The world knows Wendy Davis as the state senator in Texas who filibustered for 11 hours straight against an bill that would restrict abortion. Unlike Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” she was not allowed to take a drink of water or go off-topic or even lean on the speaker’s desk.

What you may not know is that this was not her first filibuster. That was in 2011, when she filibustered against the mammoth budget cuts to public education of $5.4 billion, which crippled many schools and turned out to be completely unnecessary ( but the funding was not restored).

For her valiant resistance to the cuts, the Republican leadership kicked her off the education committee, but she continued to sit in on its meetings and even to offer legislation. She joins the honor roll today as a champion of American education and an all-around champion of courage in public life.

She knows more than most people how crucial education is, how it offers a lifeline to those who reach out for it. The following appears in the New York Times:

“My mother only had a sixth-grade education, and it was really a struggle for us,” she said in a 2011 video for Generation TX. She said she fell through the cracks in high school, and shortly after she graduated, she got married and divorced, and was a single mother by age 19.

“I was living in a mobile home in southeast Fort Worth, and I was destined to live the life that I watched my mother live,” she said in the video. A co-worker showed her a brochure for Tarrant County College, and she took classes to become a paralegal, working two jobs at the same time. From there she received a scholarship to attend Texas Christian University in Fort Worth — becoming the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree — and then went on to Harvard. “When I was accepted into Harvard Law School, I remember thinking about who I am, and where I came from, and where I had been only a few years before,” she said.”

Wendy Davis is a true American hero. She has tenacity and guts. She has intelligence and wisdom. That’s a great combination.

She never forgot where she came from or how she got to where she is today.

She doesn’t use her life experience to tell others to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. She uses her elected position to extend a helping hand. She knows what free public education meant to her. She wants to keep the promise alive for the millions of boys and girls in Texas who are counting on her.

She is only 50. What a great future she has before her.

Now that Rick Perry is stepping down, I hope she runs for governor.