ODESSA AMERICAN: Abbott is the Only Real Choice

BY: ODESSA AMERICAN

ttf-davisabbott-1_2_JPG_800x1000_q100It’s a simple matter really. Greg Abbott is the gubernatorial candidate who will be able to keep the state’s economy on the right track and address education and crime issues.

Texas is currently a shining star in the United States, with a booming economy and unprecedented growth. We believe Abbott is mostly likely to sustain that growth through business-friendly policies.

We also applaud his plan for transportation improvements. During a meeting with the Odessa American’s editorial board, Abbott pledged that his plan would give a “fair share” of money to Permian Basin roads, which continue to be a safety issue.

The Republican gubernatorial candidate’s plan relies on passage of the Proposition 1 proposal on the November ballot that would take $1.7 billion in Rainy Day Fund money and place it in a separate fund for transportation improvements.

Abbott also recommends amending the Transportation Code to limit State Highway Fund expenditures to intended transportation purposes and amending the Texas Constitution to dedicate more than two-thirds of vehicle sales taxes to the highway fund. As he puts it, his plan is rooted in transparency for the citizenry of the state, and we couldn’t agree more.

“I can assure you that the Permian Basin will be getting its fair share of this money,” Abbott said. “Look, the reality is that a huge slice of it comes from the oil and gas severance tax. And so obviously it’s an easy argument that you take part of that money and put it back into the regions that are producing it.”

We also like the sound of Abbott’s education plan, which includes establishing literacy and numeracy academies for teachers of Pre-K through third-grade students, paying them a stipend to attend.

He also wants to expand the use of technology in classrooms.

And he said he would expand local control of school districts to tailor their curricula to local needs while at the same time maintain a system that would place the bottom 15 performing public schools under threat of Texas Education Association takeover. Schools could exempt themselves from some TEA standards under the proposal. But he also indicated his desire for the TEA to be more of a resource to help struggling schools and districts improve. And given the Ector County Independent School District’s challenge of dealing with an array of issues — some beyond their direct control — we applaud this approach to use TEA to help the local district more than merely beat them up policy- and enforcement-wise.

We don’t believe his opponent, Democrat Wendy Davis, is the right fit for Texas governor and question her education plan, which to our knowledge doesn’t even have a price tag. And that goes to the larger perception we have of the state senator’s campaign. We believe Abbott has done a good job of taking the time and effort to map out an extensive and detailed plan he would pursue if he were elected governor, as evidenced by a 214-page “blueprint” of policy plans he has widely shared.

But in our opinion, Davis’ campaign has been largely one of flash, trite rhetorical talking points and miscues. And that tells us she is simply not ready for “prime time.”

Abbott has addressed criminal activity in the state and proposes spending more than $280 million on a “permanent surge” at the border for items ranging from a new high-altitude airplane and a boat fleet to rotating more than 600 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers through the border region.

He also is proposing to create 20 new Texas Ranger positions to help in investigating public corruption.

We find Abbott to be a genuine leader who we suspect will govern well and inspire legislative progress.

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