Governor Greg Abbott in the News: September 14th – October 11th

Statesman: “Governor tells Austin to reinstate camping ban”
“Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday sent a letter to Mayor Steve Adler telling him to reinstate bans for people experiencing homelessness to camp in public places. ‘The consequences of repealing the ban are manifested daily on the streets of Austin: human feces, hypodermic needles, mounds of garbage, and people living in unsanitary conditions that could lead to an outbreak of communicable diseases,’ Abbott wrote. Abbott said typhus and Hepatitis A are resurfacing in West Coast communities dealing with large populations of people living on the streets. The governor’s letter to Adler was his second in a week, the first threatening that he would use state resources, including sending state troopers, to address homelessness in Austin if city leaders failed to do so by November. ‘After my prior letter, you publicly assured Austin Police Chief Manley that if the police needed anything, ‘just tell us what it is and we will do what we can to facilitate,’ Abbott wrote. Last week, Manley issued new guidelines to officers to help clarify when police can or can’t take action when they encounter a person experiencing homelessness camping in public. Manley also said he had asked city leaders to reinstate the ban. ‘I agree,’ Abbott said. Abbott said putting the ban back in place is not a total solution, but an important part of showing ‘consequential improvement in Austin’s homeless issue and the dangers to public health and safety. Abbott ended the letter by saying he still plans to use state resources in Austin if action is not taken by Nov. 1.”

The Texas Tribune: “Primary fights few and far between as Texas Republicans focus on November 2020”
“It’s been quiet — almost too quiet. That’s the mood as Republicans in Texas, home to bloody primary battles in recent election cycles, enter the final couple months of the candidate filing period with fewer-than-usual intraparty fights on their hands. While plenty could change, the trend so far is encouraging to state GOP leaders who have sought to tamp down on internecine conflict as they face a high-stakes general election. ‘Everybody from both factions sees now how we are all in the same boat, and I think there is some evidence that these factions see that we are facing a real challenge in Texas,’ said Brendan Steinhauser, a GOP strategist who has worked for both incumbents and challengers. ‘There’s just not as much of an appetite for the primary battles as there has been in the past.’
Democrats’ ambitions for 2020 in Texas have gone a long way toward unifying the GOP. Democrats are targeting U.S. Sen. John Cornyn after U.S. Sen Ted Cruz’s narrow win last year. They are going after six Republican-held U.S. House seats amid a stream of retirements. And they are working to flip the state House, where they are effectively nine seats away from the majority.

The Wall Street Journal: “States of Economic Comparison”
“Texas is booming, but Illinois still lags and California bears watching. Incomes overall in America are growing smartly, but some states and regions are doing better than others. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) this week published state personal income data for the second quarter and revisions for the past three years—and the comparisons carry economic and policy lessons.”

The Monitor: “10 Valley campuses named National Blue Ribbon Schools”
“The U.S. Department of Education recognized 27 schools in Texas as National Blue Ribbon Schools, with 10 from the Rio Grande Valley. The La Joya, Roma, Hidalgo, Mission, Brownsville, McAllen and Valley View school districts, including IDEA Public Schools, each had a least one campus earning a distinction. The Texas Education Agency announced their nominations in January and the U.S. Department of Education officially announced the recognitions last week.”

NBCDFW: “Gov. Greg Abbott Joins Hundreds in Irving to Celebrate Gandhi”
“When you think of the great heroes of Texas, Mahatma Gandhi may not be the first person that comes to mind. But when hundreds of people — including Gov. Greg Abbott (R) — gather for a special tribute to the global icon, it’s hard to ignore his importance and influence. ‘Everything is bigger in Texas — including Gandhi,’ Abbott said. North Texas, home to more than 250,000 Indian Americans, is also home to the largest Gandhi memorial in the U.S. And it’s where a ceremony was held Sunday morning to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth.”

The Austin Chronicle: “Democrats and Their Campaign Teams Train Up to Turn Texas Blue”
“In a sparse studio at the Springdale General complex on the Eastside, the future of the Texas Democratic Party sat on fold-out chairs, attentively taking notes on a PowerPoint about … emails. The presenter was Shelby Cole, currently digital director for the Kamala Harris campaign, and formerly the powerhouse behind Beto O’Rourke’s fundraising success in his 2018 Senate bid. As the group worked diligently on drafting imaginary campaign launch emails, one participant – Ryan Payne, from Bell County – raised his hand and asked what to say when he’s “running against a goddamn Norman Rockwell painting.” Cole acknowledged the challenge and considered. “I think the sweet spot for you is a contrast on the issues,” she said. ‘Nice is no longer enough,’ suggested another audience participant, to nods.”

The Dallas Morning News: “SpaceX expects Texas site to launch humans to the moon and Mars”
“Elon Musk stared in giddy excitement at the gleaming steel, 164-foot SpaceX “Starship” that rose from concept to reality in less than five months near this tiny hamlet only miles from the Texas-Mexico border. To Musk, the prototype that towers over the Gulf Coast dunes and beaches represents a tangible milestone in his audacious plan to send humans back to the moon and even to Mars. ‘This is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen,’ Musk told several hundred SpaceX employees, South Texas government officials and thousands of space fans watching live on YouTube on Saturday night.”

