Voters Guide: Governor

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SAN ANTONIO -- Voters Guide for Governor with candidates Greg Abbott (R), Lupe Valdez (D) and Mark Tippetts (L).

Evaluate President Trump’s performance so far.

VALDEZ: Instead of unifying the nation, President Trump has divided us with policies such as the Muslim ban, the transgender military ban and family separation. His divisive policies have given people permission to be cruel and hateful towards one another. Unfortunately, we have a Governor who stays silent and incites the intolerance with things like the dangerous “show me your papers law”, his lawsuit to deport all DREAMers across the country and silence in the face of the children being torn from their parents arms. ¬°Ya Basta! Texans are better than that and as one of the most diverse states in the country, we embrace our differences as a source of strength. As Governor, I will never pass up an opportunity to work across the aisle if it means Texans benefit, but rest assured that I will never ever back down from anything that remotely threatens our well-being -- whether that is Donald Trump or anyone else.

TIPPETTS: While I am willing to praise positive policy decisions no matter who makes them, I flatly reject the rhetoric which Trump has used against immigrants and his plans to place a wall between us and our brothers to the south. It is important that the Governor of Texas represents Texas and property owners along the Rio Grande when Trump threatens to violate our rights and create an atmosphere of hostility with Mexico. As Governor, I will use the powers of the office to represent the interests of Texas in dealing with federal impact on our state and to foster and maintain good relations with Mexico.

How do you feel about compromising with politicians on the other side of the aisle?

VALDEZ: It’s a shame that these days compromise seems like a bad word. Democrat, Republican or Independent, as long as you don’t compromise your values, you can get things done that will improve the conditions and outcomes for the public. As Sheriff, I worked with folks across the aisle to turn the seventh largest County Sheriff’s Department from a failing department to a national model. The jail was understaffed, under resourced, overcrowded and unsanitary and through working together with Republican leadership, we secured funding and began passing inspections for the first time in years and made our communities safer by building trust between law enforcement and the people they protect and serve.

TIPPETTS:: I will work with anyone. One benefit of a Libertarian in office is that we are not part of the broken and divided tribalism so prevalent in politicians these days. I do not care who brings me a bill to legalize marijuana in Texas - I will sign it either way.

What is the most important issue for Texans in 2018?

VALDEZ: Texas is the most uninsured state in the country with 1 in 6 Texans lacking coverage and we are the country’s epicenter of maternal mortality. The state government leads the attack on the Affordable Care Act even though more than 4.5 million or 27% of adult Texans could lose their health insurance because of pre-existing conditions if the law came to an end. Meanwhile, a private health care system remains unaccountable as it puts profit over people and neglects the care of the most vulnerable among us. We are experiencing a health care crisis in Texas and it’s time to tackle it head on. We must stop the attacks on the Affordable Care Act, build on its success and accept Medicaid expansion to get over 1 million Texans insurance coverage. We are not only leaving $100 billion on the table, but already foot the bill for expansions in other states and unpaid medical costs for the uninsured right here at home. Additionally, we must invest more in expanding access to critical healthcare in our rural communities, which have become medical deserts after Texas has closed down more rural hospitals than any other state in the country in the last eight years. Lastly, we must stop the endless assault on women’s health and fight to protect their fundamental rights. It’s time for a Governor who believes health care is a right, not a privilege and who will make sure your income or zip code don’t determine access to quality care.

TIPPETTS: The most important issue right now is to at last legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs which waste countless dollars and law enforcement hours, while locking up peaceful people who should be with their families and contributing to the community.

What aspect of your background should voters remember when they cast their ballots?

VALDEZ: I’m the eighth child of migrant workers and was raised in the poorest neighborhood in San Antonio, but because of a quality public education that opened up doors to opportunity, I went on to serve in the army, became a federal agent and the Sheriff of Dallas County. Throughout my whole life, I have had to deal with obstacles and many of the same kitchen table issues that still keep many every day Texans up at night. Texans should have no doubt that I will fight like the dickens for them because I share their uphill battles. Going from crop fields, to classroom, to candidate, I am blessed to be the first in many ways, but I am running to not be the last. Opportunity in Texas should be as big as the Texas sky and I am fighting so that every Texan no matter who they are, how much money they make, who they love, or where they come from, in Texas, they have a fair shot. I am running to give every day Texans a fighting chance to live to their full potential.

TIPPETTS: I was raised with the understanding that "the respect for the rights of others is peace." As a city councilman, I made decisions that were based on individual rights and fiscal responsibility, even when it was not popular to those who used their wealth and influence to get their way with local government. I will make decisions based on the same principles as Governor.

Would you like to see the Bathroom Bill resurrected in 2019?

VALDEZ: Absolutely not. That bill is dead upon arrival when I’m Governor. Any attempt to discriminate and define who belongs and who doesn’t goes against our values as Texans and Americans and shouldn’t be tolerated.

TIPPETTS: I will never sign a "Bathroom Bill" as governor. That is an issue for local government, not the governor.

Note: Gov. Abbott did not respond to repeated requests.

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