Surrounded by his family and in front of hundreds of supporters, Greg Abbott announced Sunday he is running for the governor of Texas in 2014.
Abbott said his experience as attorney general will help him run a state with a deeply divided electorate and legislature.
“I’ve had a very productive career working on both sides of the aisle and I’m confident that will continue during my tenure as governor,” Abbott said.
Abbott said if elected he would continue to promote Texas as a business-friendly state, building on tax policies that he believes have attracted new businesses to the state.
“The real thing that will attract jobs to the state will be the right tax policies,” he said. “We're going to come up with a tax structure that will allow small businesses to keep more of what they make to make business grow even more and attract even more well-paying jobs to Texas.”
Abbott, 55, made the announcement 29 years to the day that he was paralyzed. While jogging with a friend, a tree fell on Abbott, paralyzing him.
Abbott said the accident taught him the true meaning of perseverance and he joked that the two steel rods up and down his vertebra make him the only politician who truly has a “spine of steel”.
“I will use my steel spine to fight for you and for every Texas family,” Abbott said during his speech.
Soon after Abbott’s announcement the Democratic National Convention released a statement linking Abbott to other controversial republican governors.
“Greg Abbott’s entrance into the race for governor in Texas is another step backward for a national republican party trying to gain relevance outside of its narrow, right-wing base,” the statement read. “Just like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Greg Abbott supports controversial mandatory ultrasound legislation and restricting a women’s right to choose. Like Chris Christie in New Jersey, Abbott has shown open hostility toward the rights of gay Americans. And just like Rick Scott, Greg Abbott holds positions that are openly hostile to people of color.”
The ongoing battle over immigration reform and the state’s changing demographics have Texas democrats vowing to turn the red state blue.
Abbott said his connection to the Hispanic community, chiefly through his wife Cecilia, will help him bridge the divide between that community and the GOP.
“The core values of the Hispanic community are similar to the core values of the Republican Party,” he said. “They believe strongly in faith, strongly in family, strongly in the liberty the United States of America provides for everyone. That's exactly what I and my party fight for.”