Texas’ Abbott begins 3rd term promising safer schools

Jan 16, 2023, 11:01 PM | Updated: Jan 17, 2023, 1:12 pm
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 17, ...

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

              Guests gather at the Texas Capitol for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's inauguration ceremony in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
            
              Members of the Texas A&M band play at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's inauguration ceremony in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
            
              Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
            
              Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, second from right, stands with his wife Cecilia, right, and daughter Audrey, center, as he is sworn in by Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, left, during his inauguration ceremony in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
            
              Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, right, is sworn in by District Court Judge Ryan Patrick, left, on the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
            
              Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, right, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, clap during their inauguration ceremony in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
            
              Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promised safer classrooms Tuesday without mentioning the Uvalde school shooting as he began a record-tying third term in office that puts the Republican in line to remain a rising national figure.

His inaugural address outside the Texas Capitol did not include specific policy prescriptions in the aftermath of a gunman with an AR-15-style rifle killing 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School. The May tragedy was compounded by a hesitant law enforcement response that remains under investigation and has led to the resignation of several officers.

Abbott touched on mental health and made assurances of swift — albeit still undetermined — action as he began a ninth year in office. He pushed back on calls for tougher gun restrictions during his reelection campaign and it is doubtful the GOP-controlled Legislature would raise the minimum age to purchase AR-15-style rifles from 18 to 21 years old, which has become one of the biggest demands of the most vocal families in Uvalde.

“Parents must know that their children are safe when they drop them off every morning,” Abbott said.

It made for a pause in an otherwise optimistic address that portrayed Texas as a prosperous and booming economic juggernaut. The state recently surpassed 30 million residents and lawmakers are starting this year with a $32 billion budget surplus, a stockpile larger than what other states spend in total from annual general funds.

Whether Abbott, 65, has presidential ambitions in 2024 will also be closely watched. His top political strategist said in November they had not discussed the possibility, but Abbott has never shut the door on a White House run.

In the short term, Abbott’s grip on Texas has seldom appeared tighter: He cruised to reelection in a commanding victory over Democrat Beto O’Rourke, turning back critics who blistered his handling of the Uvalde shooting, the deadly winter collapse of the state’s electric grid and his signing an abortion ban with no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Nationally, Abbott has taken his party’s mantle on hardline immigration measures amid a feud with the Biden administration over record numbers of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. He continues to bus migrants to cities with Democratic mayors and preside over a $4 billion border security operation.

“With the Biden Administration missing in action, Texas is using every tool to protect our state,” he said.

Texas’ new legislative session is the first since Democrats fled from the state Capitol to Washington, D.C., in 2021 in a dramatic quorum break to temporarily delay passage of new voting restrictions for weeks. Democrats remain vastly outnumbered in the Legislature and have little ability to stop Abbott’s agenda, but struck an optimistic tone Tuesday.

“To the extent that the governor and other leaders focus on those bread-and-butter issues like education, jobs and infrastructure, I think there is plenty of opportunity for bipartisan work,” said state Rep. Chris Turner, who was the Democratic House leader when his caucus bolted to Washington.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of research at Google, speaks at the Google AI@ event on W...
Associated Press

Google has the next move as Microsoft embraces OpenAI buzz

Before the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT was unleashed into the world, the novelist Robin Sloan was testing a similar AI writing assistant built by researchers at Google.
11 hours ago
budgets...
Associated Press

Group’s lawsuit seeks to void Washington transportation law

A conservative legal advocacy organization is suing to halt the nearly $17 billion transportation funding bill passed by the Washington Legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee last year.
11 hours ago
FILE - Arkansas Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers a question while taking part in a pan...
Associated Press

Arkansas Gov. Sanders to give GOP response to Biden address

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the Republican address to the nation in response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech next week as the GOP seeks to show it’s creating a new generation of leaders. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced the role […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Mexico’s president promises total withdrawal after term ends

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president is probably the most powerful political figure the country has had in decades, but he said Thursday that after his term ends in September 2024, he will totally withdraw from politics. There had been speculation that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would remain a power behind the scenes in […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Authorities: Man shot after reporting self as trespasser

MAGNOLIA, Texas (AP) — A man who might have been experiencing a mental health crisis was shot and injured by Texas deputies on Thursday after apparently calling 911 and describing himself as a trespasser outside his home, authorities said. At 12:45 a.m. on Thursday, deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were called to a […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Germany’s interior minister announces run for state office

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s interior minister said Thursday that she plans to run for governor of her home state this fall but to remain the country’s top security official in the meantime, a politically risky course that already is drawing criticism from opponents. “I’m the first woman to head the Interior Ministry, and I would […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Texas’ Abbott begins 3rd term promising safer schools