|Full Name||Senfronia Thompson|
|Education||B.S., Texas Southern University; M.Ed., Texas A&M University-Prairie View; J.D., Texas Southern University; L.L.M., University of Houston|
Rep. Senfronia Thompson's legacy is one built from strong principles of faith, an unwavering defense of freedom, and a staunch belief in fairness. She exemplifies the American ideal that one person can make a difference.
Texas native Senfronia Thompson was born in Booth, Texas and raised in Houston. She represents District 141, which includes Northeast Houston and Humble. As the dean of women legislators, Rep. Thompson has the distinct honor of being the longest-serving woman and African-American in Texas history. A Houston attorney, Rep. Thompson is currently serving her 23rd term in the Texas House of Representatives.
Rep. Thompson received her high school diploma from Booker T. Washington High School in Houston, Texas. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Texas Southern University; a Master of Education from Prairie View A&M University; a JD degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law and a Master of Law in International Law from the University of Houston. Rep. Thompson is a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
After the loss of her daughter, Sarah, Rep. Thompson continued to provide a loving and stable home for her grandson. She has two sons, one grandson, one granddaughter and one great-granddaughter.
COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIPS
Rep. Thompson currently chairs the Texas House Local and Consent Calendars Committee. She is a member of the House Committee on Licensing & Administrative Procedures, the House Committee on Transportation, the House Select Committee on State & Federal Power & Responsibility, and the Sunset Advisory Commission. Rep. Thompson served on the House Select Committee on Mental Health.
She is the last founding member of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus still serving in the Texas Legislature. She is a member of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, the Democratic National Committee, Women in Government, the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative/Women (NOBEL/Women), and the House Farm to Table Caucus.
Her toughness and compassion in standing up for the "little dogs" has earned her the respect and admiration of many people from Texas and beyond. Rep. Thompson has achieved an impressive legislative resume. During the recently completed 85th Legislative Session, Rep. Thompson passed several much needed criminal justice reform bills to give first time non-violent offenders a "second chance" in obtaining employment and housing by allowing their records to be sealed; allow offenders to get their records expunged for certain misdemeanors at a much lower cost; require high school students to learn how to best interact with police officers during traffic stops; require law enforcement officers to take de-escalation training; and laws preventing persons from going to jail simply because they cannot afford to pay their traffic tickets or other misdemeanor fines.
Additionally Rep. Thompson, a breast cancer survivor, passed legislation that directs insurance companies in Texas to cover 3D mammograms, the most effective technology for early detection of breast cancer.
Rep. Thompson is the author of the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act, the Sexual Assault Program Fund, the Model School Records Flagging Act, the Contraceptive Parity law, the state's current minimum wage law, laws combatting human trafficking, laws creating drug courts, laws banning so-called "puppy mills", laws providing insurance coverage for anti-cancer oral medication, Texas' first-ever alimony law and scores of other reforms benefitting women, children and the elderly.
In 1975 and a sophomore member of the Texas House, she stood up in the fight against lung cancer and passed the first-ever statewide smoking ban bill, prohibiting smoking in elevators, theaters, libraries, museums, hospitals and intrastate buses.
In 1981, she passed a constitutional amendment to help an elderly African-American couple retain their farm after greedy coal companies, with help from the General Land Office, attempted to take it away from them all because the state negligently failed to properly record the title. Jessie and Malissie Johnson saved their tax receipts for over 50 years and their fight to keep their farm resulted in an overwhelmingly voter- approved amendment known as the "Jessie Johnson Amendment."
She sponsored laws banning racial profiling, the National Domestic Violence Hot Line and the Michael Morton Act, creating a fairer criminal justice system in Texas. She also authored the Chief Justice Jack Pope Act which increases funding for legal services to low-income Texans.
She has passed legislation aimed at protecting women and children against domestic violence, extending protective orders to last longer and enforceable within the entire state of Texas, increasing the penalty of sex offenders, giving rape victims a voice in the processing of their rape kits and fought to end sexual discrimination in the work place.
In 2005, she passed legislation requiring free testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV), an early indicator of cervical cancer.
Rep. Thompson pushed through major reforms in child support enforcement including the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act and the Uniform Child Custody & Jurisdiction Enforcement Act. She increased the amount of money nursing home patients are allowed to keep for their own personal needs.
She worked passionately for the passage of Texas' Equal Pay Act in both the house and senate. Although the bill was vetoed, Rep. Thompson remains committed to ensuring Texans receive equal pay for equal work.
A former public school teacher at Jack Yates High School, Crispus Attucks Jr. High, Marshall Jr. High and a strong believer in education, Rep. Thompson submitted an amicus curiae brief on behalf of North Forest I.S.D. that was favorably cited by the Texas Supreme Court when they declared Texas' public school finance system unconstitutional.
Early in her career Rep. Thompson traveled to Washington, D.C. at her own expense, to convince the U. S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Department of Education to investigate the discriminatory funding practice against Texas' traditionally Black universities. As a result of Rep. Thompson's tenacity, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern University received, and continue to receive, their fair share of federal and state monies to close the financial gaps in educational funding and to make amends for the years of discrimination they endured.
AWARDS AND HONORS
An award-winning legislator and acknowledged civil rights leader, Rep. Thompson, affectionately known by her colleagues as "Mrs. T", was inducted into the prestigious Texas Women's Hall of Fame on May 6, 2014.
Rep. Thompson has received the "National Sojourner Truth" Meritorious Service Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc.; the "Patient Care Champion" Award from the Harris County Medical Society; the
" Legislator of the Year" Award from the Texas Family Law Foundation; the "Prevailing Champion for Justice" Award from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition; the "Voice for Children" Award from Children at Risk; the "Legislative Hero" Award from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation; a "Friend of County Government" Award from the Texas Association of Counties; and the "Outstanding Service" Award from the County Judges & Commissioners Association of Texas.
She also received the Matt Garcia Award from the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus and was selected as an Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow by the Center for Public Policy Alternatives.
Rep. Thompson has been named one of Texas Monthly magazine's "Top 10 Best Legislators". In June 2017, the magazine described Rep. Thompson as "a force of nature and a living argument against term limits."
The Nation magazine named her one of 8 state legislators in the country " who provide examples of leadership that Democrats in Congress ought to emulate."
Rep. Thompson is the only recipient of the Rosa Parks Award from the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, inscribed with these fittingly gracious words and a true compliment to a dedicated public servant: "Your hard-won statewide reforms are made only more remarkable by the obstacles you have overcome. Your peers laud your achievements and future generations will not forget your contributions."
Information in this bio was provided by Thompson's office.
Last updated: Aug. 8, 2017