FORT WORTH — Cheered on by supporters dancing with campaign signs and chanting, “We want Wendy,” state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, announced her candidacy for governor of Texas on Thursday.
Davis, who gained national attention with an 11-hour filibuster in June that delayed passage of restrictive abortion legislation, will likely face off against Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
The announcement brought more than a thousand enthusiastic supporters to Haltom City, near Fort Worth, where Davis received her high school diploma in 1981.
Davis spoke about her life as a single mother in poverty, and said she frequently worried about the kind of opportunities she would be able to provide for her daughter.
“Thirty-two years ago, I received my high school diploma right here on this spot,” Davis said. “By the time I was 19, I was already on my way to a divorce … I was barely making ends meet, and sometimes, they didn’t … It wasn’t the life I had imagined, and it definitely wasn’t the life I wanted for [my daughter] Amber.”
Davis said her public education at Tarrant County Community College provided her with the strong foundation she needed to improve her life. She said state leaders have not responded to the financial needs of Texans trying to get an education.
“Texas deserves a leader who understands that making education a priority creates good jobs for Texans,” Davis said.
Davis repeatedly emphasized the importance of honesty in government.
“[We don’t have] the honest, accountable leaders that Texans deserve,” Davis said. “Texans deserve better than failed leaders who dole out favors to friends
Event attendee Copeland Morris said he is excited for Davis to run for governor because he believes she will address issues of unemployment and bring other major changes to Texas.
“It has been a long time since Texas had an honest government,” Morris said.
Members of the crowd chanted, “We will keep going,” along with Davis as she came to the conclusion of her speech.
“As long as we can make our great state even greater, we will keep going,” Davis said. “Until every child, from Longview to Lubbock, from McAllen to Mesquite, makes it to a stage like this and receives their diploma and understands that nothing will wash out the road to their future dreams, we will keep going.”
As the event began, protesters stood outside the high school holding signs with phrases such as “Keep Texas Red.”
John Gorczynski, president of Texas Young Democrats, said the organization will work hard to help Davis in her campaign because she supports equal pay and education.
“We’re going to do every last thing we possibly can because she has worked so hard for us and put her name and her life out there,” Gorczynski said. “We’re going to return the favor by working our butts off.”