Senator Judith Zaffirini is a communications specialist and educator first elected to the represent SD-21 in 1987. She is the second highest-ranking Texas state senator and the highest-ranking woman and Hispanic senator in the Texas Legislature.
In 2009 Zaffirini was appointed chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and is a member of the Senate Finance, Health and Human Services, Economic Development, and Administration committees. She is the first Hispanic woman senator in Texas to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate and as Governor for a Day, and has served on the Legislative Budget Board since 2004. She was also appointed to the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting.
In 2008 Zaffirini was named one of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" by Hispanic Business magazine, listed on “The Best of the Texas Senate” list by Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, and named “Señora International” by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
Zaffirini has sponsored and passed 581 bills and 51 substantive resolutions and co-sponsored and passed another 278 bills.
Zaffirini holds B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, each with a 3.9 grade-point average.
Zaffirini and Carlos Zaffirini, a South Texas attorney, have been married 44 years. Their son, Carlos Zaffirini Jr., is a graduate of the UT McCombs School of Business and the UT School of Law.