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Wendy Davis Looks Back at Filibuster, Ahead to 2014 Elections

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

With about 1,500 bills passed during its four legislative sessions, the 83rd Texas Legislature could be remembered for a number of things.

For healthcare advocates, maybe it’s the failed attempts to expand Medicaid. For environmentalists, it’s probably the water debate. But for Texas Democrats, it’s got to be the 11-hour filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, to block passage of a controversial abortion bill.

In the end, Davis’ filibuster did nothing to stop the Legislature’s Republican majority from passing additional restrictions on the procedure. But for the state’s minority party it was a winning moment - after years of defeat.

Davis say none of that was on her mind when she laced up her running shoes and went to the Senate floor on the morning of June 25th to start the filibuster.

"I expected to kill that piece of legislation. I did not expect the efforts that the presiding officer and others in the Senate chamber that day would engage in to try and stop what has been a time honored, very respected tradition in the Texas Senate," Davis tells Agenda Texas.

The filibuster, and the subsequent debates drew thousands of people for and against the abortion restriction law to the Texas Capitol in June and July. Davis believes those that supported her efforts are rallying around more than just a woman's reproductive rights.

"It's evidence of a much larger and growing discontent that people feel their voices aren't being heard on a number of issues," Davis said.

Davis is considering either running for re-election in 2014, or making a run for the Governor's office. Democrats across the state have gotten excited about a possible run at the top of the 2014 ticket, especially since the minority party doesn't have any candidates signed up to run for state-wide office so far. So how does a rising star candidate say no to all that pressure?

"I wouldn't refer to it as pressure. I certainly feel that. I feel it more as encouragement than pressure. But I know that people are hungry to see someone step up and stand up for the values that we know are much more reflective of everyday Texans, of the things that they worry about and care about for themselves and their families."

You can hear the entire interview with Senator Davis here.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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