|Texans from Nacogdoches to El Paso, from Amarillo to the Rio Grande Valley, came to support Senator Davis. Many said they had never been involved in Texas politics before but want change in Texas - now. They spoke frequently of the bright Texas they believe in but do not see around them now, and said they support Davis because they know she's a fighter for Texans.
Fixing Texas starts with education, Davis told the gathered.
She said that Texas needs "a leader who understands that making education a priority creates good jobs and keeps Texas on top" so that "success and opportunity is within reach of every single Texan and no one in this great state is ever forced to dream smaller instead of bigger."
Davis spoke of her 2011 filibuster against $5 billion in spending cuts to "already underfunded public schools" proposed by "failed state leaders". This "bought enough time for educators and parents to come to the Capitol in a special session during summer break and make their voices
heard" which led to the restoration of $3 billion this last session.
Only when Texas cares about Texans' success, Davis said, can our state live up to its promise. She told her own Texas story:
"By the time I was nineteen, I was already on my way to divorce, living in a tiny trailer with my daughter, Amber. I was barely making ends meet. And sometimes, they didn't," Davis said. "When I listened to my heart, I knew that things had to change. Then one day, one of my coworkers left a brochure on my desk for Tarrant County Community College...As I read about the classes they offered before and after work-classes that I could afford - because the Texas I came up in helped make it possible. I realized that I'd found the path I was looking for, a path to a better life for me and for my young family."
"I'm not sharing my story because it's unique or special. I'm sharing it precisely because it isn't. My whole life, I've seen Texans create better tomorrows for themselves and their families," Senator Davis said.
The "options are fewer" for Texas families today, Davis said - and she won't accept that. Our state is run for the benefit of a few, when it should be run for all Texans.
"In Austin today, our current leadership thinks promises are just something you make to the people who write big checks. But the promise I'm talking about is bigger than that. It's the promise of a better tomorrow for everyone. Texas deserves a leader who will protect this promise. Texas deserves a leader who will keep it."
That's the kind of governor Wendy Davis plans to be.
"Until the families who are burning the candle at both ends can finally make ends meet, we will keep going. Until the amazing health care advances being pioneered in this state reach everyone who needs them, we will keep going. Until every child from Longview to Lubbock to McAllen to Mesquite makes it to a stage like this, and gets their diploma, and knows that nothing will wash out the road to their future dreams, we will keep going. Until the corridors of power are the corridors of the people, until problem-solving trumps partisanship, until our state is "a lot less lone and a lot more star," we will keep going. As long as we can make this great state even greater, we will keep going," Davis said as the crowd joined her emphatically in declaring "we will keep going".
The only way for us to get our state's priorities right, Davis said, is to stand up and act right now.
"It's quite simple really, the Texas we need - needs you. I need you. I'm asking for your support. I'm asking for your help. I'm asking for your prayers. In the months ahead, I'll be asking for your vote. But mostly I'm asking you to dream of all that we can accomplish together."
"I'm asking you to believe that the best of Texas is yet to come," Davis said to raucous applause from supporters.
The atmosphere in and around the high school coliseum was jubilant. Hundreds of supporters lined up hours before the announcement, spoke about their hopes for Texas, and signed up to volunteer. They believe that Wendy Davis would be a governor for Texas, and that she can be elected. A poll out this week shows Davis within reach of Greg Abbott. The Abbott campaign to carry on the Perry legacy is widely considered to have stumbled out of the gate. The positive change Wendy Davis fights for is within reach.
Davis' website, WendyDavisTexas.com, is now live.
A fantastic day for Texas.
Davis has been added to Burnt Orange Report's 2014 election tracker. You can read BOR's liveblog of Davis' announcement here.