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Abbott Defends His Position On 2011 Education Cuts At North Texas Campaign Stop

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is taking issue with Republican Attorney General Greg Abbot’s record as it relates to the rollout of  the education policy for his campaign for governor.

Greg Abbott, the leading Republican candidate for governor, is focusing his attention on visiting schools before he finalizes the education component of his campaign. Speaking at the Plano ISD Academy High School, a STEAM campus (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics), Abbott praised the innovative learning centers.

"Texas needs to be in the vanguard of leading the way in this nation, and learning digitally," Abbott said.

Davis issued a statement during Abbott's visit, taking aim at his efforts to defend the $5.4 billion funding cut to public schools in 2011, and Abbott responded:

"If she were attorney general would she ask her attorney general not to defend the laws passed by the legislature?" he said.

Davis said, via statement, that if she was governor, she would have vetoed the bill.

Professor Cal Jillson, who teaches political science at Southern Methodist University, said he’s surprised at Abbott’s response to the attack.

"I thought that was little unusual," Jillson said. "I would’ve expected a little more full throttle response to the legislature’s fiscal responsibility."

Jillson said Abbott is more than likely thinking beyond the primary election, where he will have to secure votes from suburban moms with kids in school.

"And those suburban mothers probably don’t want to hear any chest beating on how important those cuts were to the state’s fiscal responsibility," Jillson said.

Jillson said this also shows that Davis is getting her footing in the race and is very comfortable speaking about the subject of public education.