from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabe Valenzuela
(512) 463-0121
October 28, 2005

Child Advocates Name Senator Zaffirini Legislator of Year

(AUSTIN) - The Texas Association for the Education of Young Children recently (Oct. 21) named Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, "Legislator of the Year" for her leadership in early childhood education. Elaine Forrester, awards chair for TAEYC, presented the award to Senator Zaffirini at the organization's 41st annual conference in Austin.

During the 2005 legislative session, Senator Zaffirini passed 57 bills, including nine that related specifically to children. Among them were SB 23, which expands the Texas Early Education Model established by Senator Zaffirini in 2003 to ensure collaboration among child care, Head Start, Early Head Start, prekindergarten and after-school programs; and HB 283 by Rep. Ruben Hope Jr., R-Conroe, and Zaffirini, relating to anti-bullying programs in school districts.

"These bills are part of our efforts to enhance children's well-being," Senator Zaffirini said. "TAEYC advocates facilitate our passing legislation to help provide a quality early education and promising future for all Texas children."

Ranked fourth in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, Senator Zaffirini is vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee and a member of the Legislative Budget Board and of the Senate Committees on Education, Health and Human Services, and International Trade and Relations and Subcommittee on Higher Education.

She has served nine terms, including three as chair, on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee; six terms on the Appropriations Conference Committee that writes the state's budget; seven terms on the Senate Finance Committee; and nine consecutive terms on the Senate Education Committee.

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