Who is Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis?

Texas. State Sen. Wendy Davis is all the rage in the Democratic party for her fights over abortion rights and education funding. Republicans aren't so sold on her grandstanding.

By now, if you are on the social networks, you've probably heard of Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D), defender of women's rights, Democratic stalwart in a fiercely Republican legislature, fashion icon and filibusterer.

On Tuesday, Davis took her second filibuster stand, speaking for 13 hours to stall (and eventually help kill) a vote on a bill which would have possibly closed nearly ever abortion clinic in Texas.

Here is the background on Davis, who some Democrats talk up as a candidate for governor in 2014.

Watch: The crowd goes berserk during Wendy Davis' filibuster


  • Tuesday's filibuster was not Davis' first. In 2011, she led a shorter filibuster that prevented the Texas state legislature from passing a budget that removed $4 billion from public schools.
  • Davis' 2011 filibuster drew the ire of Texas Republicans, who were forced to meet for a special session. She was dropped from the Texas Senate Committee on Education by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) following the filibuster.  Gov. Rick Perry called Davis a "show horse" after the incident.
  • Davis became the 12th Democratic member of the Texas State Senate in 2008. That electoral victory  and her re-election in 2012 prevented Senate Republicans from establishing a filibuster-proof majority.
  • In 2011, Republicans engineered a redistricting plan that attempted to shift Davis into a more conservative district. After a battle in federal courts, attorneys for the state announced in late May that they would drop their effort to redraw Davis' district's boundaries, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.


  • Davis' political interests dot the legislative map. She's sponsored and supported bills that built saltwater pipelines, imposed oversight on tax incentives, established tougher hit-and-run laws, tightened payday lending regulations, increased school funding and strengthened procedures for sexual assault investigations.

Related: Fact-checking Sen. Rand Paul's 13-hour March filibuster


  • Davis was raised by a single mother with a sixth-grade education and began working at the age of 14 to support her mother and three siblings. She worked at an Orange Julius and sold subscriptions to the Star-Telegram, according to the New York Times.
  • Living in a trailer park at the age of 19, Davis was already a divorced single mother. Despite her predicament, she went on to complete high school, junior college and an undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University, where she graduated first in her class.
  • Davis was the first person in her family to graduate from college. She went on to receive her law degree from Harvard. She then remarried and had a second daughter. Davis divorced again in 2003.

Wendy Davis wears tennis shoes: Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, wears tennis shoes in place of her dress shoes as she begins a one-woman filibuster in an effort to kill an abortion bill Tuesday.AP Photo: Eric Gay


  • After law school, Davis worked as a clerk and an attorney. She went on to become CEO of a title insurance agency. She co-founded her own law practice, Newby Davis, which deals with local and government affairs, as well as real estate and contract compliance.
  • From 1999 to 2008, Davis was a Fort Worth city councilwoman. She served as chair of the Regional Transportation Council.


  • According to the Times, Davis is a style icon in Austin. Insiders joke that Davis is the only politician in Texas with better hair than Rick Perry, the Times reported.
  • For her 13-hour filibuster yesterday, Davis wore pink running shoes.
  • She's an avid runner and cyclist, according to the Christian Science Monitor.


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