Wendy Davis talks to Texans during a Twitter Town Hall — from afar

Posted Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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State Sen. Wendy Davis reached out to Texans on Thursday, even if it was from Washington, where she was raising money for future political campaigns.

It was a virtual town hall meeting, and the Fort Worth Democrat answered questions on topics ranging from priorities for Texas and education issues to what her theme song would be during a half-hour Twitter event.

Top issues facing this state today “should be building [a] strong future for Texas through infrastructure: educated workforce, roads, water,” Davis tweeted.

At the same time, she said Texans need to continue working to improve education, such as investing in full-day pre-kindergarten classes, de-emphasizing high stakes tests and not pushing costly initiatives to the local level.

As for veterans issues, she said plans to keep college tuition benefits as a priority.

And when asked “what song best describes your kicking-a**-and-taking-names awesomeness,” Davis responded: “Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down.”

Davis has been in the limelight for more than a month, following her more than 11-hour filibuster that ended the Texas Legislature’s first special session, essentially killing a comprehensive abortion bill lawmakers later passed during a second special session.

She has previously announced that she will seek re-election to her Senate District 10 seat, where she already has at least three Republican challengers, but Democrats statewide and nationwide have encouraged her to parlay her recent national exposure into a bid for statewide office.

She set aside time Thursday morning to answer a dozen questions during the Twitter town hall that was facilitated by the Lone Star Project, a Democratic advocacy group. At one point, Twitter identified #askwendy as the top trending hashtag.

“Had a fabulous time with @ lsptex this morning answering your questions,” Davis tweeted at the end of the Town Hall. “Thanks to all who participated!

Raising money

Davis told a Washington fundraising event Thursday night that Texas Republicans are “entirely disconnected” from average Texans.

Speaking with a Texas flag hanging behind her at a bar popular with the capital’s hip crowd, Davis bashed Gov. Rick Perry and other Texas leaders for putting an extreme political agenda ahead of the needs of Texas families.

“Texas state leaders have broken faith with the very people who entrusted them with the rich resources of our great state,” she told dozens of enthusiastic supporters crowded into Local 16, a D.C. bar. “They now serve to enrich their friends and their own narrow political agenda, and not much else.”

The loudest cheers at the “happy hour” fundraiser erupted while Davis spoke about her marathon filibuster, which temporarily blocked a vast bill that Democrats said threatened women’s reproductive rights. She called the move “the people’s filibuster, that was more than a single act.”

“These weren’t just Democrats assembled,” she said. “Texans are seeing through the haze.”

Before Davis bounded onto the stage, Fort Worth’s freshman congressman, Marc Veasey, who has worked with Davis since her days on the Fort Worth City Council, praised his longtime friend.

“Imagine everything she overcame,” Veasey said of the one-time teenaged mom as he described her “courageous” rise to elective office. “Wendy’s done a wonderful job for Texas, and Texas is starting to notice.”

Davis is under intense pressure from national Democratic leaders to seek statewide office in 2014. At two fundraising events today, the Fort Worth Democrat didn’t speculate about her future. But she was accompanied by a VIP fan club.

At a morning $500 breakfast event at Johnny’s Half Shell, the guests included Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Patty Murray of Washington and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. In addition to Veasey, Texas Reps. Pete Gallego of Alpine and Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston also turned out for the event.

Jackson Lee said she would support Davis if she choose to run for governor.

This report includes material from the Houston Chronicle. Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley

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