tv Campaign 2018 Texas Governors Debate CSPAN October 3, 2018 2:01am-3:00am EDT
representatives and there is no impeachment at all. they have that albatross hanging over the country's head. that would be bad for the country. states, partm the of c-span's 50 capitals tour. coveragegn 2018 continues with the texas governor's debate, greg abbott debated his democratic challenger, lupe valdez at the lyndon b. johnson presidential library in austin, texas. this is under one hour. >> in the texas constitution, it says texas is a free, independent state. >> the governor holds the state's highest office. all political power is inherent in the people. >> and it is up to texas -- from the rio grande to the red river.
the panhandle to the gulf. >> when you cannot find a way, you go out and make a way. make it happen. >> they will decide in november who leads the lone star over the next four years. >> to make sure texas will remain a state in the greatest country in the world. >> tonight, two candidates debate the issues, setting the course on taxes and how we help those in need. >> listen closely. see if you like what you're hearing from your candidate, or are you willing to change your mind and your vote like an independent texan can.
>> good evening, we are coming to you live from the lbj presidential library on the campus of the university of texas at austin for the only texas gubernatorial debate this election season. i am the anchor at kxan news in austin and i will be your host. let's introduce you to our candidates. we begin with incumbent governor greg abbott, who is seeking reelection, and his challenger, former dallas county sheriff lupe valdez. we want to let you know that this debate will be seen on air and online at every nexstar media group market covering the great state of texas. we also have broadcast partners airing this debate in dallas, fort worth, san antonio, and houston. let's introduce you to some of the partners tonight. here are the panelists for the debate. we have an anchor from from san antonio. norman garcia, the political reporter at nbc five in dallas/fort worth, and an anchor from houston.
here's a quick rundown of the rules we have this evening. each candidate will get 60 seconds, 30 seconds for rebuttal, and 30 seconds for any follow-ups. the sound of a bell will reign when their time is up. there are no opening statements and candidates will get closing remarks. all questions will be asked in english. we are also presenting a interactive event. follow the link txgov/debate. we have links to a focus group of undecided voters who will be grading the candidates and much more. we want to go to steve to begin things tonight. steve thank you, robert. : in the aftermath of mass shootings in parkland, florida and hitting texas at the first baptist church, and at santa fe high school, i have talked to many students who say they do not feel safe at school.
>> it happens so often, it can be a few weeks or a few months apart and now it is that thing where you expect it. you're expecting to wake up to find out that another student has lost their life. >> in the wake of shootings in texas and florida, we have heard politicians talk but it seems few changes have been made. before we get into details on how each of you would deal with this issue, i want to ask a question about arming teachers. this is a simple show of hands. we will allow you to answer this question more thoroughly. by a show of hands raise your , hand if you are for arming teachers in texas schools. thank you. governor abbott, you raised your hand. explain why you are in favor of arming teachers. gov. abbott: let me thank nexstar for broadcasting this debate. let me thank the university of
texas lbj school for hosting this debate and to sheriff valdez for participating. the reason i support arming teachers is it is because one of the recommendations that came out of the three day roundtable. i went to the school in santa fe. in the aftermath of the shooting. i hugged those kids and talk to the parents and teachers and then we had the roundtables say never again should we allow this to happen. schools are a place to learn and not a place for fear. we had multiple solutions. one of which was to give the choice to schools to armed people, not necessarily teachers, it could be a coach, and administrator, a staff member. it is not the state mandating
teachers should be armed, but allowing schools at their choice -- >> you did not raise your hand, why are you not in favor of arming texas teachers? sheriff valdez: every parent should have the right and the child should have the right to go to school and come home safely. teachers are understaffed, underpaid, under resourced and yet they continually do service to our community. the first thing i should have done is thank you all and i will go back and thank you all because it is important to thank the host, the people watching, the people behind the scenes, the library, and the governor. but i will continue to say teachers should be teaching, not being armed. i do believe there should be some defense, but teachers are
not the ones. if they wanted to be armed, they should have gone to the military. we continually fortify our schools, but we will not invest in education. we want to arm our teachers but we will not pay them as the professionals they are. i believe they should be there to teach and take care of the children. >> thank you, sheriff. governor, you have 30 seconds for a rebuttal. gov. abbott: i want to elaborate more on the conclusions that came out of the roundtables i hosted. there were more strategies other than allowing officials at school to be armed. the main thing that came out is we have to enforce current law. number two, the state must provide that are mental health resources for students at school and people at our state. the last thing is we have to provide alternatives in our school for them to be more secure. some schools want metal detectors, others want other strategies.
