DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The stage is set for Texas history to be made Friday night in Dallas. State Democrats will formally hear from nominees at the top two spots on the ticket who are women.

Texas has had only two female governors; Anne Richards was the latest, serving from 1991-1995. But this is an era when women’s issues drive political discussions. And the women’s caucus at the Democratic Party State Convention in Dallas got a taste of the energy needed to drive the party toward the election when both top candidates spoke.

Appearing casual and relaxed, Wendy Davis promised to break a drought — the kind that hasn’t seen a Democrat sit in the governor’s chair for two decades. “And we’re going to do it because we’re not afraid of hard work, we’ve never been afraid of hard work. So we’re going to do it this time not just because we’re going to work harder than we ever have, we’re going to do it because we believe it can be done, and belief is half the battle, as you know.”

Davis briefly touched on the filibuster last year that rocketed her to national prominence. “But those words were formed from a lot of listening; many, many, many years of listening.” And she promised as governor she would do more listening than what she claimed Republicans currently do. “It’s someone (Davis speaking of herself) who sits in that governor’s office who’s listening, who knows how to listen, and who knows how to be a voice for all the hard-working people in this state.”

State Senator Leticia Van de Putte — number-two on the ticket — roused the crowd by telling them women like her persevered over generations of male-dominated prejudice… by being fully female.

“We bring value to our families,” Van de Putte told the audience. “We bring value to our workplace, we bring value to our government, we bring value to this state and the Republicans just don’t get it!”

Still, it’s Davis who brings the star power. Because of her filibuster a year ago, including some of its baggage.

“Republicans would love to label her ‘Abortion Barbie,” said long-time Dallas County judge and former Congressional candidate Ron Chapman. Chapman has lived in East Texas the past decade but stays active in state politics. He and fellow state democrats will strive to show Davis is not a one-issue candidate.

“Wendy Davis is so much more than one issue,” Chapman told CBS 11 News. “She has a track record in the legislature of being strong on education, strong on other populist views; she even spoke on the open carry or possession of firearms issue she believes in on your own property.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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