AUSTIN — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, today (Wednesday) received a gavel from Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, commemorating her 35,000th consecutive vote in the Texas Senate. Her unique career-long 100 percent voting record extends from January, 1987.
Senator Zaffirini’s legendary work ethic also is reflected in her 100 percent perfect attendance in the Texas Senate since 1987, except for breaking quorum deliberately in 2003 to prevent an untimely redistricting that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (2006) violated the Voting Rights Act and disenfranchised voters in her Senatorial District 21. Her voting record continued because no votes could be taken in the absence of a quorum.
In 1997 “State Legislatures” magazine highlighted her 15,000th consecutive vote in an article titled, “15,000 and Still Counting: The Tireless Texan.” No one responded to the magazine’s request for information about similar records in any other state.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to cast votes that prioritize the needs and interests of the families of SD 21 and of Texas,” Senator Zaffirini said. “This milestone chronicles my continuous commitment to work as hard as possible on their behalf.”
Last January she began her 21st year in the Texas Senate as the second-highest ranking senator.
Sen. Zaffirini’s recent legislative successes include passing bills to improve the processes by which state agencies solicit and manage contracts with vendors, redefine planning for higher education, provide financial incentives for community college students to transfer to four-year institutions, create a respite care program for informal caregivers, prevent the online solicitation and exploitation of minors, expand early education and her Texas Early Education Model program, improve community living options for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and strengthen child passenger safety.
This year Lt. Governor Dewhurst appointed Senator Zaffirini to serve as Chair of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee, Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and a member of the Senate’s Education, Health and Human Services and Administration Committees. He also recently re-appointed her to a seventh term on the Appropriations Conference Committee that will write the state’s $153 billion budget.
Zaffirini is the senior senator for Bexar County and from the border. She has passed 515 bills and 51 substantive resolutions and co-sponsored and passed another 253 bills.