Wendy Davis, State Senator and Greg Abbot’s opponent for the office of Texas Governor in the 2014 election, stopped by Fernando’s Mexican Restaurant in Amarillo Friday evening to meet and speak to supporters about her plans for the state and her Texas Panhandle roots.
Senator Davis gained fame (or infamy, depending on ideology) in the 2013 Texas Legislative session when she donned pink sneakers and led an 11-hour filibuster to block the passage of SB-5, a law that would have placed crippling regulations on abortion providers across the state.
Ms. Davis spoke for almost the full eleven hours without eating, sitting, or taking any breaks. With only minutes left in the 11th hour of her efforts, it was ruled that Ms. Davis had gone off-topic and a vote was called for. Her assembled supporters were so incensed by the ruling that the resulting cacophony made counting the vote impossible and SB-5 was defeated.
Though Governor Rick Perry called the legislators back into a special session to pass SB-5, Davis’s popularity and notoriety skyrocketed.
SB-5 is currently being challenged in court.
Davis addressed assembled press in Amarillo on Friday evening and told of her grandparents who were longtime residents of Muleshoe, Texas.
“It’s great to be back in the Panhandle again,” said Davis, adding that she enjoyed the warmth of the greetings from the communities she visited.
When asked about Austin’s perceived tendency to “forget about the panhandle”, Davis said “I have family roots in the Panhandle of Texas and I have a special place in my heart for it. ... I think that we have to treasure every part of our state as a part of what contributes to what makes us who we are.”
“We have to make sure that we are refocusing our efforts on the needs of our entire state,” she added, “particularly in water and transportation infrastructure.”
Davis, a Harvard educated lawyer, has supported both gun restrictions and gun rights. On the Ft. Worth City Council she voted for restrictions, including disallowing gun shows using city facilities. As a State Senator she voted against allowing Concealed Carry License holders to carry firearms onto college campuses - but she also voted for allowing some college students to keep a gun in their locked cars on campus. She voted for tax exemptions for gun manufacturers and earlier this year expressed support for Open Carry laws.
Even before her famous filibuster, Davis was a quiet champion for women’s rights, voting against pre-abortion ultrasound procedures in 2009 and 2011. However; Davis noted that she would have supported HB-5 if not for some of the more difficult regulations. The provision of HB-5 would put a stop to abortion procedures performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy is something she agrees with.
Davis has called on Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop defending Texas’ ban on same-sex marriages. She has supported gay rights for years; on the Ft. Worth City Council, Davis voted for a nondiscrimination ordinance for sexual orientation and as a State Senator she wrote gay-friendly anti-bullying bills and campaigned against a bill that restricted trans marriage. She has worked on statewide non-discrimination legislation, she sponsored legislation to prevent suicide among young people, and has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign.
Like Governor Rick Perry, Davis has said she would support decriminalizing marijuana and believes voters should make the final decision on issues like medical marijuana.