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By State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia, Senate District 6

I grew up in a small farming community in South Texas, and despite my love of Houston, some part of my heart will always remain in Palito Blanco.  That is why Attorney General Greg Abbott's comments about South Texas and the border this week offend me, my family, and my many friends in South Texas. 

The truth is that every election cycle I watch candidates take aim at the border and the vast majority of the time those comments are either false or completely out of context.  My friends and family in South Texas and all along the border have lived through years of this kind of behavior, and it is time to stop allowing candidates to makes these comments. Ya, no mas! Texas deserves better.

What Abbott should be proposing is ways to help local law enforcement with additional resources and training for sheriffs, constables, and police officers who are actually the ones faced with protecting the lives of the citizens along the border.  If he wanted to stop corruption and help the economy, he should be talking about better funding the schools in South Texas, the vast majority of which are currently suing the state of Texas for consistently under and inequitably funding their schools.  Greg Abbott is of course currently defending the state in that lawsuit.  If he and members of his party want to help South Texas, I would hope it would be in ways that increase access to health care, since some parts of South Texas have the highest uninsured rates in the state.  Unfortunately, those issues are rarely addressed in election years. Some of my colleagues would rather play the piñata politics of the past rather than put forth policies for the future. 

I do not disagree that border security is important.  It is absolutely important, but as elected officials, we are tasked with working together for the greater good of the people we represent.  If Greg Abbott wants to help secure the border, he should be working with the federal government to help support those border patrol officers currently working to secure the border.  Instead, all we hear about is how he wakes up every morning and sues the federal government.  I would rather see Greg Abbott and all our elected officials wake up every morning and embrace Texas’ demographic changes and work with all Texans, not just Republican primary voters. 

I may not live in South Texas anymore and I may not represent the wonderful people of South Texas, but it was its rich heritage of hard work, strong family values and belief in the American Dream that got me to where I am today. We are as proud of Texas as any other Texan. Greg Abbott you owe Texas an apology. Texas deserves better.