Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis talked Tuesday about building the Texas economy while her Republican opponent Greg Abbott zeroed in on Hispanic voters by releasing a Spanish language television ad.
It was Davis’ first public speech since shaking up her staff with a new campaign manager.
For 30 minutes in her hometown of Fort Worth, the Democratic candidate covered a lot of familiar territory.
She said a strong economy begins with better education: full-day pre-Kindergarten for all Texas 4-year-olds; less standardized testing; and a greater ability to earn college credits while in high school.
“We’ve got to make college more accessible and affordable by doubling the number of college credit hours available to high school students, and by doubling the number of early-college high schools throughout the state,” Davis said.
Davis also appealed to the business community as she called for the state to do more to build and maintain highways and to move faster to ensure an adequate water supply.
She acknowledged that would cost money, and questioned how Abbott would deliver on infrastructure needs when he’s pledged to limit spending.
“You cannot simultaneously say that you are going to cap investments in the future of this state while also arguing that you’ll be a governor who will bring forward the vision that implements the necessary investment to support our growing water and transportation infrastructure needs," Davis said. "You cannot have it both ways.”
Davis didn’t offer deep details about how she’d pay for her plan, but said a tax hike is not on the table. She’s previously talked about jump-starting projects by using the growing amount of oil and gas tax money flowing into the rainy day savings fund. In Fort Worth, she repeated a call to make additional revenue available by closing tax loopholes.
“As governor, I’ll ask the legislature to reexamine every single tax loophole that is currently on our books. Loopholes through which we give up $43.9 billion a year in tax revenue,” Davis promised.
As Davis was preparing for her address, Abbott was releasing a TV ad that features his in-laws talking in Spanish about Abbott’s values.
In his effort to attract Hispanic voters, Abbott has also agreed to hold his first debate with Davis in McAllen, where the U.S. Census Bureau says 86 percent of the population is Hispanic.
Davis called the ad “damage control in the Latino community following his Republican Party’s convention platform.”
At its recent convention, the Texas Republican Party platform dropped support for a guest-worker program and called for repealing in-state tuition for undocumented students who graduated from Texas high schools.
The Abbott campaign responded to Davis’ press conference with a statement that said: “Sen. Davis would make the next four years in Texas look like that last six years under Barack Obama.”
Davis will take center stage next week at the Texas Democratic Party convention being held in Dallas.
Photo credit: Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram