Dewhurst removes Wendy Davis from Education Committee

Posted Friday, Jan. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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AUSTIN -- State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who staged a filibuster in the Republican-led Senate two years ago to try to block more than $5 billion in education cuts, was removed from the Senate Education Committee by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who released committee assignments late Friday.

Davis, who survived a well-financed Republican campaign in winning re-election in November, has made restoring school funding one of her top priorities this session.

She has also been mentioned as a future candidate for statewide office.

"This is no more than an attempt by the lieutenant governor to silence a strong voice for public education on the committee," said Davis' spokesman Rick Svatora.

"By denying representation of the students, parents and instructors of southern Tarrant County on this important committee, the lieutenant governor clearly shows that he cares more about partisan politics than our children's future."

Svatora described Davis as "obviously disappointed" but said "this action will not silence Sen. Davis or hamper her efforts on behalf of public education."

Dewhurst, who presides over the Senate, released the assignments late Friday when most senators were in their home districts.

Lawmakers won't return to work until Wednesday, after the presidential inauguration and the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday.

"During this session, we will be focused on balancing the budget without raising taxes, improving public education and increasing highway capacity and drinking water resources for our growing population," Dewhurst said in a news release announcing the assignments. "I know that our Senators are up to the challenge to keep Texas number one for decades to come."

Davis, the only Democrat in the Tarrant County delegation, was named vice chairwoman of the Open Government Committee and was returned to the Transportation Committee and the Veterans Affairs and Military Installations Committee.

She will also serve on the Economic Development Committee with freshman Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, who was named the vice chairman, and Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury.

Sen. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, the Senate's senior Republican, retains her post as chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and will return to the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee. She also remains a member of the Senate Nominations Committee and, in a new assignment, will join Davis on the Open Government Committee.

Hancock, who was elected in November to replace longtime Sen. Chris Harris of Arlington, will also serve on the Administration, Jurisprudence and Transportation committees.

Birdwell, a former Army officer who was badly burned in the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon, was also named to the Higher Education and Government Organization committees.

Dave Montgomery is the Star-Telegram's Austin bureau chief.

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