Wendy Davis (politician) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wendy Russell Davis[1] (born May 16, 1963) is an American lawyer and Democratic politician from Fort Worth, Texas who represents District 10 of the Texas Senate. She previously served on the Fort Worth city council. On June 25, 2013, Davis held a filibuster to block Senate Bill 5, legislation that would create new abortion regulations in Texas. The filibuster lasted for ten hours and played a major role in Senate Democrats' successful efforts to delay passage of the bill beyond the midnight deadline for the end of the legislative session.

Early life and education

Wendy Davis was born on May 16, 1963, and grew up in Fort Worth. Davis's parents divorced when she was 11 years old, and she was raised by a single mother. Davis began working at age 14 to help support her family. She graduated from Richland High School in 1981, marrying shortly thereafter at age 18 and having a daughter named Amber. A year later, Davis was divorced and a single mother. After learning about a two-year paralegal program from a co-worker, Davis enrolled at Tarrant County College and later transferred to Texas Christian University, where she graduated first in her class. Before and during college, Davis worked as a waitress at the Stage West Theatre café.[2] 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.[3]

Law career

Early in her law career, Davis served in a federal clerkship under U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer. In 1994, she joined the Fort Worth office of Haynes & Boone and began practicing specialized litigation. She later became part owner of Safeco Title Co. and served as Chief Executive Officer of Old Republic International Title's Fort Worth Division from 2004 to 2009. Davis joined Cantey Hanger in an Of Counsel role and partnered with Brian Newby to open Newby Davis, PLLC in 2010. Her current practice includes federal and local governmental affairs, litigation, economic development, contract compliance and real estate matters.[4]

Political career

City Council

Davis was first elected to the Fort Worthcity council in 1999. She was re-elected in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. During her nine-year tenure as a councilmember, Davis focused on transportation, economic development and neighborhood issues. She also spearheaded economic development projects, such as the Montgomery Plaza renovation, the Tower, Pier One and Radio Shack campuses.[4]

State Senate

Davis represents Texas Senate, District 10, which includes portions of Tarrant County, Texas. In 2008, she defeated RepublicanKim Brimer for the seat.[5] She was re-elected in 2012, defeating a challenge from Mark Shelton, a Fort Worth pediatrician and Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives.[6]

Davis is the Vice-Chair on the Senate Select Committee on Open Government. She is also a Member of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, the Senate Committee on Transportation, and the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee. She previously served on the Senate Committee for Education and as Vice-Chair on the Senate Committee on International Relations and Trade.[7]

In 2011, Davis launched a filibuster of a budget bill that cut $4 billion from public education in the state, resulting in a special session called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.[8]

Davis has been honored with many awards and recognitions during her first term in the Texas Legislature, including the "Bold Woman Award" from Girls, Inc., "Freshman of the Year" from AARP, "Champion for Children Award" from the Equity Center, and "Texas Women's Health Champion Award" from the Texas Association of OB-GYNs. In 2009, Texas Monthly named her "Rookie of the Year".[9] She was also chosen by the readers of Fort Worth Weekly as the "Best Servant of the People".[3] Davis was recently listed among "12 State Legislators to Watch in 2012" by Governing Magazine[10] and is mentioned as a possible candidate for state-wide races.[11]

Early in the 83rd Session, senators drew for terms in a post-redistricting, once-a-decade process. Davis drew a two-year term and will be up for re-election in November 2014.[12] She recently announced her intention to run for re-election to the Senate.[13]

2013 filibuster

On June 25, 2013, Senator Davis began a filibuster to block the Senate Bill 5, a package of measures that would create new abortion regulations in Texas, including banning abortion past twenty weeks of gestation, requiring doctors performing the procedure to have rights to practice in nearby hospitals, and upgrading abortion facilities into ambulatory surgical centers.[14] She attempted to maintain the floor until midnight, when the Senate's special session ended, after which the state Senate would no longer be able to vote on the measure.[15] Following a 10-hour filibuster, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst ruled that Davis had gone off topic, forcing a vote on whether the filibuster could continue.[16] Despite Republican efforts, parliamentary inquiries from Leticia R. Van de Putte and others as well as raucous cheering from the people gathered in the Capitol carried on through midnight and the close of the special session.[17] Following the deadline, Republicans indicated that a vote had taken place and passed, while Democrats declared that the vote had taken place after midnight, making it illegal.[17] Dewhurst later conceded that the bill was dead.[18][19]

Election history

Davis ran unopposed for city council in 2001 and 2005 and for state senator in the 2008 and 2012 Democratic primaries.