we need to give schools the strategies they choose to make sure they are safe. sheriff valdez: i agree with him. we need to spend more on mental health resources. i did talk to the students. as a matter of fact, there are some of them downstairs and they said nothing about arming teachers. they are more concerned about the adults listening to them. they are marching in the street asking the adults to make decent decisions. we are the adults. they should not be begging us to do the right thing. we need to take the steps and do the right thing. >> governor abbott, a follow-up question. you directed the legislature to expanding the red flag laws for mental health issues. or suspicion. if this expanded red flag bill comes to your desk, will you sign it? gov. abbott: concerns have been raised about red flag laws compromising second amendment
rights without due process. that would be a serious legal problem. if that were the way the law looked, that is something i cannot support. what i do support are the strategies that came out of the roundtables. having met with dozens of experts around the state, they can decide the importance of investing in mental health and providing law enforcement. >> you would not support a red flag law? gov. abbott: i would not support a red flag law that would take guns away from people without due process. >> thank you. sheriff, you have said in the past that you would be in favor of expanding red flag laws. can you expand on that? a lot of people have issue with the fact that a texan is punished before a crime is committed.
sheriff valdez: they are not punished. there is due process. red flag laws were meant to stop people doing harm to themselves and others. i believe if you're saying we not going to do the red flag laws, we are ok with doing harm to themselves and others. this is not about gun violence, this is about stopping gun violence. i think the governor has confusion between gun ownership and gun violence. there is a difference. people who own guns and act appropriately and people who do not. >> since 2001, the texas dream act has allowed college students in texas to receive in-state tuition and grants regardless of immigration status. for the last two sessions there has been an effort to repeal the law but so far it has failed. sheriff, all of this is happening while the cost of
college continues to rise. governor, how will you keep this going for students who are not citizens. sheriff valdez: we are always going to go on the choice that makes people better. the dreamers have been here. they were raised here. they go to school here. they are our teachers, our doctors, our plumbers. this is the only country they know. i believe in a path for citizenship for the dreamers. therefore, we need to prepare them to be here and be educated. public education is an equalizer. all the way up to college, it is an equalizer. we need to be able to give them the opportunity they need so they can go on being an asset to the community. they are currently employers and they continue to benefit the community. we need to make sure they get
the best they can in order to be productive in the community. >> governor, in 2014 you told the texas tribune you would not veto a repeal of the texas dream act. is that still the case? gov. abbott: let me explain. the legislators who pass the dream act had a noble cause, but there was a flaw in the structure of the law. the law that passed said students who receive in-state tuition had to demonstrate they were on a pathway toward achieving legal status. however, there was no apparatus in the law to make sure that is being done. hence it is flawed and has to be fixed. sheriff valdez: blaming the students for a broken immigration system? that is what we are doing. blaming the students because they cannot go through a broken immigration system.
so we continue to blame them. >> would you care to respond, you have 30 seconds. gov. abbott: the important thing we do in the state of texas -- our job is to make sure we educate the students. that is the purpose of the texas university system. in addition to texas students, texas universities have the option of allowing students to attend from outside the state of texas. there are laws, rules, and regulations, whether you're from oklahoma, mexico, or new zealand. those laws have to be respected. sheriff valdez: they live here. gov. abbott: this country has been based on the role of law. violations of the rule of law trample -- >> that is all the time we have for this question. the next question comes from julie. >> many texans pay property tax. a lot of that money that goes straight to school funding. a decade ago funds was split between the state funds and an property tax payers. local property tax payers are
picking up nearly 10% more. governor abbott, what is one thing you will do to lower the property tax burden. gov. abbott: i have talked to texans across the state of texas and they are fed up with skyrocketing property taxes and they agree that no government should have the ability to tax you out of your home. we have to remember this. people who own homes are not renters of their property from the city they are paying taxes to. we need to reform this in a way that will allow voter approval before taxes are increased during my property tax plan, which you can find by going to gregabbott.com, is very clear. it limits government's ability to raise your taxes. also, it gives you, the homeowner, the authority to fire your tax appraiser by adding an election process for tax appraisers. >> sheriff, what is something that you would do to lower the
property tax burden. sheriff valdez: we cannot talk about property taxes without talking about education. public education. the governor says he does not want taxes raised by he keeps putting less and less money into education. 10 years ago, it was over 40%, or 45%. now it is almost down to 30 something. and in this year, they are seeking to cut $3 billion more. i think it is funny how they say they cannot raise taxes, but they pat themselves on the back and wait because they are pushing the burden down to the local community. every time they put less funds into education, local communities have to pick up the slack. therefore they have to raise property taxes, homeowner taxes. it does not make sense to me that you keep pushing the burden down, but yet you will not allow them to do anything.
