Skip to main content

Wendy Davis: It's the real Texans who count

By Wendy Davis, Special to CNN
July 12, 2013 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Wendy Davis says her filibuster was to get Republicans to listen to women of Texas
  • Davis: Enough to using Texas as a political laboratory for testing far-right ideas.
  • Davis: Enough to using Texas as a workshop for giving millions to corporations
  • She says state politicians have cut health care, education, reproductive rights to the bone

Editor's note: Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat, was elected to the Texas Senate in 2008 and lives in Fort Worth.

(CNN) -- I stood up and began talking on the floor of the Texas State Senate not long ago because I hoped the Republicans in power would listen to how their latest cruel health care proposal would hurt the women of Texas.

Simply put, this bill would take away access to the most fundamental form of health care women need.

It would close down almost 90% of the women's clinics in this state. This comes after more than 50 women's health clinics providing cancer screening and family planning services were closed because the Republicans withdrew state-financed support from them. We now have 42. Under this draconian proposal, a state as expansive as Texas would have only five clinics remaining to serve thousands and thousands of women.

Wendy Davis
Wendy Davis

Real Texans don't want any woman to die of cancer because she can't get decent health care or medical advice. Real Texans don't want any woman to lose control of her life because she can't get birth control.

During the filibuster, women around the state related thousands of personal stories to me: One young woman said contraceptives gave her a chance to choose motherhood when she was ready. Women were helped by a clinic with the difficult and highly personal decision to end a pregnancy. Another woman said a clinic had helped comfort her when a much-wanted baby was dying inside her.

The "people's filibuster" that put a temporary stop on the misguided bill that powerful Republicans are still intent on ramming through will long be remembered as the moment when regular Texans -- real Texans -- stood up and said "enough" to the self-interested politicians who have run our state for too long.

Showdown over abortion in Texas
Perry: Filibuster senator was a teen mom

Enough to using Texas as a political laboratory for testing far-right ideas.

Enough to using Texas as a workshop for fattening the wallets of their special interest friends and supporters.

And enough of politicians listening only to each other, rather than real Texans.

There are important issues that desperately need the attention of the politicians who are -- at least for now -- in charge of our state.

Sadly, Gov. Rick Perry and his powerful allies don't seem interested.

They don't identify with the strong Texans who live in the town of West, where an unregulated, unmonitored fertilizer plant blew up, taking lives and destroying livelihoods. Because of a lack of state oversight, the small volunteer fire department that rushed to help didn't know the degree of danger they were facing.

They paid with their lives.

Real Texans believe in looking out for each other.

We believe in honoring our mothers and fathers and keeping our smallest residents -- our children -- healthy. The politicians in charge of Texas now clearly don't. Perry has refused to even consider expanding health care coverage in Texas because he cares more about scoring political points than he does about our Texas families.

Real Texans help when their neighbor is in need.

Texas Republican political leaders take perverse pride in how deeply they have cut our state's education budget. Thousands of teachers have been pulled from classrooms, schools have closed and valuable programs have been canceled. In many places, districts are forced to choose between prekindergarten programs and English, algebra and art.

Real Texans want their kids to have the best education possible, not the one politicians looking to brag about budget cuts have left us with.

My first filibuster, two years ago, was an attempt to protect our schools and our children from these reckless cuts. Republican leaders rewarded me for my efforts by removing me from the powerful Senate Education Committee.

I had to fight unfair Republican redistricting efforts when they tried to make the district I represent disappear.

Now, Texas Democratic legislators are fighting hard to pass an equal pay for equal work bill, something that is crucial to the many families that rely on income from dad and mom.

But then real Texans have never been afraid of a good fight.

That's what happened at our State Capitol during the filibuster, when real Texans -- ultimately --decided to make their voices heard.

I have a question for Perry and the state's powerful politicians who have ignored real Texans for so long:

Can you hear us now? And, more important, are you listening?

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Wendy Davis.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 27, 2014 -- Updated 0127 GMT (0927 HKT)
The ability to manipulate media and technology has increasingly become a critical strategic resource, says Jeff Yang.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)
Today's politicians should follow Ronald Reagan's advice and invest in science, research and development, Fareed Zakaria says.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Artificial intelligence does not need to be malevolent to be catastrophically dangerous to humanity, writes Greg Scoblete.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
Historian Douglas Brinkley says a showing of Sony's film in Austin helped keep the city weird -- and spotlighted the heroes who stood up for free expression
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Tanya Odom that by calling only on women at his press conference, the President made clear why women and people of color should be more visible in boardrooms and conferences
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
When oil spills happen, researchers are faced with the difficult choice of whether to use chemical dispersants, authors say
December 25, 2014 -- Updated 0633 GMT (1433 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2312 GMT (0712 HKT)
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
ADVERTISEMENT