10:55pm

Wed August 14, 2013
The Valley

State Sen. Wendy Davis Wows Pitkin Democrats

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis.
Credit Elise Thatcher

A Texan stole the show at the Pitkin County Democrats’ annual fundraising dinner last night. State Senator Wendy Davis gained national attention earlier this year when she held an all-night filibuster in the Texas legislature, over the issue of access to abortions. Last night Davis held the floor for a much shorter period of time at the Lazy T Seven Ranch.

The dinner started off with local and statewide politicians celebrating how many Democrats are in office. State Senator Gail Schwartz and State Representative Millie Hamner were just a few of a long list. And then there were cheers for new laws passed by the Democratically controlled Colorado state legislature. But really, everyone was waiting to hear from the special guest from Texas... State Senator Wendy Davis.

“My life today looks very different than it did thirty years ago, and honestly I can’t imagine, if someone had told me at that time that I would be standing in Aspen Colorado, speaking to a group of people like you tonight, that I would have possibly believed it.”

Davis described growing up in a home where every meal was a stretch, and how she almost repeated that cycle herself.

“I got married and divorced very young, and by the time I was twenty I was a single mom, living in a trailer in a very poor area of Fort Worth.”

Davis changed her life by going to community college and eventually Harvard Law School. The point of the story was to underscore a popular Democratic belief that education should be widely available. Davis also talked about relying on her local Planned Parenthood clinic for four years, as her main source of health care. And then she got down to business.

“Now while it may be hard to believe that beautiful, blue Colorado has something in common with beautiful... but red... Texas. You share a history with us, a long history of Republican control, and as Democrats who helped turn a red state like Colorado blue. You understand what it’s going to take for Texas to reach that point.”

Davis said she believes that could be in the near future for Texas. Blanca O’Leary is Chair of the Pitkin County Democrats. She said she pulled a lot of strings to bring State Senator Davis to Aspen. The idea was to show Davis there’s support for her in Colorado... and to invigorate Aspen area Democrats.

“We have a lot of very wonderful women, female leaders and and also women, female Democrats that really care a lot about women's issues.”

O’Leary says that includes men, too. Another one top order of business this year is prodding a member of the Colorado delegation to Washington to support immigration reform.

“A lot of phone banking for Congressman Tipton, to try to remind him that Pitkin County, Aspen, we’re part of his district also. I think maybe hearing from more of his folks that might help his decision making.”

Tipton is a Republican. And speaking of turning red places blue, area Democrats are still looking for a candidate to oppose Tipton in the next Congressional election. They’re taking applications.