the state needs to pay its fair share. >> governor abbott, you have 30 seconds. gov. abbott: cities and counties raise your property taxes. they have the ability to raise your property taxes by 8% per year. you, the people at home, do you have the ability to give yourself an 8% raise every year? i do not think so. that is what cities and counties do. i want to limit the ability from increasing property taxes above 2.5%. sheriff valdez: the two most expensive things our public education and health care. if you keep putting less money into this they have to do , something. they do not want to ignore their folks. they have to do something. you are pushing the load and bringing up the property taxes. the state needs to pay its fair share and stop dumping on the local community. >> you both talk about what you would like to do to lower the burden, but how do you get the legislature on board?
gov. abbott: one thing i have experienced is that they get complaints from homeowners across the state and they will be coming back into a session knowing they have to do something about property taxes. the good thing about my property tax reform is it reduces the robin hood reallocation of money that goes directly to helping our schools. >> sheriff, you have 15 seconds as well. sheriff valdez: you cannot say it is their fault when you keep putting the load on them. we continually cut education funds and yet they have to do something to keep educating the families there. gov. abbott: one thing that is clear -- >> you both have 10 seconds. gov. abbott: i'm the only candidate that has articulated a plan to cut your property taxes. sheriff valdez: i'm the only candidate that knows that is not correct. you need to make sure to have the state pay its fair share.
>> next question. >> we asked viewers and voters to send us their questions for the candidates. this one is via twitter, from edith diaz. she is asking what can we do to better prepare for disasters like hurricane harvey. we are wondering the same thing. a year has passed since harvey, yet many people from beaumont to rock port filed for assistance from fema but there are families all across southeast texas right now who are still struggling to rebuild. according to recently released research, one in five residents in the 24 county area experienced severe damage to their home, and 8% remained displaced from their pre-harvey home. when a texas legislator convenes in january, as governor, will
you tap the state's $11.9 billion rainy day fund to help texans who are still struggling from the effects of harvey? sheriff valdez: [speaking spanish] even the question is ridiculous. my condolences go out to the families who are still struggling and suffering. when i visited beaumont, rockport, and houston, all of those areas, the families were still struggling to put their life together. a police officer, or the law enforcement, anytime there's a cry for help, they rush to the scene and do something about it. when the leaders of all of these areas call the governor and ask for help, his immediate response was, stop complaining. fill out the form. yes, we have a rainy day fund.
he calls the special session for bathrooms, but does not call a special session when people are dying. the rainy day fund is the biggest savings account in the united states. governor, it rained. >> governor, you have 60 seconds to answer the question. gov. abbott: i made almost 70 trips to hug and to help texans who are affected by hurricane harvey. understand this, when a disaster is declared, the governor has the authority to spend state money without having to call a special session for the rainy day fund. for example, we have, and we are providing hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars to cities, counties and schools, all of which will be repaid from the rainy day fund in the next session. on top of that, the governor has a responsibility to negotiate with the federal government for federal disaster aid.
i negotiated $30 billion to help rebuild texas. that is more disaster aid fund than the state has received in response to a disaster in the history of the state of texas. we have been able to amass the resources to ensure we will not be able to just rebuild, but to rebuild texas better than before hurricane harvey struck. >> you are saying you will not tap the rainy day fund. gov. abbott: to the contrary. what i just said is we have already spent money from the state budget that will be required to be drawn down from the rainy day fund in a time of disaster. the governor has the authority to advance spend that money. money has already been spent that will be required to be repaid from the rainy day fund. we will be considering the multitude of other expenses the cities, counties, and schools
have been dealing with to make sure they have the resources. >> sheriff, your 30 seconds for a rebuttal. sheriff valdez: it took forever for him to answer the call. houston, texas went from all parts of texas to try to help before he actually did something. as i said, law enforcement rushes to the scene when something has gone wrong. we need a governor that is going to do the same thing. not just tell people to fill the paperwork. >> governor abbott, you have 30 seconds for a rebuttal. gov. abbott: people watching on tv will remember that this time a year ago, on a daily basis i was on tv screens talking to you from the scene of what was going on. people will remember, in houston, this month, september of last year, i was giving houston and harris county an excess of $100 million at that time to help them with their needs.
