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The Abbott, Valdez debate over arming teachers, Harvey recovery in debate

PATRICK SVITEK | 10/8/2018, 11:36 a.m.
Lupe Valdez, the Democratic nominee for governor, swung away at Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in their first and only debate ...
An audience watches the only Texas gubernatorial debate between incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez, in Austin, Sept.28. Laura Skelding

Valdez continued to confront Abbott when it came to immigration, particularly over the 2001 Texas DREAM Act, which gives in-state tuition to some undocumented immigrants. Valdez said she believes in a path to citizenship for young people brought to the country illegally as children – “and therefore we need to prepare them to be here and be educated.” Abbott called the law flawed and in need of fixing, claiming it has no way to ensure that recipients are working toward legal status while receiving tuition.

Valdez then charged Abbott with “blaming the students for a broken immigration system.” Given an opportunity to respond, the governor again declined to mix it up with her while emphasizing “our job first is to make sure we educate Texas students.”

Abbott did directly acknowledge Valdez at least once – after she expressed support for expanding Medicaid in Texas.

“She wants to make a deal with a federal government that’s $21 trillion in debt,” Abbott said. “She’s willing to write a blank check to the federal government that I will not write.”

“Lying again, lying again,” Valdez said as moderators moved on to the next question.

Abbott and Valdez do not have another debate planned between now and Election Day, when Libertarian Mark Tippetts is also on the ballot. Tippetts was not included in Friday’s debate and held a news conference before it to voice his objections.

The hourlong event was hosted by the Nexstar Media Group and held at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.

Like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, Abbott and Valdez had a back and forth over debates. Abbott made the first move in July, announcing he had accepted an invitation to the Nexstar debate. About a week later, Valdez said she was planning to participate in a separate debate that had been planned for Oct. 8 in Houston. But Abbott held firm on the Nexstar debate, and Valdez agreed to it last month while claiming victory in getting Telemundo on board as one of the sponsors.

This article was first published at https://www.texastribune.org/2018/09/28/greg-abbott-lupe-valdez-debate-watch by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.