SAN ANTONIO – Texans for Greg Abbott today released the prepared remarks of Attorney General Greg Abbott’s announcement speech for Governor.
July 14th, 2013
*Note – Attorney General Abbott frequently departs from prepared remarks.
I want to thank my daughter Audrey for that remarkable introduction.
It’s not all that common for a teenager to get up in front of a big crowd and introduce her Dad. Frankly, it’s not all that common for a teenager to even talk to their parents.
But seriously, I’m so proud of my daughter, Audrey. When you walk into my office the first thing you see is a huge picture of my daughter when she was 4 years old. I’m holding her in one arm, and she is beaming a big radiant smile.
That picture is a daily reminder why I go to work. I want every child in Texas to have the opportunity to smile, to hope, to dream, to succeed. It’s that aspiration for Texas – for our future – that has brought me back to San Antonio today.
This is a home coming for my wife – Cecilia – & me. San Antonio is where she grew up, where her family still lives, and where my brother Gary and his wife Denise – and their family live.
My brother is a retired Commander from the United States Navy. He served 20 years in the mightiest military the world has ever known.
We never say thank you enough to our military. If you’ve ever worn the uniform of the United States military will you please wave your hand so we can say, “thank you for your service.”
San Antonio is also where Cecilia and I got married at Our Lady of the Lake, 31 years ago. Our marriage wasn’t just the joining of two families. It was a uniting of cultures: My Anglo heritage and Cecilia’s Irish and Hispanic heritage.
We may have come from different cultures but we realized that we share the same foundation: “Dos casas. Pero, una fundacion.”
The story of my family is as old as the story of Texas itself: the uniting of cultures to create one unique people, Texans.
I have lived in virtually every region of the state, from the Panhandle South Plains to the Piney Woods of East Texas; from Houston to the Hill Country; from the Metroplex to right here in San Antonio. All have been home for me.
I have lived and breathed the soil & soul of what makes Texas great.
I was born in Wichita Falls. As the grandson of a pastor, my life was infused with faith from the very beginning.
I grew up in Longview. That’s where I first felt the grip of a gun, played little league baseball, and where I joined the Boy Scouts, and pledged to do my duty to God and my Country.
I spent my teen years in Duncanville where I started a lawn mowing business with my brother Gary and learned the value of hard work.
Each stop along my journey gave me a deep appreciation of the values and character of the people we call Texans. It instilled in me a sense of duty to fight for the values that make our state unique.
So when the Ten Commandments Monument on the Texas Capitol Grounds came under attack – I fought for that monument all the way to the United States Supreme Court. And we won. Texans don’t silence voices of faith. We fight for them!
And when our 2nd Amendment rights were threatened, I led a team of states to protect firearm freedom at the United States Supreme Court. And we won! If you want to start a fight with Texans, just try taking away their freedom.
But my greatest fight began on this date – July 14th, 29 years ago. It was a challenge that made my even being here, highly improbable.
On a steamy summer day like this, I went out for a jog. While I was jogging, a huge oak tree suddenly crashed down on me. The falling tree crushed my spinal cord — piercing my body with pain – leaving me forever paralyzed. I would never walk again.
If you want to know the meaning of love look no further than my wife Cecilia, who stood by my side during the most painful period of our lives.
It’s easy to recite the marriage vow: For better, for worse…in sickness & in health. It’s awe inspiring to see Cecilia embrace that vow.
Piecing my life back together began with doctors piecing my vertebrae back together. Those doctors inserted two steel rods up and down my vertebrae that will remain in my back for the rest of my life.
Some politicians talk about having a spine of steel. I actually have one. I will use my steel spine to fight for you and for every Texas family!
After my accident, I realized our lives aren’t defined by how we’re challenged. Instead, we define our lives by how we respond to challenges.
This is the same principle that millions of Texans like you apply every day:
- Single parents, trying to earn a paycheck to raise their kids.
