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Abbott puts on a moderate act

He cares about education!

I guess I need to find a new Abbott avatar

During a Capitol news conference in which he announced the selection of his senior staff, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said Monday that education will be his top policy priority.

Abbott said he wants to improve the educational foundation that students receive in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. “I want to ensure that all children finish the third grade reading and doing math at or above grade level,” he said.

He also said he wants to ensure that students are graduating from high school “and moving on to the next phase of their lives” — whether that is college or a career. For those seeking higher education, he said his administration intends to work toward making that goal more affordable. They also hope to elevate the status of the state’s public universities.

“One of the areas that disturbs me is the fact that five of the top 10 public universities in the country are from California, with none being from Texas,” Abbott said.

You’d think a guy that committed to improving education would have wanted to settle the school finance lawsuit so the Legislature would be compelled to adequately fund those improvements he says he’d like to achieve. As for the higher ed stuff, apparently a dislike of tuition deregulation is now the new hotness among some Republicans. We all remember that the reason why tuition was deregulated in the first place back in 2003 was so the Lege could cut higher ed funding, right? How much is Abbott willing to add to that to do something about this?

Also, too: He doesn’t have an ideological agenda!

The Republican governor-elect framed education as his top priority, pledging to boost pre-kindergarten programs, ensure high school students are prepared upon graduation and make college more affordable.

He also promised to use an expected budget surplus to put more manpower on the border and add $4 billion annually for roads, while reducing business and individual taxes, ending some regulations and restraining government growth.

He did not mention much-talked-about legislation to allow Texans to openly carry handguns, to further restrict abortion or to end in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, among other high-profile ideas.

“Now, more than ever is a time for Texans to unite because we see increasingly that as Texas goes, so goes America,” said Abbott.

The 12-minute news conference, which included an unveiling of Abbott’s staff leadership team, eschewed both controversy and detail, instead sticking to many of themes emphasized during the campaign, said Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University.

“It was a good summary of a lot of the things that we heard him talk about on the campaign trail, especially during the general election,” Jones said. “He announced very much a general election policy agenda, and not a Republican primary agenda.”

How nice. But of course all those other Republicans that got elected last month did quite a bit of campaigning on Republican primary agendas, including our newest State Senator and of course our Lite Governor. The question – which was asked and generally dodged during the campaign – is what does Governor Abbott do when some piece of hot button legislation gets put on his desk? We all know that the answer is that he signs it – he’s already said as much for DREAM Act repeal. Everybody, including Mark Jones, knows this. Why pretend his genial little detail-free press conference means something it doesn’t?

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2 Comments

  1. matx says:

    What is this obsession Texas governors and governors-elect have with California? Get over it!

  2. PDiddie says:

    Size. “Everthang’s bigger in Texas” doesn’t quite account for Cali beating us in several important areas, particularly to Texas governors with undisclosed — or closeted — inadequacies.