Texas Senator Judith Zaffirini was born on February 13, 1946, in Laredo, Texas. She is a Democrat. Senator Zaffirini represents the 21st Senate District in Texas. Zaffrini was the first Mexican American woman elected to the Texas Senate in 1986. She ran a grassroots campaign. At the time of her run for senate, she served as vice-chairperson of the Texas Democratic Party (1984-1986),and served as a member of the Democratic National Committee of the National Association of State Democratic Chairs. Her campaign focused on social and economic issues that would provide the security of the family and community.  For Senator Zaffrini, security meant job creation, economic development, adequate healthcare, education, and environmental concerns. Senator Zaffrini did face hurdles because of her gender. She relied heavily on humor to navigate biases. 

Title “Judith Zaffrini for Texas Senate”
Date December 22, 1985
Source The Seguin Gazette Exterprise
Title “Judith ZZaffirini announces state senate plans”
Date October 30, 1986
Source New Braunfels Herald Zeitung


Before becoming Senator, Zaffirini earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1980, Zaffirini gave a talk on “The Chicana in Politics” at the TCJC Northeast Campus (now known as Tarrant County College). 

Nancy Baker Jones and Ruthe Winegarten, Capitol Women: Texas Female Legislators, 1923-1999 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000) 

”Judith Zaffirini,” The Seguin Gazette Exterprise, October 30, 1985