2012 election

2008 election

Previous elections


Fort Worth City Council general election, 2007: District 9[21]PartyCandidateVotes%±%
nonpartisanBernie Scheffler40623.39
nonpartisanWendy Davis1,33076.61+8.4


Fort Worth City Council general election, 2003: District 9[22]PartyCandidateVotes%±%
nonpartisanWendy R. Davis2,58168.21+17.46
nonpartisanBill Ray1,20331.79


Fort Worth City Council general election, 1999: District 9[23]PartyCandidateVotes%±%
nonpartisanWendy R. Davis1,82050.75
nonpartisanDavid Minor1,47141.02
nonpartisanDan Roberts2958.23

Arson attempt

On March 20, 2012, a pair of Molotov cocktails were thrown at Davis's office in Fort Worth. Davis was not in the office at the time though two of her staffers were. There were no injuries.[24] Cedric Steele, a homeless man with a history of mental illness, was arrested for the attack.[25]


  1. ^"Wendy Russell Davis's Salary"
  2. ^"Wendy Davis stuck her neck out for schoolkids.". Fort Worth Weekly. 
  3. ^ ab"Senator Wendy Davis: District 10". Texas State Senate. 
  4. ^ ab"Partners - Newby Davis, PLLC"
  5. ^"Wendy Davis Defeats Sen. Kim Brimer". Quorum Report. 
  6. ^"Wendy Davis Clinches Re-election in SD-10". Texas Tribune. 
  7. ^"Texas Tribune - State Sen. Wendy Davis". Texas Tribune. 
  8. ^"A Filibuster Creates an Overnight Celebrity". New York Times. 
  9. ^"The Best and Worst Legislators 2009". Texas Monthly. 
  10. ^"12 State Legislators to Watch in 2012". Governing Magazine. 
  11. ^"Is Sen. Wendy Davis poised for statewide race?". Star-Telegraph. 
  12. ^"Political futures at risk as Senators draw terms". Houston Chronicle. 
  13. ^"Davis re-states intention to run for Senate". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 
  14. ^"Texas abortion bill falls after challenge". =The Eagle. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  15. ^Tomlinson, C.; Vertuno, J. (June 26, 2013). "Marathon filibuster: Overnight drama stalls Texas abortion vote". KHOU. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  16. ^Sutton, J.; Smith, M. (June 25, 2013). "Lawmaker's filibuster to kill Texas abortion bill ends early". CNN. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  17. ^ abKing, Michael (June 26, 2013). "Yea or Nay?". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  18. ^"Liveblog: Senators Trying to Determine if Abortion Bill Passed". The Texas Tribune. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  19. ^Helen Davidson (June 26, 2013). "Wendy Davis filibuster and public protest defeat Texas abortion bill: Texas senator stages 11-hour filibuster to block bill • Vote derailed, lieutenant governor blames 'mob'". The Guardian. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  20. ^ ab"Election Results". Secretary of State of Texas. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  21. ^"2007 Cumulative Election Report" (PDF). City of Fort Worth. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-10-16. 
  22. ^"2003 Cumulative Election Report". City of Fort Worth. Retrieved 2010-10-16. 
  23. ^"1999 Cumulative Election Report". City of Fort Worth. Retrieved 2010-10-16. 
  24. ^"Molotov cocktails thrown at Democratic Texas state senator's office". Fox News. 2012-03-20. 
  25. ^http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/Family-says-firebomb-suspect-has-a-history-of-mental-illness-143758486.html

External links

NameDavis, Wendy
Alternative names
Short descriptionAmerican politician
Date of birth1963-05-16
Place of birthFort Worth, Texas, United States
Date of death
Place of death