Standing on her feet and talking nonstop for 11 hours without drinking water to oppose a bill on abortion restrictions made state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, a household name nationwide.
“She’s making everyone feel like they’re a part of something, that everyone can have a voice,” said international relations and global studies sophomore Leigh Larson. “She represents humility, which is something foreign in Texas politics.”
Larson was one of hundreds of Texans at the state Capitol last week supporting Davis in her efforts to kill SB 5, a bill that would impose some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the nation.
“The leadership may not want to listen to Texas women, but they will have to listen to me,” Davis tweeted a day before she stood for 11 hours. “I intend to filibuster this bill.”
Although Republicans eventually called enough strikes on her to end her filibuster, where a senator speaks nonstop to keep the chamber from voting on a bill, Davis emerged with 100,000 additional supporters under her belt. However, she is a new target for some Republicans in the Legislature.
Sonya Grogg never thought she would make a career of politics before working three legislative sessions with Davis. Grogg said it was Davis’ commitment to public service that kept her in the field.
“Things can always be better, I think that’s what drives her,” said Grogg, who works as Davis’ legislative director.
Davis started her career in politics serving on the Fort Worth City Council and became a state Senator in 2008. Davis started out as a young mother living in a trailer park, but worked to put herself through school at Texas Christian University and Harvard Law School.
Gov. Rick Perry is one conservative unhappy with Davis’ actions against tougher abortion restrictions. Last week, Perry said he was sad Davis does not recognize the importance of life given her own humble beginnings.
“Even the woman who filibustered in the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances,” Perry said. “It’s just unfortunate she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its true potential and that every life matters.”
Despite the anger she has incited among conservatives, Davis has made herself stand out in Texas. Thousands have said they will stand with her Monday, when the Legislature reconvenes to discuss abortion.
“The idea is to be engaged,” Grogg said. “Sometime down the road, you’re going to realize that you can actually make a difference, that there is an avenue for your voice to be heard.”