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by: Andrea Greer, NLC Houston Board Member
Wendy Davis, former state senator and Texas gubernatorial candidate, continues to promote progressive change across Texas; this time right here in Houston.
Speaking during the NLC Houston April institute, Senator Davis gave very candid remarks about her decision to go into politics, what it is like to lose, and what it takes to win. While she is best-known for her 2013 filibuster of an anti-abortion bill and subsequent run to be governor, she shared stories of some of her earlier races that helped fellows get a glimpse of her talent for understanding political dynamics and building consensus.
Her reasons for serving in public office are both simple and profound—she wants to be sure that everyone has access to education and the same opportunities that her own education made possible for her. She talked about redistricting and gerrymandering, sexism on the campaign trail, the day-to-day work of campaigning, and the challenge of staying true to one’s core values while trying to win a statewide race. Her advice for fellows who might consider running for office was practical and illuminating.
One fellow asked how Texas progressives can stay hopeful and motivated during tough times, assuring her that he planned to stay here and work here no matter what, since this is his home.
“I’m so happy to hear that you are staying, and committed to Texas,” she responded enthusiastically, noting that we have to build what we want ourselves and not wait for anyone to hand it to us. Senator Davis not only agreed to be part of the institute, but to mentor one of the Houston fellows. After her institute session and lunch, she then spent over an hour getting to know her mentee and providing valuable suggestions on next steps for the fellow’s capstone.
The fellows awarded Senator Davis with the first annual NLC Houston Stick Your Neck Out Award. The award, symbolized by a turtle, is a reminder of advice from Eleanor Tinsley, the first woman elected to Houston City Council. When anyone would ask Council Member Tinsley what it took to succeed as an advocate for progressive policies, she would remind them that they had to be like a turtle, because a turtle doesn’t get anywhere unless it sticks its neck out.
NLC Houston is proud to count Senator Davis as a friend and supporter, and we expect she’ll continue to stick her neck out on behalf of all Texans. We’ll be right beside her.
New Leaders Council is a 501 (c) (3) public charity dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders and to providing those leaders with the tools they need to succeed. NLC does not engage in political or legislative activities of any kind, does not support or oppose any candidate for public office, and serves only as an educational leadership training ground.
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