Wendy Davis Repeats Empowering Personal Story While Greg Abbott's Remains Unquestioned

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In a strange yet all-too-familiar narrative today on twitter, minor details of Wendy Davis's life have come into question in light of a recent story in the Dallas Morning News that was published on Sunday.

The article in a strange circular motion goes back and forth discussing the minor details of Wendy Davis's early life. The story mentioned that she actually was not officially divorced until she was 21, although under oath she said she was 19.

In fact Wendy was separated from her spouse and in effect living as a single mom at the age of 19. However, this Buzzfeed worthy gaffe has apparently made Wendy Davis a liar by Republicans, despite the fact that although not officially divorced, she was in every other sense of the phrase, a poor working single mom.

Wendy stated, “At the age of 19 I was a teenage mother living alone with my daughter in a trailer and struggling to keep afloat on my way to a divorce. My story is not unique, it is the story of tens of thousands of women across Texas who struggle economically in the face of divorce.”

So she wasn't divorced but she was definitely a single mom. The Dallas Morning News even concedes that “The basic elements of the narrative are true, but the full story of Davis' life is more complicated, as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves.”

It also happens with anyone and everyone. The bottom line is very few peoples' stories, if anyone's, can truly be perfect under a spotlight. The only question is whether the media, along with Republicans and the Texas political consciousness, decides to shine that same spotlight on Greg Abbott's life story.

The Dallas Morning News piece also bizarrely brings into question her political ambitions through an anonymous source. The piece mentions that her ex-husband reportedly helped pay for her schooling. Whether this evidence is brought up to incriminate Wendy is not clear from the DMN piece. What is clear is the fact that these statements are made, and are even discussed is proof enough that, for whatever reason, a woman running for public office is held to a stricter standard than a man in Texas.

“I wonder who paid for Greg Abbott's education, or if his political ambitions affected his family life?” said no one ever.

Click below the jump to read Wendy Davis's statement as well as her early biography.


January 20, 2014

“We're not surprised by Greg Abbott's campaign attacks on the personal story of my life as a single mother who worked hard to get ahead. But they won't work, because my story is the story of millions of Texas women who know the strength it takes when you're young, alone and a mother.

I've always been open about my life not because my story is unique, but because it isn't.

The truth is that at age 19, I was a teenage mother living alone with my daughter in a trailer and struggling to keep us afloat on my way to a divorce. And I knew then that I was going to have to work my way up and out of that life if I was going to give my daughter a better life and a better future and that's what I've done. I am proud of where I came from and I am proud of what I've been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance. And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn't walked a day in my shoes.”


Wendy Davis Early Biography

– Wendy Davis' parents separated for the final time when she was 11, and they were divorced by the time she was 13 years old.  Even though the divorce settlement called for child support, Wendy's father was not able to provide significant income for the family.

– Wendy and her siblings were raised primarily by her mother, who had attended school only into the ninth grade, and whose own father had only a sixth grade education. 

– Wendy's mother worked at a Braum's ice cream store to support the family. Wendy started working at age 14 to join her siblings in the support of the family.

– Despite the financial struggles at home, Wendy was a good student and attempted to attend to college after graduating high school.  She was unable, however, to make ends meet economically, and left believing that a college education was just not available to her.

– Wendy left home at 17, married when she was 18 and had her first daughter Amber when she was 19.  She and her husband lived in a trailer, and Wendy continued to live there with Amber after they were separated.  As a single mother at age 19, she often struggled to make ends meet.  Wendy filed for divorce when she was 20 and she and Amber lived for a short time with her mother.  The divorce became final when she was 21. 

– After learning about flexible class options from a Tarrant County College brochure, Wendy discovered that she could get back into college.  She moved into an apartment with Amber and began attending classes while working multiple jobs.

– Tarrant County College gave her a gateway to higher education.  She excelled in classes as she worked hard.  She did well enough to get into Texas Christian University, which she attended with the help of financial aid and scholarships.

– While working at her father's dinner theater during college, Wendy met and later married Jeff Davis, a Fort Worth attorney. While married to Jeff Davis, Wendy had her second daughter Dru and continued to excel academically.  She graduated first in her class from TCU.  Wendy applied and was accepted to Harvard Law School. As Wendy has said before, Jeff helped her fulfill her dream of attending Harvard by cashing in a 401k and later they took out loans.

– While at Harvard, Wendy and Jeff arranged her schedule and that of her daughters, Amber and Dru, so that they could be together often. The girls lived in Boston during Wendy's first year.  In subsequent semesters, Wendy commuted weekly and Wendy's mother played a daily caretaking role to assist the family.

– Following her graduation from Harvard, Wendy came home to Texas, completed a judicial clerkship, worked as a successful attorney at the law firm Haynes and Boone and later worked as an officer in their family's title company.

– Ultimately, Wendy's marriage to Jeff failed.  The couple separated and shared custody of Dru who was still a minor. Dru lived in the family home with Jeff.   After sometimes contentious proceedings, the divorce from Jeff became final and the two parents shared custody of their daughters Amber and Dru.  Wendy was constantly present and sharing in the support and raising of her daughters as they grew up, attended college and have taken on jobs of their own.

– Wendy and her daughters remain very close.  She and Jeff Davis have a healthy and respectful relationship based on their mutual love of their daughters.


Annie's List Executive Director Grace Garcia released this statement regarding the personal attacks against Wendy:

“We're not surprised Republicans have attempted to undermine Wendy Davis' campaign by calling her past into question – we have seen similar attacks launched against women candidates before. The recent personal attacks on Wendy Davis and her family are blatant attempts to thwart her campaign and undermine her success. Just last week, the Davis campaign announced impressive fundraising numbers from donors in every county in Texas. Greg Abbott is running scared and for good reason. Senator Davis' personal story is a compelling narrative of perseverance and hard work that millions of Texans have responded to. It is appalling that Republicans would attack the details of that story rather than focus on the issues affecting Texas families. 

“Disputing the details of Wendy Davis' life is especially offensive to the many Texas women who can relate to her story. In trying to tear down Senator Davis' campaign and her personal story, Republicans are also tearing down all Texans who have overcome difficult circumstances. It's clear Greg Abbott doesn't understand Wendy Davis' struggles and the struggles of millions of Texans, nor does he want to.”


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