Speaking in a tight space in a room packed with students, former State Sen. Wendy Davis discussed her failed gubernatorial campaign and the issues Texas faces at a Tejas Club Coffee conversation Thursday night.
During the conversation, Davis detailed how her campaign was a turning point in state politics and how she hoped to inspire young people to not only turnout at the ballot box but to also run for office one day.
“We’re such a cocky bunch of people, we ought to be shouting every time we have the opportunity to go shout at the ballot box,” Davis said. “It’s really incumbent upon us to help people cut through the feeling that their voices don’t matter.”
Davis, a former city council member from Fort Worth, unseated incumbent Republican Kim Brimer of Senate District 10 in an upset that shocked many political observers throughout the state.
Davis later gained national fame in progressive circles after she spent 13 hours filibustering an anti-abortion bill, and the state party pushed her to run for governor when incumbent Gov. Rick Perry stepped down in 2013.
During the conversation, Davis expressed her disappointment in the state’s refusal to accept Syrian refugees and the recent decision from Attorney General Ken Paxton to sue the federal government in the hopes of keeping refugees out of the state.
Franz Belz, a German biomedical engineering junior, said he constantly hears negative views about Texas from his relatives that do not represent the message Davis was showing Thursday night.
“We often look silly in our stances on important issues,” Belz said. “I can’t help but agree with her that it is sad that we’re putting on a face that we’re not accepting refugees.”
Undeclared sophomore Chloe Gomez said the issues Davis touched on showed just how important her campaign was to progressives throughout the state.
“Just hearing that she’s still in Texas being a liberal woman, fighting for rights for women everywhere — I think that’s such a good thing for people to see in Texas,” Gomez said.
Throughout her talk, Davis described how her political career has left her with tough skin and a love for her state — factors that one day may compel her to return.
“Look at each battle scar you’ve earned as a tiny crack that will heal and make you stronger than you were before,” Davis said. “And, as we’d say in Texas, get back up on that horse and ride to see another day.”