AUSTIN — Neck surgery has sidelined Wendy Davis from her passion for running, but the Democratic gubernatorial candidate laced up her pink Mizuno sneakers once again Wednesday as she reminisced about wearing those shoes during the 12-hour filibuster that rocketed her to political fame on June 25, 2013.
“The filibuster one year ago today was validation that people do want and need someone to stand up and speak truth to power,” Davis told enthusiastic supporters gathered at Austin’s Palmer Events Center.
More than 1,600 people heard from Davis, Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Leticia Van de Putte, and other House and Senate lawmakers.
“They say a moment can't last... yet here we are,” Van de Putte told the crowd.
Davis and Democrats hoped this event would reignite the energy her supporters had for her during the 2013 filibuster.
“Your cheers and your voice raised the voice of every woman,” Van de Putte said as she recalled the filibuster.
Anxiety and emotion filled the State Capitol as Davis’ non-stop speech crept closer to midnight. She was trying to prevent a restrictive abortion bill from going up for a vote.
Davis and her colleagues succeeded in a political move that thousands witnessed in person, and many more watched online.
She ran out the clock on the special session, which killed the bill.
But Gov. Rick Perry called another session in which Republicans easily passed the legislation.
“We shook the Capitol to its foundations,” said Cecile Richards, national president of Planned Parenthood and daughter of the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards. “This November we’re going to finish the job we started last summer.”
Davis spent 24 minutes recounting details of that night.
“We would not be silenced then, and we will not be silenced now,” Davis told her supporters.
But she really wanted to reignite that energy from her supporters. With four months until the November election, Davis still trails her Republican opponent Greg Abbott by double digits.
“We’ve got more work to do,” Davis said as she urged her supporters to get out the vote.
On Thursday, Davis, Van de Putte and Abbott all speak separately to the Texas Classroom Teachers Association’s convention in Fort Worth.
On Friday, Davis and Van de Putte drive to Dallas to open the state Democratic Convention.