from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Larkin Tackett
(512) 463-0121
May 1, 2006

SENATOR ZAFFIRINI NAMED TO LIST OF MOST POWERFUL TEXAS LAWMAKERS DURING SPECIAL SESSION

(AUSTIN) -- "Capitol Inside," an on-line news service, recently released its Texas Senate Power Rankings for the special legislative session that convened April 17.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst heads the list, followed by seven other Republicans in the Republican-dominated Senate. Ranked ninth, Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, is the highest ranking Democrat and Hispanic.

Written by Mike Hailey, editor of Capitol Inside, the article cited Senator Zaffirini's roles as vice-chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and chair of the Subcommittee on Capitol Funding for Higher Education.

"The majority of the highest ranking members are the same legislators who had seats at the tables where the high-stakes deals on schools and taxes were being negotiated last spring and summer." Hailey wrote.

As vice-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which must review the public school finance reform bills passed recently by the House of Representatives, Senator Zaffirini will play a significant role in determining changes to the state's tax structure, as well as funding levels for public schools.

"My priorities include providing an equitable school finance system; reducing property taxes; increasing funding for teacher pay raises; and meeting our transportation and bilingual and special education needs," said Senator Zaffirini. "I will continue to use my position to protect the social and economic security for families in SD 21 and to balance their needs and interests with those of our great state."

Fourth in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, Senator Zaffirini has won more than 535 awards and honors for her legislative, professional and civic accomplishments.

At the close of the 79th Regular Legislative Session, Senator Zaffirini also was named one of the 10 Best Legislators by Texas Monthly, and Gallery Watch named her among the top four senators.

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