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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Race for the Governor’s Mansion

Opinion+writer+Ryan+Lindner+says+that+another%26%23160%3BAbbott+term+is+the+way+to+go
Photo courtesy of World Travel & Tourism Council

Opinion writer Ryan Lindner says that another Abbott term is the way to go

With election day quickly approaching, Texans and Americans alike will be watching the much-anticipated Texas Gubernatorial race between two-time Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott and former El Paso congressman, Democratic senatorial and presidential candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke.
Even with record-breaking fundraising by O’Rourke, his campaign has yet to close the gap to within the margins of error, according to several September polls collected by The Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. According to the project’s consolidated polling numbers, Abbott remains seven to nine points ahead of O’Rourke. During the candidates’ only debate on Sept. 30, both discussed the hotly-debated topics of immigration, gun control, health care and education. Here is a comparison of each candidate’s current stance on each issue.

O’Rourke

Gun control:

During his Sept. 28 visit to Texas A&M, O’Rourke said, as governor, he would focus on the safety of school children and civilians, rather than maintaining the support of gun lobbyists like the National Rifle Association, or NRA.

“I find some things that we can do, some progress we can make … Things like ensuring that Abbott should raise the age of purchasing AR-15s to 21,” O’Rourke said. “For universal background checks, I have yet to meet [a person] who will argue with me on this right now, when you buy from a federally licensed gun dealer.” 

O’Rourke did not go as far as he did during the 2020 presidential debates and said he could find a balance between the Second Amendment and gun regulation. 

“We can both defend the Second Amendment and do a far better job of protecting the lives of those in our communities,” O’Rourke said. 

Immigration: 

During the Sept. 30 debate, O’Rourke said in order to control the influx of migrants at the Texas-Mexico border, the state needs to create new laws to allow a clear path to citizenship. 

“What we need is a safe, legal, orderly path for anyone who wants to come here to work, to join family or to seek asylum,” O’Rourke said. “I’m going to work with local leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, to make sure that we have a Texas-based guest worker program to alleviate shortages that we have in our state for labor demands.” 

In regard to Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, O’Rourke said Abbott’s administration has spent billions that could have otherwise been used for more productive solutions. 

“We are eight years into [Abbott’s] time as governor, and this is what we have on our border,” O’Rourke said. “Four billion into Operation Lone Star, we’re seeing not fewer but more encounters at our border.”  

Healthcare: 

O’Rourke said during the September debate that Texas needs to do more when it comes to funding mental health care.

“We are dead last in the nation when it comes to mental health care access and [Abbott] took $211 million from the mental health care budget of the state of Texas,” O’Rourke said.

When it comes to women’s health care in Texas, O’Rourke said that as governor he would make sure that women’s access to abortion would become law.

“I will work with the legislature and my fellow Texans to return us to the standard that Texas women won in the first place,” O’Rourke said during the debate. “Roe v. Wade. That’s the standard that answers your question.” 

Education:

On the issue of state education, O’Rourke made it clear that he would work to eliminate state-level standardized testing and increase teachers’ pay.

“Our teachers are underpaid on average by $7,500 a year,” O’Rourke said. “I’m going to ensure that you have more valuable classroom time to connect with those kids. So, we’re going to stop the [State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness] Test and allow you to focus on drawing forth that lifelong love of learning.”

Abbott

Gun control:

Throughout his campaign, Abbott has continued to harp on O’Rourke’s comment during the 2020 presidential debate in which O’Rourke said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

“He wants to go take your guns and deny you your Second Amendment rights,” Abbott said in a pre-recorded message played in the introduction of the debate. “We will not let that happen.”

Abbott also said he would not raise the age to buy an assault rifle in Texas because of a recent court decision.

“The most recent federal court of appeals decision on this particular issue said that it was unconstitutional for a state to raise the age from 18 to 21,” Abbott said during the debate.

Immigration:

Abbott’s stance on immigration blames the administration of President Joe Biden for the increase of migrants at the Texas-Mexico border.

“We’ve been working to respond to the disaster caused by the Biden administration that has caused such an economic burden on these communities,” Abbott said during the televised debate. “Under the Biden administration, we have more people coming across the border than ever in the history of our country.”

Abbott said his solution to this has been to send in the National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety along with moving immigrants to “sanctuary cities.”

“What we’re doing is making sure that we are keeping our community safe, and this is completely different than the way things would be under Beto [O’Rourke],” Abbott said. 

Healthcare: 

While Abbott has historically not supported abortion, during the debate he did say that emergency contraception, like Plan-B, should be provided by the State of Texas to women who become pregnant due to rape or incest.

“It’s incumbent upon the State of Texas to make sure that [emergency contraceptives] are readily available for those who are victims of sexual assault or survivors of sexual assault,” Abbott said. “The State of Texas pays for that.”

However, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Office of the Texas Governor released a statement in favor of the court’s decision.

“Texas is a pro-life state, and we have taken significant action to protect the sanctity of life,” the quote from Abbott reads.

Education:

On the issue of education, Abbott said he has provided more educational funding than any Texas governor in history.

“I provided more funding for teacher pay raises than any governor in Texas history,” Abbott said at the debate. “The per pupil funding in the State of Texas is at the highest that’s ever been.”

As an example of this, Abbott said he created a new program that provides outstanding teachers with a salary of more than $100,000 in specific areas.

“It was used very effectively and broadly in the Dallas Independent School District area and is catching on around the state,” Abbott said. “If teachers will dedicate themselves to be these master teachers, they will be able to earn a six-figure salary.”

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  • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks in Rudder Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.

    Photo by Cameron Johnson

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