Highest ranking Hispanic Texas Senator Judith Zaffarini discusses her career, lack of Latino representation in Texas government

Sen. Zaffarini has been in office since 1987

SAN ANTONIO – For more than 30 years, Texas Senator Judith Zaffarini has been in office representing District 21.

“I work very hard for the people and with the people, and because of that we are very much in tune to the same issues,” Zaffarini said.

Zaffarini has a 100% voting record, has sponsored and passed 1,160 bills and has no plans on slowing down.

“Every session I want to do more,” Zaffarini said.

What some might not know is that Zaffarini is the second-highest-ranking senator, the highest-ranking woman senator and the highest-ranking Latino senator.

In 1987, when she was voted into office, she was the first Hispanic woman ever elected to the Texas Senate. While she is proud of that distinction she also wishes there were more Latinos represented.

“It was good a thing to be the first, but it was disgusting to realize how long it took and the fact that we don’t have more,” Zaffarini said. “It’s a very sad thing.”

She is now encouraging boys and girls of all ages to realize they can do anything they set their mind to and they could be the next generation of Latino politicians.

“If someone like me from a barrio called “El Quatro” in Laredo can grow up to be senator with a Ph.D., they can grow up to be governor,” Zaffarini stated. “So I don’t ask them to be like me. I ask them to be better. I don’t ask them to match my accomplishments. I ask them to surpass them.”

Hispanic Heritage Stories:

About the Author:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter.