AUSTIN, Texas – State Sen. Judith Zaffirini is back on the Texas Senate’s two standing committees that deal with education.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick chose Zaffirini to replace state Sen. Kirk Watson on the Committee on Education and the Committee on Higher Education. Watson, a Democrat from Austin, is retiring from the Senate at the end of April.

An educator with 13 years of teaching experience, including at college and university levels, Zaffirini has been on both of the Senate education committees before and is a past chairman of the higher ed panel.

“I am grateful to Lt. Gov. Patrick for the opportunity to serve again as a member of these importation committees,” Zaffirini said. “Promoting excellence within – and increasing access to – Texas’ institutions of higher learning always been been my passion.”

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini

Zaffirini, a native of Laredo, said she has long understood that the path to a college degree begins with quality early childhood education.

In a news release she noted that state lawmakers passed “significant measures” during the last legislative session that increased teacher salaries and promoted safety and transparency at Texas’ public schools and universities.’’

“We must build on this success if we are to ensure Texas has the best systems of public and higher education and all students achieve their academic goals,” Zaffirini said.

Zaffirini said she is looking forward to continuing to work closely with the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the House, her legislative colleagues, education leaders, students, and “everyone interested in championing excellence” for all Texas institutions of public and higher education.

She added that she wanted to hear from her constituents in Senate District 21 about education matters ahead of the next legislative session.

“Texas has some of the best schools, colleges and universities in the nation, and their continued success is critical to the future of our great state,” Zaffirini said.

Laredo Community College has honored Zaffirini with the Senator Judith Zaffirini Library. Texas A&M International University has honored her with the Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center. She also has an elementary school named after her in Laredo.

Zaffirini was the first Hispanic woman elected to the Texas Senate and is now the second highest-ranking senator, and the highest-ranking woman and Hispanic senator. She has passed more bills than any other legislator in the history of the State of Texas.