AUSTIN (Dallas News) May 30, 2011 — On the last day, Sen. Wendy Davis stood defiantly in the spotlight, dealing the mortal blow to a weakened school finance plan. And, throughout, she defended her tactics — which drew outrage from GOP state leaders and all but guaranteed a special session on the budget.
“Someone has to stand up for our Texas families and say we expect better from the Texas Legislature,” Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, said in a news conference, surrounded by supporters.
The bill was outrageously popular with the conservative grass roots. But Davis — a first-term senator in what could be her legislative swan song — had little to lose in Sunday night’s dramatic filibuster. Throughout the 140-day session, the petite Davis took on numerous Goliaths. She spoke out against sexism in the clubby Senate chamber. She fought mandatory sonograms for women seeking abortions, a priority for Gov. Rick Perry.
She battled Senate leaders on limiting payday lenders and is threatening a bigger fight against a plan to erase her district. She says it violates federal law by shuffling minority voters into districts that dampen their influence.
She’s “definitely made a name for herself, if nothing else,” said Jonathan Saenz of the Liberty Institute, a socially conservative research group that opposed Davis on nearly every issue. Her filibuster that derailed the finance bill, he said, is not going to be forgotten.