Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, who announced her bid for the Democratic nomination for Texas Governor last week, made an early campaign stop in Waxahachie on Saturday morning.
Davis visited with educators at a local restaurant to get their perspective concerning the direction in which public school education is headed. While sitting at a booth at El Mexicano Grill and Cantina, Davis addressed the concerns of the eight educators that were gathered.
The educators expressed concerns about standardized testing, dual language programs, special needs programs and educators receiving better healthcare benefits.
Davis said she understands the concerns of educators everywhere, and while things aren't where they should be, great strides have been taken to rectify these issues.
“When I was elected to the state senate I asked to be put on the education committee,” Davis said. “I have served on that committee for two sessions.”
She said at the end of the 2011 session with a proposed $5.4 billion cut to education, she filibustered the budget to try and stop those cuts.
“We succeeded in the fact that it drew us into a special session,” she said. “I hoped that was going to open up an opportunity for us to get the funds back, but it didn't.”
Davis said unfortunately those cuts still passed, but that started a conversation that just kept growing and growing.
“What that did was cause senators and house members to go back to their communities and spread the word,” she said. “Teachers and parents kept approaching them about the education budget, which caused the kind of response we were able to achieve this session.”
She said they were able to get $4 billion of the $5.4 billion back.
“It's still not where it needs to be,” Davis said, “but it was significant. And it happened truly because voices all over the state were crying out and demanding change.”
Davis said the next collective outcry will involve standardized testing for students who haven't reached high school yet.
When asked why she felt impressed to run for Governor at this time in her life, Davis responded, “I believe in the promise that Texas offers an education that enables people to be whatever they want to be.”
“We should be promoting and educating a workforce,” she said. “We also need to provide jobs for the men and women who fight for our freedoms.”
Once she wrapped up her roundtable discussion, Davis made a stop at the Ellis County Democratic Party Headquarters.
About Wendy Davis
Wendy Russell Davis was born in West Warwick, R.I. and moved to Fort Worth with her family at age 11. Her father, Jerry Russell, was a local actor and director who founded the Stage West Theatre in Fort Worth in 1979. Her parents divorced at that time, leaving her to be raised by a single mother, Virginia, who only had a sixth-grade education, but raised four children without any child support.
Davis began working at age 14, first by selling newspaper subscriptions for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, then working at an Orange Julius in a shopping mall food court and later by waitressing at a restaurant.
She graduated from Richland High School in 1981, marrying shortly thereafter at age 18 and having a daughter named Amber. A year later, Davis divorced, becoming a single mother living in a trailer park.
After learning about a two-year paralegal program from a co-worker, Davis enrolled at Tarrant County Junior College and later transferred to Texas Christian University on a full scholarship, where she graduated first in her class with a bachelor's degree in English.
Before and during college, Davis worked as a waitress at the Stage West Theatre café four nights a week while working as a receptionist in a pediatrician's office in the morning.
After becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college, Davis went on to earn her law degree with honors from Harvard Law School in May 1993. She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in November 1993.
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