Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bills himself as a strong conservative leader.
Abbott, 60, was born in Wichita Falls in 1957 and raised in Duncanville. He graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in finance, then earned a law degree from Vanderbilt University.
At the age of 26, he was paralyzed by a tree falling on him while he was jogging. He has used a wheelchair for mobility since then.
“Our lives are not defined by our challenges,” Abbott said about the incident. “Instead, we get to define our lives by how we respond to those challenges.”
Abbott described that moment as excruciating pain. He felt like he was near death.
“It was the lesson of never, ever giving up,” Abbott said.
Since then, Abbott has been an attorney, a state district court judge, a state supreme court justice, an adjunct professor of law, Texas attorney general and, in January 2015, he took the oath of office as the 48th governor of Texas.
While Abbott was attorney general, one of the more notable court cases was Thomas Van Orden v. Rick Perry. Abbott successfully defended the state’s right to display the Ten Commandments outside the Texas Capitol.
Abbott defended the monument on the grounds that it had historic value, not just religious value.
While governor, Abbott said he signed into law “the largest tax cut in Texas in nearly a decade.” Abbott also said he signed into law “the toughest border security measures of any state in the nation.”
If re-elected, Abbott promises to streamline government spending, keep taxes low and protect against the “overreach” of what he calls excessive regulations.
According to a spokesman for the campaign, John Wittman, Abbott’s priorities if re-elected are:
– Reign in the growth of property taxes;
– Crack down on human and sex trafficking;
– Crack down on criminal street gangs; and
– Improve education.
Wittman said police protection, including money for bulletproof vests, has been and will remain a big issue for Abbott.
“Texas has created more jobs than any other state in the country over the last year,” Wittman said. Abbott’s plan is to pursue policies and legislation to continue job growth.