from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121
September 1, 2006

STATEMENT FROM SENATOR ZAFFIRINI REGARDING HER APPOINTMENT AS CHAIR OF HIGHER EDUCATION SUBCOMMITTEE

AUSTIN -- "Because higher education is my passion, I am delighted and grateful that Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst named me Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education, which is responsible for developing significant policies that will enhance our state's future.

This subcommittee plays an important role in expanding affordability, access and excellence in higher education. During the interim at hand we are studying formula funding, the Top Ten Percent Law and the state's progress in meeting the goals of Closing the Gaps. What's more, the subcommittee is charged with studying the costs of tuition and student fees; studying means to improve accessibility; and examining student performance and teacher preparation programs to ensure effectiveness. I look forward to continuing and fulfilling these important charges.

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst in February also appointed me Chair of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Capital Funding for Higher Education. Because of this appointment, I authored Senate Bill 46 and sponsored its companion bill, HB 153 by Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria. Both reflected $2.2 billion in total requests for tuition revenue bonds. Thanks to the leadership and support of Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, the legislature passed HB 153, authorizing 1.9 billion in capital improvements for higher education. This is the largest single investment Texas has ever made for higher education. I will continue to champion higher education when the 80th Legislative Session convenes next January."

Fourth in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, the senator is the namesake of United ISD's Senator Judith Zaffirini Elementary School, Laredo Community College's Senator Judith Zaffirini Library, Lake Casa Blanca International State Park's Senator Judith Zaffirini Road and the Judith Zaffirini Program in Edinburg that focuses on fighting drug addictions of men, women and children. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appointed her Chair of the Subcommittee on Capital Funding for Higher Education, Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee and to the Legislative Budget Board, and the Senate Committees on Education, Health and Human Services, International Relations and Trade, and Subcommittee on Higher Education. She will begin her 20th year in the Texas Senate in 2007.

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