i provided check to every jurisdiction that was affected to make sure they were going to have every dime they needed. >> that is all the time we have for this question. steve has our next question. >> thank you, andy. for the next question we will start with governor abbott. earlier this year the house speaker called for the state preservation board to take down the small plaque inside the capitol building. it has been sitting in the capital since 1959. it honors soldiers who fought for the confederacy. this plaque said the civil war was not a rebellion and the underlying cause was not slavery. nearly every historian in the country says that is wrong. as governor, you are chair of the state preservation board. if reelected, will you order the removal of this plaque? why or why not. gov. abbott: this plaque was put up by a vote by the texas legislature. the texas legislature has the responsibility to take it down. should they take it down because
of the factual inaccuracy? absolutely. i will work with the legislature the next session. because the legislator was the body that put it up, it is the legislatures responsibility to take it down. i don't think the governor should unilaterally have the authority to be dismissive of an act of the legislature. if you can do that with one issue, you could do it with any issue and i think that raises questions. >> sheriff, if you're elected governor, will you take down the plaque? sheriff valdez: i come from a family that was needlessly abused by law enforcement. i understand that often times when someone has been hurt, there is to stress and tension. first, do no harm. that is the first thing we have to look at. first, do no harm. then, change the circumstances.
lastly, change the outcome. if that plaque is doing harm to someone, then we should come to the table and do something about it. whether it is the legislature or someone who puts up stuff in the building, or whatever, we just need to take care of it and get it done. >> you would take down that plaque? sheriff valdez: yes. gov. abbott: again, i look forward to working with legislature to address a plaque that is in the capital that has factually flawed information on it. >> and you would push legislatures to do that? gov. abbott: yes. sheriff valdez: he promised a lot of the same things for years ago. if you look at some of the issues, these are some of the same issues that came up four years ago. every four years he agrees to do certain things, including giving teachers a raise and it does not
happen. we need to get things done and somebody to get in there and do them. >> thank you, sheriff. norma, our next question. >> sheriff, we will start with you on this question that deals with border security. members of the military have been sent to the border for more than 100 years. the current deployment of the national guard is nothing new. right now there are 250 texas guardsman along the border. their stated duty is only to observe and report illegal activity. do you think this is good use of our resources and why should texans pay for these deployments instead of the federal government? you have 60 seconds. sheriff valdez: currently, we have some of the safest cities along the border. el paso, brownsville, they have all been seen as some of the safest cities on the border.
yet we take $800 million and put troops on the border. we militarize the area. i would hope that if he continues to do this, he gets the money from the federal government. this is a federal government issue. if we are talking about a crisis, then we should take the money and put it into a genuine texas crisis. public education, health care, things that will touch both parties, rural and urban areas and all around. we need to put our money in texas. texas needs to use their money for things that will improve texas, not things that the national government is supposed to be taking care of. >> governor, 60 seconds. gov. abbott: with my work with the federal government, the federal government is paying the tab for the national guard on the border. second, the reason i am working
to make sure we secure the border is because i want to go after the human traffickers, the federal government is paying the sex traffickers, the cartel members, gang members, the rise of ms13 gang members, i want to put a stop to that. let me tell you a story about a teenage girl i met when i first ran for governor. she was talking about her brother who was playing a pickup game of soccer and he had to choose whether or not the son of a cartel member was going to be on his team or not on his team. what would be the consequences if he chose that player? what would be the consequences if he did not? i promised that girl i would not force her brother to have to make that decision again in the future. >> sheriff, you have 30 seconds for a rebuttal. sheriff valdez: we can have plenty of stories of hardship. there are plenty of stories of hardship of people coming across. the ones he named that he wanted to stop are being stopped.
