by Mary Tuma
Attorney General Greg Abbott announced his bid to run for Texas governor at Plaza Jaurez in San Antonio on Sunday. Photo by Mary Tuma
On the heels of Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to step down and clear the way for new leadership earlier this week at a HOLT CAT plant in San Antonio, Abbott, just days after, declared his intentions to replace Perry.
Why San Antonio? Abbott considered it a homecoming, it’s where he and his wife Cecilia– of Irish and Latino heritage– got married, where she grew up and where her family still resides as well as the home of his brother. In a shamelessly clear move to identify with the conservative Latino voter base in San Antonio, Abbott said that while he and his wife may have come from different cultures, they share the same foundation, “Dos casas. Pero, una fundacion.”
Abbott recounted the story of when his spine was crushed by an oak tree while jogging, an event that left him paralyzed from the waist down and wheelchair ridden, today marked the 29th anniversary of the incident. He regaled the audience with tales of his numerous fights against the federal government, his battle to include “One Nation Under God” in the pledge of allegiance and keep a statue of the Ten Commandments on the Capitol lawn and bragged about his strict anti-abortion stance. He offered to cut down on higher tuition costs, crack down on the “porous” Texas-Mexico border and rein in state debt. But don’t expect Abbott to call the feds for any assistance. His career hallmark centers around going after the Obama administration– for sport at this point, it seems.
“Together, we will help all Texans climb the ladder of success, not with Obama-style mandates and handouts, but with a level playing field that gets government out of the business of picking winners [and] losers, and by reducing taxes on employers,” he said.
Of the 27 lawsuits against the federal administration, the conservative attorney general has taken on the Environmental Protection Agency to oppose greenhouse gas emission and air quality regulations, the Affordable Care Act and sought to impose Voter ID rules on Texans, according to a list complied by the Texas Tribune. He’s also sued the government to exclude religious organizations from the ACA’s contraception rule and prevented Planned Parenthood from being part of a life-saving Medicaid program that serves low-income women.
Abbott lightheartedly jokes about suing the federal government for fun: “I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home,” he is quoted as saying. I suppose the punch line is the fact taxpayers are footing the bill–his fondness for litigious sport cost citizens about $2.5 million in legal fees.
Abbott matches Perry’s anti-federal government, anti-abortion, anti-environmental regulation ideology but the attorney general, equipped with a law degree, comes off much more poised and articulate than the gaffe-plagued governor. In short, he’s likely an even bigger threat to progress in Texas than Perry.