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Candidate for Governor Wendy Davis visits Borderland
By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO: Texas-- State Sen. Wendy Davis could be the next governor of Texas and stopped in El Paso the past two days to talk about issues that impact the borderland the most.
Friday, she sat down with KFOX14 reporter Genevieve Curtis to discuss what she'll do for El Pasoans and Texans if elected to the state's highest office.
She wasn't wearing her famous pink running shoes, but make no mistake about it Davis is hitting the ground hard on the road to the Governor's Office and plans to take El Pasoans with her.
"It's important to me, the voices of the people of El Paso, and making sure they are heard in central Texas, in that capital in Austin, Texas is tremendously important," said Davis.
Davis propelled into the spotlight after she stood on the Senate flood for 11 hours and filibustered a controversial anti-abortion bill this summer.
Now she's highlighting other key issues she wants to focus on in the Lone Star State. At the top of the list, strengthen public education, create jobs and take care of veterans.
"I believe so strongly in the promise of Texas, the promise that should be delivered by Texas that every child should have a world-class public education. They should have the opportunity to go to college if they choose to do so. Our economy should be and could strengthened throughout support of public ed. Of course, that we keep our promise to our veterans, if they serve us overseas and put their life in harm's way that they return to a job and the kind of mental and other health care services that they need," said Davis.
Davis said she'll also work to correct the image Gov. Rick Perry perpetuated of El Paso. The current governor made several public statements depicting the borderland as dangerous and compared it to a war zone.
"When we have a governor who is misconstruing the safety record of a community like El Paso, it hurts business it hurts the economy here and as governor I will make sure to correct that perception, so we can grow businesses here," said Davis.
Davis said she will utilize the office to accurately represent El Paso and what it has to office.
"I think one of the roles of the governor is to basically be the chief president of the Chamber of Commerce in Texas and to talk about all the great things Texas has to offer, particularly areas like El Paso," said Davis.
"It is a safe community, three years running, the safest, largest city in America and that's because the people in this community understand how to do thing right here. They treasure each other; they treasure their families and their family values. They work on keeping the city safe and it's a quality of life that many people should envy across the country and across the state. So I'll be a cheerleader for El Paso," said Davis, who spent part of her childhood in the Sun City and attended first grade here.
Davis said education allowed her to create a better life for her family and wants to give all Texans a fighting chance to improve their lives.
"I'm a fighter. I came up through a life of poverty, and made my way because of community college and then the places that it took me from there. I fight for what I believe in. I'm in public service because I believe that we have an incredible state filled with amazing people who want to be rewarded only for their hard work," said Davis.
Davis doesn't believe Texas is doing all it can for its students and she plans to change and improve the education system in the state. In the last legislative session Davis was part of a bill that aims to reduce the pressure on high stakes testing.
"I'm very pleased that I was part of a bill that we passed into law this session to decrease the pressure on students and to decrease the number of standardized tests they'll be taking in high school from 15 down to five. We still have more work to do in the middle school grades in terms of decreasing those pressures but that's part of it that's part of that role of governor that I would like to continue to play," said Davis.
Several local school districts in the borderland have been embroiled in cheating schemes including the massive corruption and cheating at the El Paso Independent School District. The borderland continues to try to move forward from the scandal and figure out how to prevent it from happening again. Davis said if elected governor, she will work with the Texas Education Agency to strengthen public education.
"TEA's role of course is to make sure all school districts are being held accountable to an ethic that they should all follow and TEA fell down on the job here and others fell down on the job here. Accountability flows all the way through our school system right now and we certainly know that students and teachers have been under the pressure of a testing regime that's created the kind of landscape for what's happened in El Pas," said Davis.
But the former council woman said she understands the importance of local control.
The state senator also believes in comprehensive immigration reform and the Dream Act.
"I stand for a comprehensive immigration reform. I think a governor's role is to work with the federal government to see that accomplished. We want to keep families together, we want hard working people who want to be part of the Texas economy to have an opportunity to legally do that," said Davis.
Davis, the daughter of a single mother with only a sixth-grade education, became a single mother herself at a young age. Education allowed her to navigate a better future for herself and her family, and wants all Texans to have that opportunity.
"I want to make sure that every child has the same opportunity in Texas that I had when I was growing up here and I will be a fighter for every student, every family, every woman and man in the state of Texas to make sure they are part of the Texas promise," said Davis.
At 21, Davis started taking classes at a community college; from there she eventually graduated from Harvard Law School. But, she said, something was missing.
In 1999, she was elected to serve on Fort Worth City Council, a position she held for nine years.
In 2008, she was elected to the Texas state Senate.
A Democratic state senator in a seat that was drawn to elect a Republican, Davis is no stranger to working to unite people.
"I work very hard to govern in a bipartisan way to be the kind of person who brings people together to collaborate rather than to confront each other and to fight. Sometimes there are things worth fighting for," said Davis.
For example: the Governor's office.