every day, there are groups that are not allowed to become through because they have some signs of criminal activity. what we are putting the military up against our people who are escaping torture, who are trying to find a better life, yet we put the military up. when are the gunboats going to start shooting the families coming across? gov. abbott: it is not being done? i was in mcallen opening a new done? i was in mcallen opening a new center where federal, state and local officials worked collaboratively together to go after the gangs.
gov. abbott: i am very proud of what we have done during my 10 years in office. i made it commitment to voters that we would build roads without raising taxes, fees, tolls, or debt. what we have done to special allocations that we have made, we have been able to dedicate $7.5 billion a year for 10 years, that is $75 billion to
build roads in the state without raising taxes, fees, tolls or debts. texas now has the largest road building fund that has ever existed by any state in the united states of america, without having to use taxes, fees, tolls, or debts to build roads. if you drove down here from dallas, you passed dozens of construction projects on i-35. the best business to be in today is the orange cone business. we have so many roads being built across the state of texas. >> sheriff, you have said you are not in favor of toll roads. how you plan on paying for needed roads in texas? sheriff valdez: we need to use the taxes we are collecting for those purposes. we need to use the gasoline tax, the license tax, all of these that we had agreed to use for roads and other things yet that is not what they are being used for. we need to have our priorities and use the money we have collected for the reasons we said we're going to collect it and we need to use that for better highways instead of toll roads.
gov. abbott: we are aggregating all of those taxes and we direct it from oil taxes. and from sales tax. we dedicate revenue -- to make sure this would be a decade long deal to make sure we will be building roads. that accommodate growth. i talked to ceos across the country that are moving their companies here from other states. texas has such a superior transportation infrastructure. >> sheriff, you have 30 seconds. sheriff valdez: they also need schools. i have to go back to the fact that the state needs to pay its fair share. all of the people who come here, their main interest is employees. they want a healthy and educated workforce. we need to start putting our funds into the future of texas and putting more funds into
public education and health care. >> we are moving onto the next question with andy. >> while the images of flooding are what most will remember for years to come, hurricane harvey also tore through many coastal communities. that is where the texas windstorm insurance association is supposed to step in. for hundreds of thousands of property owners, there is only one option for insurance. the channel 2 investigative team has been examining their post harvey performance. one common storyline is harvey victims say they are being shortchanged on their claims are or not being paid at all. >> i have been given 65,000 now, but i am at a halfway point. >> since the governor appoints the insurance commissioner in
texas and that person appoints the board of directors, what will you do to make sure homeowners are fairly compensated, and would you insist the state attorney general investigate? sheriff, you have 60 seconds. sheriff valdez: we need to seriously take care of the insurance problem. a week before harvey, our governor signed a law to give insurance more time to discuss whether they would pay or not. and then when harvey happened, he would not delay the enforcement of that law. all of these people were crying to the insurance and crying out to the insurance to do something. we need to stop the pay to play appointments. we know about the whisper campaign of pay to play. we need to appoint people who will actually have the peoples and the business aspect in mind.
not just one side. we need to stop appointing people that donate to us that take care of us and our friends and family. we need to appoint people to these boards that actually work in that area. >> would you insist that the state attorney general investigate based on what you just told us? sheriff valdez: i'm going to do whatever i can to make sure texans get the better deal. >> governor abbott, 60 seconds. gov. abbott: sure. i, as governor, expect toya to pay every claim. if there is any delay in the payment of a claim, yes, i would expect the attorney general to investigate. three, i talked to the insurance commissioner about six months ago to make sure that the claims were being paid quick enough.
he showed me records at the time that as of that time, more than 95% of claims had been resolved. let me make one last point. there is an issue about twia insurance rates going up. i'm against the increase of twia insurance rates. i've talked to people like the mayor of fulton, a small business owners up and down the coast. they cannot afford in increase in the insurance rate. as governor, i'm working to make sure it will not be increased. >> sheriff, you have 30 seconds for a rebuttal. sheriff valdez: it still comes down to the same thing. four years ago he made the same promises. we still have not seen it done. you need to appoint people to boards that know what the business is, not just the people that are donating to you. we need to make sure texas is taken care of first, before we take care of the others.
