decades now, making Davis a rising star in the Democratic party and giving the once-proud party something to rally around.

Since winning re-election in 2012 with 51 percent of the vote over Republican Mark Shelton, Davis has been front and center on several issues close to her party's heart -- including better funding for education.

Tuesday's filibuster will not be the first time that the senator has taken a stand and talked her way into the public eye. In the 2011 legislative session, she filibustered another end-of-session, Republican-backed bill in an attempt to block legislation that proposed cutting $5.4 billion from public schools statewide.

While her profile has risen since Davis was first elected to the Senate in 2008, she told KXAN earlier this year that she has no plans to run for higher office – governor or lieutenant governor – in 2014.

"I'm running for my Senate district in 2014, and hopefully earning the confidence of my community once again," Davis said on a Sunday edition of KXAN's In Session, In-Depth.

Davis represents Tarrant County, a community that lies close to her heart – from the standpoint of a politician, but also from the perspective of a lifelong citizen.

According to her website, Davis began working after school at 14 to help support her single mother and three siblings. According to an article that ran in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Davis was 18 and pregnant when she lost her job at Dresser Industries in Dallas, and by age 19, she was a single mother herself, working two jobs to make ends meet.

Nothing, it seemed, could stop her. Especially when it came to bettering herself and her education.
Davis began attending Tarrant County Community College after a co-worker told her about their two-year paralegal program.

She later transferred to Texas Christian University where, with the help of academic scholarships and loans, she graduated as the first person in her class and became the first person in her family to earn a bachelor's degree

After graduating from TCU, she was accepted into Harvard Law School, where she graduated with honors.

After law school, Davis went on to become a practicing attorney in Fort Worth, serve on the Fort Worth City Council for 9 years and serve as chair of the City's Economic Development Committee, where she helped to bring thousands of new jobs to Tarrant County, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said.

In 2012, she was named one of the nations 12 State Legislators to Watch by Governing Magazine.

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