I've been a fan of freshman State Sen. Wendy Davis since I interviewed her last year at the state Democratic convention. You could tell she was smart and ambitious, and if given the chance could really go places. I've been happy with her actions so far in her first session - as this nice profile note, she has not been timid about making noise and getting stuff done. She's also duly impressed her colleagues:
Senators in both parties, as well as outside analysts, describe the Harvard-educated lawyer as an energetic hard worker who meticulously researches the issues and displays an independent streak. Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, chairman of the Transportation and Homeland Security Committee on which Davis serves, is a big admirer, saying she is on track to become "one of the Senate's very top leaders in a very short period of time."
"I've been here 20 years," he said. "She appears to me to be one of the brightest and most capable freshmen I've seen to date."
Davis, 45, works closely with Republicans Sens. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound and Chris Harris of Arlington, the two other senators who represent parts of Tarrant County, although she and Nelson split on a major transportation funding bill backed by North Texas political leaders. Davis, who was heavily involved in transportation on the Fort Worth council, has been a leading advocate of the funding bill while Nelson has opposed it.
In addition to Carona, Davis says her other mentors in the Senate are Democrats Kirk Watson of Austin, Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso and Rodney Ellis of Houston.
"If you look at the agenda that they pursue, they're very much in keeping with what I believe is important," she said in taking stock of her record with five weeks left in the session. "If I could put a label on the agenda I brought here, I'd call it a populist agenda. . . . I feel good that we've advanced the discussion on some important issues, and we've had some success already."
My favorite bit in the story has to be this:
Since January, [Davis] has been a dependable Democratic vote on some of the chamber's more divisive issues, prompting at least one ardent conservative to long for the days when a Republican held the seat.
"Obviously, we have subtracted one vote from the right, and now have one vote on the left on those key issues that separate our parties," said Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston. As a result, Patrick says, he has been unable to bring up his "informed consent" bill that would require women getting an abortion to undergo an ultrasound. "Not having a Brimer here has cost me an important vote," Patrick said.