AUSTIN (KXAN) — Erin Zwiener, the newly-elected Democrat to represent District 45 in Hays and Blanco counties in the Texas House, flipped her district blue after it was red for nearly a decade.
She says she was able to do it because she was present and met with people in the district. “I showed up and I kept showing up,” she said. “I started block walking regularly over a year ago and I kept it up through the election.”
Zwiener says her expectation that her district, which includes growing suburbs in Buda and Kyle, would show up and vote for her was right.
TIME Magazine featured Zwiener, who’s also a new mom, in an issue focusing on women running for office. She says she was happy to be a part of the huge number of women stepping up.
“Pretty much my entire life, there had been about 20 percent representation of women in all levels of office and I’m excited to see that changing,” she said.
Zwiener says being a new mom is giving the issues she wants to focus on, public education finance reform and property taxes, a newfound priority. “It has a way of making all of the issues feel much more urgent,” she said.
Zwiener may be a familiar face to fans of the game show Jeopardy. She appeared in a series of episodes back in 2012. “It was the culmination of a lifelong dream,” she said of her run on the show, where she won three times.
It also provided a boost to her political aspirations. “The only reason I could afford to put my life on hold and run is because I had won Jeopardy and had those savings,” Zweiner said.
Now as she prepares to take office, Zwiener says she’s hopeful that Texans will move beyond the divisive rhetoric that’s prevalent in politics today.
“We have to focus on core values. My core values are healthy communities, inclusivity and common-sense government,” Zwiener said. “If we can move beyond our agendas and talk about values, I think that’s common ground to find.”