For an interview with the Signal this week, Harris County Democratic Party Chair Lillie Schechter spoke with Texas politics legend and 2020 congressional candidate Wendy Davis.
Davis is challenging Rep. Chip Roy in Central Texas’ 21st District.
Among her top priorities are issues long-ignored by Roy such as healthcare, climate change, and gun safety. On the campaign trail, she said she encountered voters who referred to Roy as “Dr. No” because of his votes in Congress that run counter to what voters in the district want.
An example, she said, was Roy’s opposition to fixing the high tax rate for military gold star families, which enjoys bipartisan support.
Davis also criticized Republicans on health care for refusing to expand Medicaid in the state. “They’re leaving billions of dollars on the table that are our tax dollars that are basically not coming back home to serve us,” Davis said. She called the result a “crisis” in her district, which like many other areas of Texas, suffers from a high uninsured rate and rural hospital closures.
In 2018, Roy won his bid for re-election by a margin of only 3 percentage points, suggesting his district– a mix of urban, suburban and rural areas within and near San Antonio and Austin– is vulnerable to Democratic takeover.
In 2014, Davis ran against Gov. Greg Abbott during his first bid for the state’s top executive. When asked what advice she had for women candidates who lost at the ballot box, Davis said it’s something she speaks to young groups of women through, Deeds Not Words, a nonprofit for young women she founded that trains and encourages civic engagement.
“I try to encourage them to understand that every time we raise our hand and raise our voice and bring our presence into these halls of power we are making change bit by bit,” Davis said. “Yes, we may have lost before, but it doesn’t mean we are going away.”