- Small businesses, trying to navigate the maze of regulations & taxes.
- Seniors, trying to make ends meet.
All of us Texans share a common bond: We face tough challenges and rise above them. Texans may get knocked down, but we always get back up. And we always take on the tough fights.
That is what I’ve done as your Attorney General. I’ve fought for justice in the courtroom and in our communities. I’ve fought for the constitutional principle of federalism by suing an overreaching Federal Government 27 times. I didn’t invent the phrase “Don’t Mess with Texas.” But I have applied it more than anyone else.
The very day the President signed ObamaCare into law I took him to court to protect our constitutional rights.
I know the Constitution. I’ve enforced the Constitution. And I know the 2nd Amendment & the 10th Amendment are not suggestions: they are guaranteed rights:
- I’ve fought against human traffickers and put away child predators.
- I’ve fought for children and their families by collecting more than $25 billion in child support.
- I’ve defended the most vulnerable in society – unborn children.
- And when the World Court tried to protect an illegal immigrant who had raped and murded two teenage girls in Houston, I fought against the Court to ensure justice was served.
- And I fought to keep th words “One National under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. And we won.
When it comes to our freedom & our future I will never – never – stop fighting.
That’s why I am asking you — the people of Texas — to elect me as your next Governor.
I believe it’s high time that people on Main Street benefit just as much as folks on Wall Street.
Just as I’ve been a voice for Liberty & the Constitution, I’ll be a voice for you, for children, parents, homeowners, and small business owners.
As your Governor, I’ll fight for working middle class Texans.
Together, we can build an even stronger economy. One that allows 1st generation college graduates just as much opportunity as seasoned investment bankers.
Together, we will help all Texans climb the ladder of success, not with Obama-style mandates & handouts, but with a level playing field that gets government out of the business of picking winners & losers, and by reducing taxes on employers.
Government is supposed to be on your side – not riding your back.
Together, we will keep Texas the #1 economy in the nation by reining in our state debt, and by reducing the amount the state can borrow. Just as all of us make tough budget decisions, so, too, must government.
You can’t spend beyond your means. You deserve a state government that lives within its means, too!
Together, we can prioritize roads, water, and schools. Our water reserves are too low, our highways too congested, and our schools must do better. We will solve those problems not by raising taxes, but by right-sizing government and setting real spending limits.
Together, we will secure our porous border, keeping Texas safe from drug cartels and gangs that import crime to our state.
Our priorities are wrong when we live in a state that stops a valedictorian from mentioning God but doesn’t stop drug cartels from crossing our border. Some ranchers in South Texas can’t even walk on their own property unarmed. As Governor, I will marshal the tools we need to secure our border, and I’ll enforce the rule of law.
Together, we will also launch a new era of education reform! We can inspire an entire generation of children to stay in school, and graduate either college-ready or career-ready. We already have a 21st century economy. Now, we need a 21st century education system!
To do that, we must empower schools, teachers and parents. We have too many bureaucrats but not enough teachers. Too many educators being forced to teach to the test, and not enough graduates prepared to reach for their best.
Higher Education, too, must be more accessible and affordable. We can make skyrocketing tuition a thing of the past, so that more Texans can realize the promise of their future.
The future of Texas demands better education, safer communities and smarter government. The children of Texas deserve it, and we will deliver it.
Together, we will live up to the ideal that any child of any background has a chance to smile, to hope, to dream and succeed – not because of their zip code, their heritage, or their family history, but because we live in a Texas that includes all.
It is this Texas: a Texas of boundless opportunity and limitless imagination; a Texas that champions the human spirit while weaving together the fabric of community; a Texas that attracts jobs, promotes opportunity and rewards ingenuity. That is the Texas I will lead as your next Governor.
So, join with me in this fight for our future.
Join with me in staking a claim for the next generation.
Join with me in fighting for the ideals and values of the greatest people to inhabit this Earth: the people of Texas.
Thank you, and God bless you.