>> 30 seconds for a rebuttal. gov. abbott: this is a classic example of what i look for in appointments. the person that i appointed to be in charge of insurance commission is a lawyer who formerly specialized in insurance law, is a former state judge. this is a man who knows the subject area extremely well and is very competent. when i make appointments, i look for the best qualified person, someone that brings experience and will make texas better. sheriff valdez: so you are saying that if they donate to you, it does not matter? gov. abbott: i could care less if anyone donates to me. my job is to make sure the state of texas is run well. >> thank you. we are hoping you are enjoying tonight's debate wherever you're watching in the entire state of texas. you can follow #txgov debate and find links for a focus group.
they are grading the candidate'' performances. you also find supplemental information and all of our questions we're asking. now back to steve, who will be asking the first of our individual questions of each candidate. >> governor abbott, you called a special session in 2017. one of the items on the agenda was legislation regarding bathroom privacy, which requires public school students to use the bathrooms based on their birth sex. there have been a number of issues raised with the measure, from businesses worried about boycotts and the texas economy, to the speaker of the house worried about the personal cost, saying i do not want the suicide of a single texan on my hand. tonight, are you willing to say that if a bathroom bill lands on your desk in the next legislative session, you will or will not sign it? gov. abbott: here is what i want to be clear about. over the course of the past year i have charted an agenda that will completely transform the state of texas.
let me tell you the items on the agenda. it is to cut property taxes in texas. it is to create more jobs, cut regulations, make our community safer by arresting these dangerous gang members and by making our school safer by getting rid of gun violence in schools. it is by ensuring that we make our state better. by helping our veterans who fought for our freedom by giving them the economic opportunity that they need and the health care they deserve, as well as making sure the state of texas does everything we can to take care of the victims of hurricane harvey. that is going to be my agenda this coming session. >> the bathroom bill is not one of those priorities? gov. abbott: it is not on my agenda. >> will you sign it if it comes to your desk?
gov. abbott: i will not sign hypothetical bills. all i can tell you is what my agenda is. which i did, and what i am going be focused on during the session. >> thank you, governor. sheriff valdez: he mentioned gang members and several other things, and i am wondering if that means transgenders are gang members, because that is what he was going after. there is continuing fear mongering and i do not believe in laws that start out with fear. we need to stop the fear mongering in our laws and get down to what matters to all sexes, to have an equal life and an equal and fair opportunity in this state, instead of just dealing with people you do not agree with. >> thank you, sheriff. gov. abbott: one thing i know from talking to texans from amarillo to brownsville, all texans want to make sure their families are safe.
i talk about safety tonight because i talk about safety every day. that is the reason why law enforcement officials have endorsed me, because law enforcement officials know i am the governor who will work with law enforcement to keep texans safe. sheriff valdez: i have to answer that one. >> i will give you 15 seconds. sheriff valdez: they did endorse him. when i took over the sheriff's department, i made a lot of changes. i took on the good old boys and i made a lot of changes. not everybody was happy. yes, they have a habit of endorsing the incumbent, but the government holds the purse and he holds it with a vengeance. i personally know. why wouldn't they endorse him? >> thank you. julie has our next question. >> sheriff, you have now paid your property taxes, but up until a few months ago you owed $12,000 in back taxes on several different properties. should texans be concerned about you managing state finances?
sheriff valdez: not at all. i did what the average texan does. never was delinquent. i made it in payments. i made decisions as all texans have to do. do i pay this bill, that bill, or do i just extend the payment? that is what i did. i extended the payment, which is what a lot of texans do. never became delinquent. let's get that very clear. never became delinquent, but i also chose to not raise the rent of my renters so that i could just make it out in payments. gov. abbott: i have always paid my property taxes on time. as governor, i have ensured the state of texas pays its bills on time. i have balanced a conservative budget to make sure we live within our means so that texas can retain a high aaa rating that we have. >> sheriff, would you like to
add anything? sheriff valdez: i pay my taxes just like any other texan. a lot of us have to do it in payments in that is exactly what i did. >> our next question goes to norma garcia. >> that is the end of the individual questions. the next set of questions will be addressed at both candidates. earlier this month, new numbers came out from the u.s. census. one statistic is that 4.8 million texans do not have health insurance. the kaiser foundation says two thirds of texans do not believe the state is doing enough to get people insured. state one thing you will do that will help more texans get health insurance. governor? gov. abbott: we need to understand the success we have had. over the past four years the uninsured rate among texans has dropped 22%. the uninsured rate among texas children has dropped 23%. a lot of people do not know, but texas ranks the second best state in the nation for the
reduction of child uninsured rate in the united states. we are making great progress. there is more we can do. worked on,hing i one thing i spent months doing last year about negotiating with the federal health and human services. this is bureaucratese -- an 1115 waiver. on, one thing i spent months doing last it made sure that through the medicaid system texas was going to be providing greater access to medicaid in the unique ways texas needs. one problem with medicaid across a oneard is is -- it is size fits all approach. texas does not fit the approach that may work for kansas. by getting that waiver i was able to craft an approach to ensure and cover more people in the state of texas. >> sheriff, 60 seconds. sheriff valdez: one in six texans do not have health insurance. we are the highest uninsured state in the united states. yes, texas leads the attack on pre-existing conditions.
