Speakers

Transitions Conference

Senator Florence Shapiro
District 8

Florence Shapiro began her career in the Texas Senate in 1993. A former small business owner, her journey into Texas politics began years prior and miles away from the Texas Capitol. While she's been a highly effective advocate on behalf of her constituents in District 8, her career in public service spans four decades. As a former public school teacher, she first entered elective office as a Plano City Council member. Following six terms on the Council, she was elected Mayor of Plano. During this time, she also served as President of the Texas Municipal League and the North Texas Council of Governments.

Senator Shapiro's issues while serving in the Senate have been many. A champion of children, she passed landmark legislation to protect against sexual predators. Her series of bills known as Ashley's Laws, protects against, adjudicates, and punishes sex offenders whose victims are children. These laws, which went into effect in 1995, were national benchmarks, and Senator Shapiro continues to dedicate herself to improving the safety and security of our children.

In 1999, Senator Shapiro became chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee and committed herself to the issue of transportation, creating the first fund for Texas mobility.

In 2003, the Senator became chair of the Senate Education Committee, where she passed legislation to overhaul the state's school finance system. Her landmark legislation, House Bill 1, significantly lowers property taxes, provides more money for schools, along with a teacher pay raise and the first-ever incentive pay program, educational reforms at the high school level to promote college readiness and curb dropouts, and more meaningful accountability for schools.

Her consistent leadership over the years has earned the Senator many honors. Senator Shapiro was recently honored by Dallas Can! Academy with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The Academy, a non-profit organization giving young Texans a second chance through relationship-based education, presented the award to the Senator at the Academy's 17th Annual Motherhood Luncheon. Senator Shapiro was recognized for her outstanding contributions to education and her work to improve the lives of children across Texas while also showing great dedication to her family and community. Prior to this recognition, she was named to the Legislative Honor Roll by the Texas Association of Realtors, was awarded Inside Collin County Business's Celebration of Enterprise Award for the public official business partner of the year, the Government Technology Conference's Bob Bullock Award for Public Stewardship, Girl Scouts of the USA Tejas Council's Real Women Award, and the Outstanding Service Award from Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.

Today, the Senator serves as Texas representative to The Council of State Governments (CSG) Education Policy Task Force. She also serves on the Southern Regional Education Board and the Education Commission of the States, coalitions of elected officials and education leaders that address issues such as long-range planning, policy proposals, and the advancement of education among the states. Senator Shapiro is also an appointee to the Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council, Co-Chair of the Study Commission on Region C Water Supply, and a member of the Standing Committee on Education for the National Conference of State Legislators.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Senator Shapiro holds a bachelor's degree in secondary education. In addition to chairing the Senate Education Committee, she currently serves on the Senate Committees on Finance; Transportation and Homeland and Security; and Administration.

She and her husband, Howard, live in Plano. They have three children and nine grandchildren.