FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2001
When the 77th Texas Legislature convenes in Austin at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 9, Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, who will rank sixth in seniority in the 31-member body, will be serving as the senator form District 21 for the eighth regular session.
She also will serve as the vice chair of the Senate Committee on Education and as a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, the Senate Committee on Redistricting and the Senate Committee on Administration. On Wednesday, Jan. 3, Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff, R-Mt. Pleasant, announced committee assignments and initially appointed Sen. Zaffirini to the Senate Committees on Education, Finance and Administration. On Jan. 4, he added Sen. Zaffirini to the Senate Committee on Redistricting.
"Redistricting is very important to South Texas. The Texas/Mexico border region is home to two of the fastest growing areas of the state, Laredo and the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission region. By adding me to the Senate Committee on Redistricting, Lt. Gov. Ratliff is assuring the families of South Texas that they will have a voice in the decisions that are made in Austin," said Sen. Zaffirini.
"By appointing me vice chair of the Senate Committee on Education and as a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, Lt. Gov. Ratliff has helped to further the agenda of the residents of Senate District 21," said. Sen. Zaffirini. "Our priorities are the education of our children and attracting more resources to South Texas."
Sen. Judith Zaffirini chaired the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services from 1993 to 1997 and the Senate Committee on Human Services since 1999. She also served on the Finance Committee under the late Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock from 1991 to 1998 and on the Appropriations Conference Committee for three sessions.
She has been a member of the Senate Education Committee since 1989.
On the first day the Legislature convenes, Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips will swear in one newly elected and 14 re-elected senators at a ceremony in the Senate Chamber. Lt. Gov. Ratliff will gavel the Senate to order and preside over the Senate. The senator from Mt. Pleasant was selected by his peers to serve as lieutenant governor on Dec. 28, after former Lt. Gov. Rick Perry resigned to succeed President-Elect George W. Bush as Texas governor.
"During the 2001 session, the first of the 21st Century, we will build on previous legislative successes while prioritizing issues important to Texas families and our state's economy," said Sen. Zaffirini. "The families of Senate District 21 share the same goals of families across the state. We want to see an increase in education opportunities for our youth, improved access to healthcare for our children, more protections for our elderly, a continuation of economic development policies that have generated opportunities to prosper, and protection of the environment in which we live and work."
Sen. Zaffirini was first elected in 1986 from a field of four Democrats and two Republicans. On Nov. 7 she was re-elected with a 2-to-1 margin district wide and a 4-to-1 margin in her hometown. This was her fourth landslide victory in which she carried all counties in the large and diverse district, something no one else has ever accomplished.
The first Hispanic woman elected to the Texas Senate and the first border resident elected to represent SD 21 in 20 years, Sen. Zaffirini is the only senator with career-long 100 percent attendance and voting records, having cast 22,302 consecutive votes since January, 1987. She has sponsored and passed 356 bills and 43 substantive resolutions and co-sponsored and passed another 153 bills.
Her legislative successes include passing bills to immunize all Texas children; fund a statewide system of emergency medical services and trauma centers; suspend the drivers licenses of drunk drivers; keep radioactive waste dumps out of SD 21; stop the proliferation of colonias; restrict minors' access to tobacco; and reform Medicaid, welfare, nursing homes, adoption and child support.