Abbott and Valdez debate in Austin

Governor Greg Abbott (R), and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, squared off in the Texas capital for the gubernatorial debate on Sept. 28.

Gun violence, immigration and healthcare were at the forefront of issues discussed by the candidates. It was a somber event compared to the Texas senatorial debate a week ago.

The first topic: mass shootings.

Greg Abbott raised his hand when asked if candidates wanted teachers to be armed in schools.

Incumbent Greg Abbott (R), left, and Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez debate in the LBL Library in Austin on Sept. 28.

Incumbent Greg Abbott (R), left, and Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez debate in the LBL Library in Austin on Sept. 28.

“The reason why I support arming teachers is because it was one of the proposals that came out of the three days of round tables that I conducted,” said Abbott

Lupe Valdez was against arming teachers in schools.

Valdez said, “Every child should have the right to go to school and learn and come home safely. Teachers should be teaching not being armed and being the defense. If they wanted to be armed they should have gone to the military.”

On immigration, the Texas DREAM Act was one area that was targeted during questioning.

Valdez believes the “Dreamers” should continue to receive in-state tuition despite their immigration status. “The Dreamers have been here and this is the only country that they know. I believe in a path for citizenship for the Dreamer; therefore, we need to prepare them to be here and be educated. Public education is an equalizer all the way up to college.”

Abbott was asked about a statement he made in 2014. He told the Texas Tribune that he would not veto a repeal of the Texas DREAM Act.

Abbott said, “The legislators who passed that DREAM act, they had a noble cause behind what they were trying to do, but there was a flaw in the structure in the law that passed. The law that passed said these students who received in-state tuition had to demonstrate that they were on a pathway toward achieving legal status; however, there was no apparatus in the law to make sure that in-fact is being done. Hence, the structure is flawed and it has to be fixed.”

According to the U.S. CENSUS, 4.8 million Texans don’t have insurance.

Abbott cited the progress Texas has made. He pointed out the drop in numbers of uninsured Texans.

“Very importantly we need to understand the success that we have had over the past four years The uninsured rate among Texans has dropped 22 percent the uninsured rate among Texas, children has dropped 23 percent.”

Abbott believes Texas is improving health care.

“We are making great progress, but there’s more we can do. It’s one thing that I worked on, about negotiation with the federal health and human services. This is bureaucratese. It’s for what’s called an 1115 waiver. This 1115 waiver made sure that through the Medicaid system, Texas was going to be providing greater access to Medicaid in the unique ways Texas needs. By getting that waiver I was able to craft an approach to ensure and cover more people in the state of Texas,” he said

Valdez believes that enough hasn’t been done to reduce the uninsured in Texas, accusing Abbott putting Texans with pre-existing conditions at risk.

“One in six Texans do not have health insurance. We are the highest uninsured state in the United States yet Texas leads the attack on preexisting conditions. Yes, he put in a system. In the system there was no accountability, there was no measurement and as you saw time-and-time in the media, it was profit over pain and all those thing,” Valdez said.

“Gov. Abbott will you stop your attack on pre-existing conditions?,” Valdez asked at the end of her response.

Abbott and Valdez debated over several other topics ranging from property taxes to the bathroom bill.

You can watch the debate at nbcdfw.com and keranews.org. The election will take place on Nov. 6.

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