Wendy Davis on Greg Abbott's Refusal to Debate: He's Too Afraid to Defend His Record

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Yesterday, Wendy Davis proposed an unprecedented request to debate Greg Abbott in six cities around Texas in the months leading up to the November election. The six debates would have included two town-hall forums and an English/Spanish simulcast.

The Abbott campaign declined Davis's request within minutes, saying that they did not want to agree to any more than the two previously scheduled debates.

At a campaign event in Dallas last night, Wendy Davis responded to Abbott's refusal to engage in more debates. She pointed out that Abbott's record of hurting Texans is difficult to defend, and that by declining to debates, he's showing that he's afraid to have to defend that record to the people of Texas.

Watch Wendy Davis's speech on Greg Abbott's record after the jump. A video of Wendy Davis's remarks in Dallas, as well as a transcript, are below:

“Debates are a rare opportunity for Texas's communities to hear from the people who want their trust and their vote, and every Texan should get that opportunity. That's why I proposed debates in six cities that reflect our state's diverse communities and perspectives.

So make no mistake: Greg Abbott didn't just say no to debates; he said no to communities. He said no to the people of Lubbock, to the people of El Paso, to the people of San Antonio and Houston. These communities are crucial to the success of our state. Every voice deserves to be heard.

But, Dallas, Greg Abbott said no. Well actually that's not true, Greg Abbott's campaign said no.

He's hiding. He's too afraid to speak for himself, and he's clearly too afraid to explain his record to Texans. But given his record, that shouldn't be a surprise.

Because in a debate, he'd have to defend the fact that he served on the oversight committee at our Cancer Prevention and Research Institute and let his donors pilfer tens of millions in taxpayer dollars from cancer patients.

He'd have to defend the fact that his donors in the payday lending industry were targeting military personnel with outrageous payday loans. But instead of stopping them, he gave them a green light to rack up rates, and they returned the favor. Payday lenders have given Greg Abbott nearly $200,000 in campaign cash.

And even after seeing the fallout from his actions, he still chooses to defend the same practices that victimized service members and their families.

In a debate, he'd have to defend the fact that he's fighting against nearly 600 Texas school districts in court – that he's defending overcrowded classrooms, teacher layoffs and public school closings.

He'd have to defend the fact that he pays some of the women in his office $6,000 less than he pays the men, despite the fact that they do the same work.

He'd have to defend the fact that he said he would veto an equal pay for equal work bill, even though Texas women earn, on average, 79 cents for every dollar a man makes.

Now, if Texas had an equal pay law, the women in his office would be able to fight back against him, and he knows it.

And at the base of it all, Greg Abbott would have to defend his record of fighting against hardworking Texans.

He's not working for women. He's not working for cancer patients. He's not working for our military families. He's not working for our students. Texas, Greg Abbott is an insider, and he's just not working for you.

So, who's he working for? Well, his record tells us that he's favoring special interests. But they can't save him, and they definitely can't debate for him.

So he needs to act like a Texan and debate me – and not just here in Dallas and in the Valley but in Houston, El Paso, San Antonio and Lubbock because we face a very real and very personal choice in this election.

And it's not just a choice between two different paths; it's a choice between two different visions, and people deserve to see them side by side.”


About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

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