Judith (Judith) Zaffirini (D-21)

State Senator Judith Zaffirini

Judith (Judith) Zaffirini (D-21)
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Capitol: 512.463.0121
FAX: 512.475.3738
District: 956.722.2293
Room 1E.14 Capitol Station 1100 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
1407 Washington Street
Laredo, TX 78040
Residence:Laredo, TX

Committee Assignments


Occupation- Communications Specialist; 13 years of teaching experience Education- The University of Texas at Austin, B.S., M.A., Ph.D.; University of Houston; Laredo Junior College Legislative Experience- Senate Member- 1987 - present Hometown- Laredo Party- Democrat Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) represents the 21st Senatorial District. Re-elected in 2016 in a ninth landslide victory, she is the first Hispanic woman elected to the Texas Senate, the second highest-ranking senator, and the highest-ranking woman and Hispanic senator. Her appointments provide countless opportunities to champion the priorities of SD 21, the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale, which has generated billions of dollars in economic activity for our state. As Senate Chair of the Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus, Senator Zaffirini prioritizes the district's continued prosperity, and as Vice Chair of the Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee and member of the Energy Council since 2009, she promotes responsible, sustainable development of Texas' energy resources. She also helps protect and conserve the district's air, land, and water resources such as the Rio Grande, the Edwards Aquifer, and the Gulf of Mexico. Senator Zaffirini has received more than 1,000 awards and honors for her legislative, public service, and professional work, including more than 340 in communication. They include being inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame by Governor Greg Abbott in 2019; named to the "All Decades Teams" for the 2000s and the 1990s and 10 Best of the 2017 Legislature by Capitol Inside and a Hero of Hope by the Laredo Morning Times; and receiving the Mary Holdsworth Butt Award from Mental Health America of Texas and the Pinnacle of Achievement Award from the Center for Health Care Services for her legendary leadership for persons with emotional, physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. The Hispanic Sports Foundation for Education inducted her into the National Hispanic Heritage Hall of Honor. She received the "People's Friend- Lord's Work Award" from the Texas Observer, and The University of Texas at Austin named her a Distinguished Alumna in 2003; an Outstanding Alumna of the Moody College of Communication in 2016; awarded her the Presidential Citation in 2013; and inducted her into the UT Daily Texan's Hall of Fame in 2016. Texas Monthly has named Senator Zaffirini one of Texas' "10 Best Legislators" four times and given her the "Bull of the Brazos" award and an "Honorable Mention." She also received the Legislative Hero Award from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Godmother of Texas Children Award from Teaching and Mentoring Communities and was named a Legislative Champion by Texas oil and gas leaders. Interestingly, she was named Sister Judith, an Honorary Nun, by the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Ministries and Mr. South Texas by the Washington's Birthday Celebration Association. The senator is the namesake of Laredo Community College's Senator Judith Zaffirini Library and Texas A&M International University's Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, as well as of the Senator Judith Zaffirini Road and Senator Judith Zaffirini Elementary School in Laredo and the AAMA Judith Zaffirini Residential Center in Edinburg. Her son, Carlos Jr., honored her as the namesake of endowed scholarships at The University of Texas at Austin, Baylor College of Medicine, and Texas A&M International University; a grant program through which teachers pay their college student loan debts; and a patient suite at the UT Dell Seton Medical Center. He also established the Carlos Sr. and Senator Judith Zaffirini Access to Justice Initiative, which pays for bar review courses and exam fees for low-income UT law school graduates who, in turn, will represent low-income clients. What's more, the Beaumont Foundation endowed a scholarship honoring Senator Zaffirini and her husband at A&M International, where the annual Senator Judith Zaffirini Medal is presented to faculty and students who excel in scholarship and leadership. Dr. Zaffirini is a communication specialist with 13 years of teaching experience, including at the college and university levels. The South Texas Press Association has honored her for her distinguished career in journalism and public service. Press Women of Texas (PWT) and the National Association of Press Women have recognized her communications expertise repeatedly with awards for her publications, speeches, and public relations campaigns. PWT twice named her its Communicator of Achievement, and Junior Achievement of Laredo named her a laureate of its Business Hall of Fame. Through her business, Zaffirini Communications, she provides professional communication services, including consulting, workshops and seminars, keynote addresses, and writing. She also is president of the Mr. South Texas Foundation and of the D&J Alexander Foundation and of its two subsidiaries, D&J Alexander Investments and D&J Alexander Development. A distinguished communicator, educator, businessperson, and leader, she holds B.S., M.A., and PhD degrees from UT-Austin, each with a 3.9 grade-point average. A member of the Texas Philosophical Society and of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, her professional memberships include the Texas Press Women, International Communication Association, Texas Speech Communication Association, American Institute of Parliamentarians and Association for Borderlands Studies. Judith and Carlos Zaffirini have been married for 54 years. Their son, Carlos Jr., an attorney and businessman, and Audrey welcomed their first son, Asher Maxwell, in 2017 and their second, George William, in July!

Election / Personal Info

First Elected: 1986    Next Election: 2026
Spouse: Carlos M. Zaffirini   DOB: 2/13/1946
Counties Representing
Jim Hogg
La Salle
Live Oak
San Patricio