Press Release
October 6, 2005
Contact: Gabe Valenzuela
(512) 463-0121

(AUSTIN) - Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, recently received another national award from the National Federation of Press Women, this time for her introduction of Congressman Henry Bonilla as Mr. South Texas 2004.

The speech won first place statewide in the Press Women of Texas Communications Contest and second place at the national level.

Although Senator Zaffirini wrote the speech, a death in the family precluded her delivering it. Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, president of The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, read the manuscript for her.

She also won first place statewide awards for her introductions of Gary G. Jacobs as Mr. South Texas in 2002, of Doctors Francisco Cigarroa and Ricardo Cigarroa as Mr. South Texas 2003 and for her own remarks as Mr. South Texas 1999.

The senator has won more than 525 awards for her professional and public service work, including more than 90 for communication projects.

This year she has received 24 awards for her public service and professional work. These include the Public Policy Leadership Award from the Texas Transplantation Society and the Texas Renal Coalition and being named a "Champion for Social Change" by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and a "Champion in the Fight Against Drunk Driving" by The Century Council.

Texas Monthly again named her one of the "10 Best Legislators" for 2005, and five organizations named her their legislator of the year, namely, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, Texas Advocates, Texas Association for the Education of Young Children, Texas Organization of Residential Care Homes and the Brain Injury Association.

The University of Texas at Austin named her a Distinguished Alumna in 2003.

Known for her legendary work ethic in the Texas Senate, Senator Zaffirini also is an award-winning communication specialist and has 13 years of teaching experience, including at the college and university levels. She holds bachelor of science, master of arts and PhD degrees from the College of Communications at The University of Texas at Austin, where she achieved a 3.9 grade-point average in each degree. She owns Zaffirini Communications, through which she provides professional communication services, including consulting, workshops and seminars, one-on-one coaching, keynote addresses and writing.

Fourth in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, the senator has the following named in her honor: United ISD's Senator Judith Zaffirini Elementary School, Laredo Community College's Senator Judith Zaffirini Library, Lake Casa Blanca International State Park's Senator Judith Zaffirini Road and the Judith Zaffirini Woman's Program in Edinburg that helps women fight drug addictions.

"These honors reflect not only my staff's effectiveness and hard work, but also the cooperation and support of countless other persons," Senator Zaffirini said. "They underscore our commitment to do our best for the families of Senate District 21 and of Texas."