Sen. Judith Zaffirini became the first woman dean of the Senate in almost 180 years of Texan history. Sen. Zaffirini has served as the Texas Senate’s second longest serving member for the past 16 years, earning her the unofficial “dean-in-waiting” title. Her appointment Dec. 31, 2023, follows Sen. John Whitmire’s resignation to accept the role as the mayor of Houston.
When Sen. Zaffirini won her election in 1986, she became a trailblazer for women serving in the Texas Senate. She was the seventh woman to ever hold a seat at the time. According to Sen. Zaffirini, “Only 24 women have served in the Texas Senate with 952 men, including the four Democratic and four Republican women who serve today.”
Her career reflects an enduring work ethic. Since joining the Senate, Sen. Zaffirini has passed 1,388 bills and cast 72,132 consecutive votes as of 2023. She holds a perfect voting record spanning 38 years – both a state and national record. She has amassed more than 1,200 awards and honors for her accomplishments.
Since joining the Texas Senate, Sen. Zaffirini has held a platform that champions quality healthcare, economic growth, job creation, and affordability for higher education. As the new dean, the senator says she hopes to “promote bipartisanship and friendship and to honor the cherished traditions, values and efficiencies of the legislative body.
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Photo courtesy of the Texas Senate.