Office of the Governor: “Governor Abbott Meets With JETRO Executives In Tokyo, Japan”
“Governor Greg Abbott delivered remarks at a luncheon with leaders of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) luncheon in Tokyo, Japan. The Governor praised the dynamic trade partnership between Japan and Texas, and discussed ways to grow both of our economies. ‘JETRO continues to play an essential role in developing a strong partnership between Japan and Texas,’ said Governor Abbott. ‘Japan and Texas are half a world apart, but we are working every day to close that gap by facilitating more trade and investment between our two regions. Together, we will create a more robust partnership and a more prosperous economic future.’ The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a government-related organization promoting international trade and investment. They offer foreign investors with abundant information on all aspects of doing business in Japan by providing expert consultation and offering free temporary office space in major business areas across the country. JETRO was established in 1958 and is focused on investment in Japan, supporting the overseas business of Japanese firms, and facilitating economic growth in developing countries through trade promotion. JETRO has one office in Houston, which assists companies in the U.S. South Central Regional in investing in Japan, providing direct access to the Invest in Japan Business Support Centers where American companies can be supplied with market information.”

The Office of the Governor: “Governor Abbott Signs Memorandum Of Understanding With Japan Bank For International Cooperation In Tokyo”
“Governor Greg Abbott met with executives from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in Tokyo, Japan. During the meeting, JBIC executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the state of Texas to promote and encourage collaboration and development between the two regions. This MOU follows an agreement signed by Representative Director and Governor of JBIC Tadashi Maeda in August 2018 that will provide a loan amount of up to $300 million (USD) to Texas Central Rail Holdings, LLC. ‘I thank JBIC’s leadership for continuing to work with the state of Texas to build upon our already strong relationship,’ said Governor Abbott. ‘With today’s MOU, we will foster greater investment in both Texas and Japan, while strengthening the economic and cultural bond between our two regions.’ Japan Bank for International Cooperation was established in 1999 as a state-owned financial institution aimed at developing economic cooperation with foreign countries. JBIC is a policy-based financial institution of Japan, and conducts lending, investment and guarantee operations while complementing the private sector financial institutions. The bank is focused on supporting international economic activities of Japanese companies. In October 2014, JBIC announced a loan agreement in project financing with FLNG Liquefaction, LLC (FLIQ) in relation to the Freeport LNG Project.”

The Dallas Morning News: “Gov. Abbott: The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is vital to the Texas economy”
“The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is vital to the Texas economy, and it is time for Congress, and especially the Texas delegation, to pass this agreement.
Texas’ trade partnerships with Mexico and Canada are integral to the extraordinary economic prosperity that our state is experiencing because they are Texas’ two largest international trading partners. In 2018 alone, Texas exported nearly $110 billion in goods to Mexico and $27 billion in goods to Canada. These exports range from oil and gas to chemical products to technology and electronics. Trade between Texas and our North American partners supports nearly 1 million Texas jobs.”

Community Impact: “Spring ISD board of trustees approves lowest tax rate in 20 years”
“Homeowners zoned to Spring ISD may see some relief this tax season, as the district’s board of trustees approved its lowest tax rate in 20 years. The board unanimously approved a tax rate of $1.43 per $100 valuation at its Oct. 8 meeting—down $0.08 from $1.51 per $100 valuation in FY 2018-19. The tax rate is broken down into $0.97 for maintenance and operations and $0.46 for interest and sinking, which supports the district’s debt service, Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks said. Westbrooks added that the last time SISD approved a tax rate decrease was more than a decade ago in FY 2007-08. ‘I know our neighbors have been asking us when we’re going to go down, so now all of us can go back and happily tell our neighbors that we have lowered your tax rates,’ President Rhonda Newhouse said during the meeting. The 5.3% tax rate decrease is a result of the 86th Texas Legislature’s passage of House Bill 3 earlier this year, which allocated $11.6 billion to reform the way public school district are funded. The bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 11, increases teacher salaries, decreases property tax rates and expands full-day pre-K programs for eligible students.”

Texas Workforce Commission: “Economy Adds 18,200 Jobs in August”
“In August, the Texas economy added 18,200 seasonally adjusted Total Nonfarm positions. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.4 percent matching the all-time record low set in June. This record is currently the lowest the unemployment rate has been since series tracking began in 1976.‘Our businesses in Texas continue to thrive every day in a strong economy, and this three-month historic low unemployment rate is encouraging for all Texans,’ said TWC Chairman and Commissioner Representing the Public Bryan Daniel. ‘Texas has created an environment for success, thanks to Governor Abbott’s leadership, and it should continue to support additional business expansion for our broad range of industry employers.’ Texas employers added 303,500 jobs over the year. Total nonfarm annual employment growth was at 2.4 percent in August and has held at or above 2.0 percent since February 2018.

Republic: “Texas Governor’s BIG ‘Howdy, Modi’ Message Highlights India-Texas Ties”
“Playing a warm host to Prime Minister Modi ahead of his Houston visit for the mega Howdy Modi event, the Governor of Texas Greg Abbott, in a video message, elaborated on the affability shared between India and the state of Texas. In an exclusive video message, the Texas Governor accentuated on the ‘enduring’ bond that is rooted in ‘shared values, cultural ties and economic partnership’ of both the regions.”

KENS5: “New plastics facility in Seguin will bring 200 jobs to the area”
“A new plastics plant will bring 200 jobs along with more than $65 million in capital investment to Texas according to Governor Greg Abbott. Continental Structural Plastics, Inc. is a ‘world leader’ in lightweight composite technologies. Seguin will be the home of the corporation’s new composites manufacturing facility. According to a release by Governor Abbott’s office, a Texas Enterprise Fund grant of $783,750 has been extended to Continental Structural Plastics, Inc. In response to the deal, Governor Abbott said, ‘I am proud to welcome Continental Structural Plastics to the Lone Star State, and look forward to the important role they will play in the Texas success story.’”

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