from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

Contact: Larkin Tackett
(512) 463-0121
May 23, 2006

Statement from Senator Judith Zaffirini Regarding the Death of U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen

(LAREDO) -- I am saddened deeply by our loss of a Texas titan, U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen. He was as distinguished and accomplished a leader from the local to the international arenas as he was a true and loyal friend to countless persons from diverse communities.

Because he carried the South Texas banner in the U.S. Senate, Laredoans named him Mr. South Texas. As Chair of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, he held a hearing in Laredo and heard testimony for a School of International Trade. He immediately championed it, and when he became U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, he ensured the proposal transitioned into the Center for Western Hemispheric Trade at Texas A&M International University.

My husband, Carlos, and I will miss him dearly, for he was a wonderful and trusted friend. Carlos was his Webb County Coordinator, and we co-hosted a fundraiser for him in 1982. Senator Bentsen endorsed me when I first ran for the Texas Senate in 1986 and allowed me to use his name in my printed materials and phone bank message. His endorsement made a difference. For this I will always be grateful.

Senator Bentsen possessed the characteristics and qualities that every public official should embody. He was as honest as he was hard-working, and as determined as he was fair.

Texas, our nation and the entire world lost a tremendous leader. In South Texas, we lost one of our greatest native sons.