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Senator Judith Zaffirini: District 21
Press Release
June 15, 2006
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121

(AUSTIN) - Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, received six awards recently in a wide variety of media categories from the Press Women of Texas 2006 Communications Contest. The items and presentations receiving distinction include her roasts of Senator Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and of Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst; news releases regarding legislation providing high school diplomas to certain military veterans and authorizing birth certificates for stillborn children; an educational advertisement that promotes reading; and her annual newsletter.

Founded in 1893, the Press Women of Texas works to promote awareness and education of professional standards in journalism and communications and provides valuable resources for women working within the communications field.

"I am very pleased to receive recognition from an organization that has worked so hard and for so long to promote professionals in the communications arena," said Zaffirini. In December, 2005, Senator Zaffirini presented the state's first certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth to John and Carolyn Nevels pursuant to Zaffirini's Senate Bill 271. The new law allows parents of a stillborn child to secure a certificate signifying that the birth resulted in stillbirth. Earlier that year, Senator Zaffirini sponsored and helped pass legislation honoring Texas veterans by authorizing school districts to award high school diplomas to those who fought during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and as a result did not complete high school requirements.

Zaffirini's news release titled Senator Zaffirini Presents First Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth won second place in the News Release category, and her release titled Veterans Who Sacrificed Own Education Honored by New Texas Law received Honorable Mention. Her roasts of Senator Ellis and Lt. Governor Dewhurst won second and third place, respectively, in the speech category. In addition to her news releases, Senator Judith Zaffirini Reports to the Families of District 21, an annual newsletter highlighting Senator Zaffirini's work in the Texas Senate, earned an Honorable Mention in the one-to-three color newsletter category. Targeting the 640,000 constituents who live in the 17 counties that comprise Senate District 21, the newsletter was sent to 176,000 households.

The senator has won more than 535 awards for her professional and public service work, including more than 90 for communication projects. Senator Zaffirini continues to receive awards for her public service and professional work. Awards received this year include the Texas Advocacy Award from the American Cancer Society, the Texas Hospital Advocacy Tribute from the Texas Hospital Association, and Senator Zaffirini was named an honorary nun by the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Ministries of Laredo.

Fourth in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, the senator is the namesake of 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 Program in Edinburg that focuses on fighting drug addictions of men, women and children.