As only expected, folks from South Texas did not take very lightly Attorney General Greg Abbott's “third world” remarks, comments made earlier this month meant to provoke a fear response out of conservative Tea Party voters in reference to the border. South Texas elected officials and police chiefs, along with the chair of Texas Democratic Party, held a press conference denouncing Abbott's comments.
“Given the outcry that has been brought up in the last couple of days by the people of the Rio Grande Valley, we would hope the Attorney General would have the tenacity to show up in our region and retract his comments,” said TDP Chair, Gilberto Hinojosa, who was at the press conference in Weslaco.
“However, all we have gotten is Abbott doubling down on his statement and refusing to give any type of apology. The people of the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas deserve better.”
Read more about how South Texans are standing up to Greg Abbott below the jump.
Officials at the Weslaco press conference. Photo by Nathan Lambrecht
Based on his “third world” remarks, it is evident Greg Abbott doesn't actually know or is genuinely concerned about helping our border communities.
The Rio Grande Valley has the lowest household income in the country. It has one of the most expensive health-care markets in the nation, and one of the highest levels of uninsured in Texas. Abbott has not come up with any plan to help address these very real and troubling issues.
Instead, Abbott seems only concerned about promoting the further militarization of our border, “surging” our border communities with state troopers and Border Patrol. Not exactly the kind of response South Texans want to hear when faced with much more crucial problems. Republicans are hoping to gain the support from Tea Party voters using this kind of toxic rhetoric.
“These comments are baseless, and ignore the people of the Rio Grande Valley, south Texas, El Paso, and the entire border region,” said state Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez, (D-Weslaco). “We will stand tall, and we will stand together against any type of comment that degrades our Valley, that degrades our people, and degrades the state of Texas.”
Martinez, along with other South Texas elected officials, drafted and sent Abbott a letter asking for better ways to address and deal with our state's border issues. In Eagle Pass, State Representative Poncho Navarez held another press conference in response to Abbott's comments.
Police chiefs in South Texas also denounced Abbott's comments and ideas.
“You can't lump everybody in the same basket because you have one or two bad apples,” said Weslaco's police chief, Michael Kelley. “We all do, almost every organization has one or two bad apples. But to say we're all corrupt, and compare us to a third-world country … I wonder if Mr. Abbott has been in those countries.”
Texas Democrats launched robocalls in the counties of Cameron, Starr, Hidalgo and Willacy, informing residents of Abbott's remarks and calling for a change of tone by his campaign.
“Let's talk about education. Let's talk about health care, and how many people are uninsured here in the state of Texas,” said state Representative Martinez. “Why don't we talk about what's important, and how we improve Texas, instead of degrading the communities that are in Texas.”