The Texas State and San Marcos community is becoming acquainted with a new leader.
State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) spoke on June 20 to a crowded room of San Marcos residents, city officials and the Texas State community.
Zaffirini represents District 21, which now includes Texas State along with other parts of Hays County after last year’s state redistricting.
“I felt initially that I had to go to these new counties and apologize and say ‘I’m sorry that they did this to you,’” Zaffirini said. “But after this warm welcome I don’t feel like apologizing at all.”
Zaffirini has been in the Senate since 1987. She is the second highest rated senator and is chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee. She has cast more than 40,000 consecutive votes in her career as a senator and has perfect attendance in the senate.
“She is a public servant,” said Brian McCall, Texas State system chancellor. “She does things for the right reasons. She digs deep. She studies issues.”
, San Marcos city councilmembers and Associated Student Government President and Vice President and Alison Sibley were also in attendance.
Zaffirini stressed the need for bipartisanship within the senate during her speech, and praised Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for his work with herself and other Democrats.
She also spoke on her belief that education should be a priority in Texas, and that educational facilities should strive for excellence.
“To be perfectly frank with you, if I were governor, my number one priority would be to redefine education as a right, not as a privilege, to include early education so that all of our children can start first grade on an even playing field, and to include higher education so that all of the students of Texas can have tuition-free higher education,” Zaffirini said. “I believe that from the bottom of my heart.”
Texas State strives for excellence, which is evident in achievements such as the opening of the 38-acre STAR Park off McCarty Lane and Hunter Road, she said.
“I am proud to talk about excellence, and if you want to call me an elitist, go right ahead,” Zaffirini said. “That is the standard I hope you will always strive for and have been striving for at Texas State.”
Zaffirini said Texas State is Texas’ best kept secret in higher education, which will soon no longer be a secret under McCall, University Presidentand herself.
“It’s now time to strive for the next goal,” Zaffirini said. “I think that at some point, you all need to redefine your goal to become a national research university, the next level, one of the best in the State of Texas.”