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Wendy Davis on the Governor's Race, Her First Filibuster, and 'Forgetting to Be Afraid'

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT
Wendy Davis visited Austin recently for a book signing.

Days after asking the Texas Ethics Commission to look into the Wendy Davis book tour, the Greg Abbott campaign has filed a complaint with the commission, alleging that it's a violation of Texas law.

The Abbott campaign accuses Davis of using political contributions to fund the promotion of the book from which she is profiting. The Davis campaign calls the charge frivolous.  Charges of campaign ethics violations are not rare during election season, relied upon by partisans of all stripes to accuse rivals of wrongdoing. At a recent book signing in Austin, Davis did not speak to reporters. But Davis did stop by the Texas Standard studio to talk with host David Brown about her memoirs--and her decision to step into the political spotlight.

Here are the interview highlights:

Why her 2013 filibuster on abortion was successful:

"[It was] the power of social media, in large part. But also the subject matter. It's so deeply personal and seen by so many as the ultimate of government intrusions. There was a combination of not only an extraordinary number of people in the Capitol, it created an awareness of an issue that really struck a nerve with a lot of folks who tuned in and made it a much more powerful day as a consequence."

Meeting Carole Wall, whose abortion story made her cry on the Capitol floor:

"Her sorrow, her tragedy was one that was hauntingly familiar to was a shared experience of deep sorrow that Carole and I have, and so many other families experience having to make a difficult decision."

"I met her today. She's a very brave person. She told me that she hadn't been willing to come forward publicly with her story until that bill...she gave me the courage to tell my own story as well.

Why other national issues aren't moving the political needle in Texas:

"I think that Texas has become a place where the gerrymandering effects of re-districting over the last couple of decades have created a climate where only primary elections matter, and we aren't really having an opportunity to test in a general election context what the real values of everyday Texans are. It was one of the reasons I was so committed to running for governor."

"Respect for marriage equality, certainly respect for reproductive rights and support for women's healthcare in general, support for equal pay for equal work for women, support for making sure that folks in our state who are working hard can earn a livable wage. These things matter to Texans across this state."

On her sense of urgency in the final stretch of the campaign:

"I would only say to those who believe that somehow that [personal] fire went away, that...because of my own journey, because of the difference that education made in my life taking me from that single mom who couldn't pay her light bill through community college and putting me squarely where I am today, I am deeply committed to making sure that every child in this state has the ability to tell the same story that I can tell if they're willing to work hard enough."

"I am committed to restoring the voice of everyday, hard-working people to the Texas Capitol. I tell folks all the time that if I'm elected as their governor, they won't need a high-paid lobbyist to represent them there, because there voices will be there. Because I am them."

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
Intern for Texas Standard
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