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Wendy Davis On Tough Political Campaigns And Sexism

Albert H. Teich /
Wendy Davis speaks to the National Press Club, Aug. 5, 2013 in Washington, DC.

For the first time in two decades, Texas Democrat Wendy Davis isn’t on an election ballot. She started off on the Fort Worth City Council, served on the state Senate, and then had an unsuccessful bid for governor.

She’s been on the campaign trail, recently – pitching for Hillary Clinton in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada -- which has its Democratic primary on Saturday.

Interview Highlights: Wendy Davis…

…On why the Democratic presidential race has been tight:

“Listening to the idealistic messages of Bernie [Sanders] can be very appealing. I think when you’ve been in the public eye as much as Hillary Clinton has, sometimes folks forget or take for granted the legacy, the book of work you’ve done.

She’s just been beaten about the last couple of years with Republicans understand she was the ‘likely’ Democratic nominee, and she’s weathered through a great deal of critique and criticism in that regard. I think they’ve thrown as much as they can think to throw at her, trying to weaken her, in the hopes that she won’t be the Democratic nominee and that’s definitely taken its toll.”

…On the generational split in feminism:

“I don’t want to say I’m troubled by it in the same way that Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem articulated. I feel like they articulated a position that somehow laid blame or anger at young women for being where they are.  

Credit The New York Times
The New York Times
The Feb. 16, 2014, cover of The New York Times Magazine focused on then-candidate Wendy Davis.

  …On media coverage of female politicians:

“That question [The New York Times Magazine headline “Can Wendy Davis Have It All?”] would never be asked of a man. It wasn’t just the title of the article, it was the way in which my achievements as a woman were somehow turned into a negative. It wasn’t just coming from men, that was the most disappointing thing, I was also feeling that scrutiny from women. Why had I not spent the kind of time that they felt I should’ve been with my children? I think this is what it means, sadly, to be a women candidate.”  

…On her future plans:

I’ve said in past interviews that I’d love the privilege of serving again [in public office], and I would, but if that doesn’t happen, I’m finding my voice.”

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.