Judith Zaffirini

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Judith Zaffirini
Texas State Senate, District 21
In office
1987 - Present
Term ends
January 10, 2017
Years in position 28
Base salary$7,200/year
Per diem$150/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected1986
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Term limitsN/A
ProfessionBusiness Owner
Office website

Judith Zaffirini is a Democratic member of the Texas State Senate, representing District 21 since 1987.

Judith Zaffirini has served in the Texas Senate since 1987. She has been recognized for her near perfect attendance in session. She served as vice-chair of the Texas Democratic Party from 1984-1986, prior to making a (successful) run for the Democratic Party nomination for state Senate in 1986.

Education and career

Zaffirini has a Bachelors, Masters, and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. She also studied at Laredo Community College and the University of Houston.

She has worked as a teacher in higher education for over 13 years. She has been honored by the South Texas Press Association for her work in journalism. She owns her own business, Zaffirini Communications.

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Zaffirini served on the following committees:

Texas Committee Assignments, 2013
Government Organization, Chair
Health & Human Services
Higher Education


Zaffirini served on the following Texas Senate committees:




See also: Texas State Senate elections, 2012

Zaffirini won re-election in the 2012 election for Texas State Senate, District 21. Zaffirini ran unopposed in the May 29 primary election and won re-election in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[1]

Texas State Senate, District 21, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJudith Zaffirini Incumbent 67.6% 129,894
     Republican Grant Rostig 29.2% 56,032
     Libertarian Joseph Morse 3.2% 6,147
Total Votes 192,073


On Nov. 4, 2008, Zaffirini won re-election to the 21st District Seat in the Texas State Senate, defeating opponents Louis Bruni and Barry Allison.[2]

Zaffirini raised $1,944,621 for her campaign while Bruni raised $153,275 and Allison raised $0.[3]

Texas State Senate, District 21 (2008)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Judith Zaffirini (R) 129,802 68.22%
Louis Bruni (R) 55,480 29.15%
Barry Allison (L) 4,980 2.61%

Campaign donors


Campaign donor information is not yet available for this year.


In 2008, a year in which Zaffirini was up for re-election, she collected $1,944,621 in donations. [4]

Her four largest contributors in 2008 were:

Donor Amount
Charles Butt $62,655
Williams Kherkher $50,000
Wayne Reaud $31,000
Provost & Umphrey $30,000


In 2004, a year in which Zaffirini was up for re-election, she collected $476,970 in donations. [5]

Her six largest contributors in 2004 were:

Donor Amount
Reaud, Wayne $12,500
Reaud Law Firm $12,500
Texas State Teachers Association $10,000
Texas Medical Association $10,000
Williams Bailey Law Firm $10,000
Texas Association of Realtors $10,000


In 2002, a year in which Zaffirini was up for re-election, she collected $407,047 in donations. [6]

Her four largest contributors in 2002 were:

Donor Amount
Perry, Bob J. and Doylene $14,000
Texas Dental Association $11,000
Killam, David W. $10,000
Texas Medical Association $10,000
H-E-B Groccery $10,000


Zaffirini's business and personal connections were called into question in 2009 by a Texas news Web site. The story remarked on Sen. Zaffirini's husband's work with the GEO Group, a private firm that runs over a dozen correctional facilities in Texas. Carlos Zaffirini defended the GEO Group when a county in her district considered suspending water and sewer service to their facilities on account of the company's reputation.[7] Zaffirini, as a state senator, has power over state contracts, including the lucrative contract with the GEO Group.


Empower Texans Fiscal Responsibility Index

Empower Texans produces the Fiscal Responsibility Index as "a measurement of how lawmakers perform on size and role of government issues." The index uses "exemplar votes on core budget and free enterprise issues that demonstrate legislators' governing philosophy."[8] Legislators are graded along a standard grading scale, receiving grades A through F based on their performance during the legislative session.


Judith Zaffirini received a grade of F on the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index.


Zaffirini is married to Carlos M. Zaffirini, a Laredo attorney. They have one son, Carlos Jr., who is also an attorney.

External links

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Political offices
Preceded by
Texas Senate District 21
Succeeded by