Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and challenger Lupe Valdez (D) faced off Friday night in their one and only debate in the Texas governor’s race. The one-hour event from the LBJ Library at the University of Texas-Austin covered several issues.
On the issue of property taxes, Abbott touted his proposal to limit the amount local jurisdictions can raise property taxes. Valdez countered that local governments wouldn’t need to raise taxes so much if the state would kick in more funding.
On the issue of Hurricane Harvey recovery, Valdez called on Abbott to release more money from the state’s rainy day fund, saying “Governor, it’s raining.” Abbott responded that he has already authorized hundreds of millions in state funds that will come from that fund, along with negotiating the largest amount of federal disaster funding ever awarded to Texas.
On the issue of school safety, Abbott called for allowing schools to have armed staff members on campus if they choose, be they teachers or other staff members. Valdez said she supports some kind of campus defense, but not arming teachers.
On providing in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants, Valdez defended it, saying the so-called “Dreamers” need a path to citizenship and thus a proper education. Abbott said Texas universities should prioritize educating legal Texas residents first, and there should be uniform rules for all students who come from any outside state or country.
Recent polls show Abbott with a double digit lead over Valdez.