State Sen. Wendy Davis: Three Ways to Help, and Why She's So Important

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Last night, the District office of State Senator Wendy Davis was firebombed. A sole male assailant threw two molotov cocktails at the door of the office, which caused the damage seen at right. A staff member extinguished the fire. Read our coverage of the attack here.

For those of you not familiar with Wendy Davis, she is a crucial member of the Democratic Senate caucus.

Here's a quick primer on Wendy Davis, why she might have been the target of this attack, and how you can help her right now:

Davis' victory in 2008, ousting Republican Kim Brimer, gave the Democrats a 12th seat in the upper chamber. That's crucial, because the rules of the Senate — specifically the two-thirds rule — dictate that at least 21 of the 31 member body must vote to suspend the rules and pass legislation. Davis gave us a stalwart Democratic vote in a chamber where our members haven't always stuck together on crucial issues.

Davis is an unabashed champion for education and women's health. In the 2011 session, she filibustered the education bill until the clock ran out on the regular session, thus forcing Perry to call a special session. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported last Thursday that Texas Republicans have recently escalated their rhetorical attacks on Davis, “apparently for thinking Texas should rank higher than 49th in funding public schools.” She is also a strong supporter of women's health and family planning, voted against the mandatory sonogram bill, and speaking out in favor of Planned Parenthood and against the state's efforts to shut down the provider.

Davis' SD-10 was the target of redistricting chicanery by the Republicans to draw her out of her district by gerrymandering the 10th until it was unwinnable by a Democrat. Davis prevailed in redistricting litigation, as all sides in the Senate map settled on a district very similar to the one in which she won with 49.91% of the vote. Her victory in the courts stemmed from proving that the Republican legislature intentionally fragmented the minority coalition that makes up her Fort Worth district, specifically to prevent a diverse community of Hispanic, African-American, and cross-over Anglo (i.e. White Democratic) voters from electing a Democrat.

SD-10 is the only competitive Senate race for the Democrats this year. It is the only potential loss, and the only Republican pick-up opportunity. Republicans would love to get rid of Wendy Davis, a rising star in the state, an Anglo female Democrat, an outspoken supporter of public education, an advocate for women's health.

These attacks on public servants are an outrage. No matter the party, no matter the ideological position, no elected official or their hard-working staff members should ever be the target of this kind of attack. Molotov cocktails are not an acceptable form of political speech in America.

What You Can Do To Help Wendy Davis:

1. Send a note of support to Davis and her staff. Her office staff will pass on your messages of support. You can email her at her Senate office at wendy.davis(at)senate.state.tx.us. Let's make sure they know we're incensed by this attack on a public servant, and that we appreciate all the good work Senator Davis does for the people of Texas.

2. Sign up to help her re-election race.  Visit Davis's campaign website and sign up. This is going to be a very close race, and it's crucial for folks who can give their time do so to re-elect this important Democratic officeholder.

Let's show Senator Davis — and those who perpetrate these awful attacks — that we've got her back.

She's always stood up for our values, and now that her office has been the target of a attack, let's show her that we're still standing strong behind this stalwart Democratic leader.

Update 12:47 p.m. — Thanks to everyone who was so generous in their support of Sen. Davis. A news update from the Statesman tells us that the suspect is a homeless man who had previously visited the office. We hope this wasn't a politically motivated attack.

In the meantime, you can visit Wendy Davis's website HERE.  

About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Austin. In addition to serving as the president of Austin Young Democrats, she is also UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.

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