a pre-existing condition is that you are female and can get pregnant. now you are being singled out because you are female. we are leaving over $10 billion a year on the table by not accepting the medicaid extension. 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 things. you put your friends in an organization, they make a lot of money, and the vulnerable suffer. we need to accept the medicaid expansion and we need to invest in communities that have become a medical desert. governor abbott, will you stop your attack on pre-existing conditions? >> you have 30 seconds to answer. gov. abbott: on pre-existing
conditions, let me be clear to the people of texas. under no circumstances will you lose coverage for pre-existing conditions. if the aca is repealed, congress has made clear that they will make sure that pre-existing conditions are covered. second, i as governor will work to make sure pre-existing conditions in texas will be covered. second with medicaid expansion, understand this. that is -- can i answer? if texas were to expand medicaid, it would put texas taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars more every single year out of their pocket books. sheriff valdez: it is just a certain percentage and we are already paying that. it is called emergency hospital rooms. we are already doing that. why don't we do it and accept over a million people on health care. >> governor, 10 seconds for a rebuttal.
gov. abbott: she wants to make a deal with the federal government that is $21 trillion in debt. they will not continue to match what they are doing right now. she is willing to write a blank check to the federal government that i will not write. >> we are out of time on that question. >> we have another question from twitter. this is from ufc titan fan. he wants to know what is your stance on marijuana legalization? only the sale of a specific cannabis oil for intractable epilepsy is legal. sheriff, are you in favor of expanding the use of medical and recreational marijuana in texas? you have 60 seconds. sheriff valdez: i'm in favor of expanding medical marijuana. alcohol has no medical benefits, yet it is taxed and fined. we know that medical marijuana has some health benefits.
why can we not tax and fine those also? as far as recreational marijuana, i think it is up to the people. the people need to decide whether that is going to be in texas or not. i think every other state has let the people decide. we should do the same thing. let the people decide whether we should accept other than medical marijuana. >> governor, you have 60 seconds. gov. abbott: parents of children with epilepsy approached me a couple session to go about cbd oil for the children. i was moved by what they had to say. i agreed with them. i'm the governor that signed into law the legalization of cbd oil. i had discussions with veterans and parents of autistic children who make a very strong and compelling case about legalization of medical marijuana. i have seen in other states that
authorize that, abuses take place that raise concerns. i am still not convinced. however, one thing i do not want to see is jail stockpiled with people who have possession of a small amount of marijuana. but i would be open to talking to the legislature about is reducing the penalty for possession of two ounces or less from a class b misdemeanor to a class c misdemeanor. >> sheriff valadez, you have 30 seconds for a rebuttal. sheriff valdez: we agree on something. i believe in decriminalizing marijuana. i honestly believe that often we have more in common than we have differences. speaking of veterans, i have heard plenty of doctors say they would much rather give the veterans, the mentally ill and others marijuana then give them opioids, which are now legal. you can write a prescription for opioids and therefore have more problems with the people you prescribed that to. >> governor, 30 seconds for a rebuttal. gov. abbott: we want to make
sure if this is done, it will have controls on it so abuses do not take place. we need to observe what is going on in the state. i do agree we need to take all steps possible to make sure that we reduce opioid abuse. >> thank you both for your answers. steve has our next question. >> thank you, andy. speaking of things that you to agree on, when it comes to family separation, you said this disgraceful condition must end and it can only end with action by congress to reform the broken immigration system. sheriff, you said, where is our texas heart? governor abbott, give me a specific solution that is not being implemented right now that you would like to see when it comes to immigration and the border. you have 60 seconds for your answer. gov. abbott: to be clear, separating children from parents is always wrong.
