Wendy Davis is the Democratic candidate for governor of Texas and author of a new memoir, Forgetting to Be Afraid.
From her Q & A with Jill Filipovic at Cosmopolitan:
How does your life experience, including ending a pregnancy but also growing up poor and the many other details in your book, inform your views and shape what kind of leader you are?--Marshal Zeringue
My story is similar to so many. The challenges I faced are similar to so many challenges that people in my state face: going to work when I was 14 to help my mother, who had a very limited education and was left as the primary financial support of her four young children. Finding myself a single mom when I was very young. Feeling the disappointment in myself for getting off track; feeling frustrated that I didn't know how to get back on track. Understanding the experience of standing at the grocery store when you have to put groceries back because you don't have enough money; understanding what it's like to come home and have your electricity turned off, even though you're working as hard as you can. I know there are people in our state who confront these challenges every day.
My path out of that was education. While a lot of folks know about my fight in the reproductive rights arena, they may not know about what a strong fighter I've been in education. My first filibuster was to try to stop $5.5 billion in cuts to public schools. My fight for equal pay for equal work for women in our state has of course been informed by my own personal experiences. My position and desire as governor to move our state forward with an increase in the minimum wage is informed by my experiences. My fight in consumer reform too — I have been unafraid to take on some of the biggest bullies in the Texas capital, the payday lenders, the electricity arena, and the insurance arena. I've taken them on because I understand how families can be made or broken based on whether they're treated fairly. I am a product of my life experience. The legislator I've become, and the governor I will be, is all informed by that.
How have you felt about the various responses to your memoir, positive and negative?
I don't read them. I let...[read on]