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‘People are growing weary’: a Q&A with Sen. Wendy Davis

Posted Saturday, Jun. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A day after winding up a filibuster that made her an international media celebrity, Sen. Wendy Davis sat down with the Star-Telegram in her office to talk politics, her big night on the Senate floor, her sudden stardom, her exercise regimen, her aching back and assorted other topics. Here are some excerpts:

With all the attention and star power you’ve gotten, how can you not run for an office beyond the state Senate, for a statewide office. What are your political plans?

“Very honestly, I don’t know at this point in time. We, as you know, now have another special session starting on Monday, and I’m fully engaged in focusing on that.”

You faced a full-bore Republican assault in your re-election campaign. Do you expect an even more intense one from here on out?

“It’s been the reality I live in from the moment I announced that I was running for this office back in 2007. And I think it’s one that I’ll confront regardless of the office that I seek.”

What’s your reaction to the fact that Gov. Rick Perry called a second special session?

“I’m not surprised. Again, I wish we had done our work in the first special session and passed that first transportation funding bill. He would have saved taxpayers a great deal of money by doing that, and he’s chosen to create another special session at taxpayer expense.”

What’s your overall reaction to all the accolades and attention you’ve gotten?

“Of course, I’m completely surprised by it and never, ever could have predicted that the issue that we’re facing here in our state would become one that would receive so much attention.”

Whether you’re the standard-bearer, or someone else, do you think the Republicans’ days in the state leadership are numbered? Do think Democrats are poised for a resurgence?

“I can’t predict that ... but I do think that more and more people are learning that the political gamesmanship that’s being played here by some of our Republican leaders is one that’s pitting real lives, real people against the political aspirations of a few elected officials here in Texas, and I think people are growing weary of that.”

Gov. Perry will announce at some point whether or not he’s going to seek another term as governor. Do you think he’d win?

“I don’t know.”

Are you still concentrating on your re-election race for Senate District 10?

“I’m very focused on making sure that that district is well-represented going forward.”

I assume when you say “well-represented,” you’re saying that it would be you ... who represents it?

“That would be my honor, of course.”

Have you already started campaigning for re-election?

“I haven’t, because I’m here representing the people that elected me to represent them. That’s got to be my first priority.”

When you were a neighborhood activist, where did see yourself going? Did you think you were going to be a political figure?

“No. Not in a million years.”

Did you never imagine this kind of fanfare years ago, when you were starting out?

“Could never have. I get emotional thinking about it, honestly.”

What about your law practice?

“It’s suffering. Brian [law partner Brian Newby] is picking up the slack, and I can’t say enough about what a wonderful law partner he is and will continue to be.”

What is your exercise regimen. How do you stay in shape? What is a typical Wendy Davis day?

“I try to exercise every day. It doesn’t always work out that way. Running is my favorite form of exercise. But I like to mix it up, too. I do yoga. I take barre classes. I just took a spin class over at this new RIDE studio in Austin.”

What’s the longest you’ve ever run?

“I’ve never run a marathon. I just run casually with friends. The longest distance I’ve ever run is 13 miles. I run in 10Ks from time to time. Usually 5 to 6 miles.”

How did you prepare for the filibuster?

“My team is amazing, and the teams of my colleagues. Everyone worked together to put materials together that I could read from while filibustering.”

What was the brace that you put on?

“You’ll see people who have to be on their feet all day sometimes. Workers in the service industry wear those. People who load and unload trucks. Just a supportive back brace. Someone in my office went and bought one when they saw me rubbing on my lower back through the day.”

What was your reaction when you learned your side prevailed?

“Great relief.”

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