i was deeply disturbed when i heard about what was taking place and i immediately called the united states director for homeland security to inquire what was going on and what was being done to make sure it did not happen. after multiple conversations, i was provided assurance that the separation of children from parents would end and there would be a policy that it would not happen again. would be a promise that it would not happen again. in addition, i made clear to the administration, but most importantly to congress, that if you look in the constitution, this is congress's authority only, to fix a broken immigration system. what we saw was a symptom of a far larger problem and that is a broken immigration system. congress has to stop talking to cameras and talk to each other and start coming up with some solutions to our broken immigration system. >> thank you, governor.
sheriff? sheriff valdez: we both agree we have a broken immigration system. what we do not agree on is the things that we do in texas to stop some of that cruelty. family separation was cruel. it was first brought out as biblical, then we want to teach a lesson, then we want to do this. from the beginning, it was cruel. families should have never been separated. there are a lot of things that we doing that is causing fear mongering. the bathroom laws. the show me your papers law. all of these are nothing but fear mongering that we sell is something else. -- as something else, but the truth is, all we are doing is putting fear into immunities. show me your papers bill was one of the coolest bills that have ever been signed. law enforcement, schools, churches, businesses all came up and said this is a bad bill. it was still passed. time to stop the hate.
>> andy has the next question. >> we have asked a lot of tough questions tonight. we want to give voters the chance to know more about each of you on a personal level. you both came from different backgrounds, but your parents raised you as texans. can you share and describe a personal moment in your life where you felt texas proud? governor? gov. abbott: a lot of moments, whether it was when i was a kid growing up or playing little league baseball or high school football. speaking for all of us, there is no moment in texas history that has made me more proud than to see the way our fellow texans responded to hurricane harvey. that is what texas is all about. these people got their own boats to rescue other people. they did not matter who you were or what race you work, all that mattered is you were a texan.
at a texan was going to help you out. >> sheriff? sheriff valdez: there are two things i want to bring up. he touched on one of them. texans helping texans. we do this quite well. nobody asks which party you belong to when they come to help. the other thing that makes me so proud of being a texan is that i came from the poorest place in san antonio. and a migrant worker from crop fields to classrooms to candidates. from the poorest city in san antonio to be able to be a candidate for governor of texas. one of the proudest texas moments. >> thank you so much. it has done by quickly. time for closing statements. sheriff valdez, you are first. sheriff valdez: thank you to our host, to the audience, to governor abbott, and to the people behind the scenes in the lbj library. i am running for governor
because i want to give every day texans a fighting chance. i want to make sure the government is fair, equal, and provides opportunity for all of us. as i mentioned, i came from the poorest zip code in san antonio. a child of migrant workers. yet because of public education, , i went on to college, the military, federal agent, sheriff. as sheriff of dallas county, i was over 2700 employees and over a budget of $160 million. i took on the good old boy system and with the compassion and common sense and working with a lot of folks, we made that agency into a model department. opportunity in texas should be as big as the texas sky and i want to bring that to texas so i humbly ask for your vote. god bless you, god bless texas. >> thank you.
you have 60 seconds. >> we live in a state where anything is possible, a state where young man's life can be broken in half and yet he can still rise up and become governor. in texas, you can succeed the matter your circumstances. four years ago, i promised to make texas even better. we have elevated texas to new heights. texas is number one in the this destination for business and job creation. our schools are better. high school and college graduation rates are at all-time highs and families are safer. we have arrested thousands of dangers terminals and taken them off the streets. promise you this, if you really me, as governor, i will never stop fighting for you and the family. together, we are going to keep in thehe premier state greatest nation in the history of the world. being with us,r
we want to thank the lbj foundation for being our host venue and a special thank you to for puttinges and together. see how our focus group of together. undecided voters rated the answers. election day, tuesday, november october voting opens up 22. good night from austin. undecided voters rated the kaine junior senator tim faces corey stewart in the second of two town hall advance. friday at eight, rod blum debates his them aquatic challenger. saturday night at nine eastern, facing his democratic challenger
kathleen williams for that states at-large seat. live coverage on c-span, your primary source for campaign 2018. congresshe control of in question, see the competition for yourself on c-span. watch the debates from key house and senate races, make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. journal,'s washington issues that impact you. look at the lawsuit to stop california's new net neutrality law with the senior research the roosevelt institute, todd tucker talks about this week's announced trade deal. we get the latest on the fbi investigation of supreme court
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