PoliticsMonday 10.03.22

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) and Beto O'Rourke go head-to-head over Gov. Abbott's response to the Uvalde school shooting.

Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican from Texas, and gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke, a Democrat, went head-to-head over Governor Abbott's response to the Uvalde school shooting.

MODERATOR: “Governor Abbott, to you now. The families of the victims, the Uvalde School District, the Uvalde County Commissioners, the Uvalde City Council all asked for you to call a special session in the wake of the tragedy. You did not despite calling them on several other issues in the past. Can you explain why you didn't call a special session? You have 60 seconds.”

ABBOTT: “I will. But I must first respond to what we have to respond to every single day. Beto’s campaign continues to spew lies and false information. He said two things that are completely false. He said that we're last in mental health care. The fact of the matter is Texas is now 27th in mental health care because of funding that I provided. Texas has provided more than $25 billion dollars for mental health care in the last three sessions. He also said that we did not fund police radios in Uvalde, completely false. We provided $1.6 million dollars for Uvalde alone, for their police radio systems since I've been Governor. So, Beto continues to provide false information. What I want to make sure that the leaders in Uvalde know, as we've shown, we don't need to call a special session in order to take action. For six consecutive days after the shooting took place, I issued directives to make schools safer and respond to the emergency in Uvalde. And then I remained engaged with the mayor, with the local leaders.”

O’ROURKE: “It could have been worse. That's what you told those families. That's what you told that community and you have done nothing to help them.”

MODERATOR: “Mr. O’Rourke, Mr. O’Rourke. We're not done with this topic yet. So you will have your say, but Governor I want to follow up with you. There's a, there's a regular session coming up in January, will you make school safety an emergency item for lawmakers when they meet? You have 15 seconds?”

ABBOTT: “Absolutely. Just like I did in past sessions. This is going to be an emergency item. Over the summer, I requested special legislative committees to begin working already so that they will have ready when we begin the session to address Uvalde. But it’s a broader based issue across the entire state of Texas.”

O’ROURKE: “If it’s an emergency call a special session now. Why wait till the next year?”

ABBOTT: “Mr. O’Rourke a question for you now.”

O’ROURKE: “Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the state, why are waiting to save lives?”

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