A Democrat has not won a statewide election in Texas since 1994, but the candidate for Attorney General, Rochelle Garza, and Lieutenant Governor candidate Mike Collier are confident they will break the dry spell.
“I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I could win,” Garza said in an interview with The Dallas Express. “I’m within striking distance of taking Ken Paxton out this November; we’re within 3 points. Texans are tired of having leadership that is corrupt and ineffective like Ken Paxton is.”
Garza says AG Paxton’s legal troubles make him unfit for office.
The attorney general has been under indictment for securities fraud charges since 2015. Reportedly, he has also been under FBI investigation following claims of abuse of power and corruption made against him by former top staffers.
Paxton, for his part, has consistently dismissed the allegations as being “politically motivated.”
Garza also criticized the attorney general’s recent lawsuit against a directive from the Biden administration that doctors are required by federal law to perform abortions in the case of medical emergencies.
“We need to focus on families, we need to focus on the issues that are impacting everyday people, and address those issues through the offices we are seeking,” Garza said. “Ken Paxton doesn’t care about people. He just filed a federal lawsuit against the Biden administration yesterday to prevent doctors from saving women’s lives when they need an emergency abortion.”
Garza, a civil rights lawyer, says that if elected, she would have “a fully funded civil rights division” to “address all the issues that we’re seeing around voting and the LGBTQ+ community and making sure that women have access to reproductive healthcare and abortion care.”
The candidate said she would also focus on “all the bread and butter issues.”
“I wanna make sure that we do all the things that lead to a healthy family, so making sure that we have a workers protection bill that’s gonna ensure that people can have a good paying job and put food on the table,” Garza said. “The attorney general is also in charge of consumer protection and making sure that Texans aren’t taken advantage of; we have an AG who doesn’t care about that and having accountability for what happened with the power grid failure.”
For Collier, he acknowledged the long time that has passed since a Democrat last won a statewide election as an indicator that he had a lot of work to do to unseat current Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
“However, when I travel around the state and ask Texans, ‘Do you feel the state’s better now than it was after eight years of Dan Patrick?’ The answer is no,” Collier said in an interview with The Dallas Express. “I mean, people are very concerned about the grid, we have to fix the damn grid, very concerned about public education, they’re now very concerned about safety, and they’re afraid to send their children to school, and Dan Patrick isn’t doing anything about that, and that’s not right.”
“They’re concerned about property taxes and so many other things,” Collier continued. “So, I think because my opponent Dan Patrick has not dealt honestly with those issues or tried to solve the problems that matter to people in their lives. There’s a very, very strong appetite for change, we see that in the polls, we’re gaining on him, but I have work to do because people won’t vote until you’ve earned their trust.”
Improving public education and healthcare would be among Collier’s priorities if elected.
“I know that parents want to send their children to good schools,” said Collier. “I know that good schools are only possible if you got great teachers, and about 65% of teachers are thinking that they want out. They don’t want to do this anymore because the state has done such a terrible job of supporting them.”
Collier added, “I also think we should expand Medicaid if you got a job you oughta have healthcare, simple as that, and expanding Medicaid achieves that and it’s fair, it’s the right thing to do.”
If Collier does win in November and replaces Dan Patrick as the Lieutenant Governor, he will be the head of the Texas Senate, and it is very likely he would be heading a chamber where Republicans hold a majority. Collier says if he gets the majority of votes from Texans, he would be able to reach across the aisle and work with Republican lawmakers to pass legislation because they would not want to position themselves against the majority of Texans.
“If I am elected, it’s because my point of view is shared with the majority of Texans,” said Collier. “Whether it’s for a woman’s right to choose, which is very, very important to the majority of Texas women, and I’m pro-choice, and I think we should codify Roe v. Wade. Whether it’s the grid, whether it’s schools, whether it’s property taxes, which are exploding, when I’m elected, if I’m elected, I should say, it’s because I represent the majority point of view.”
“I personally think, and I hear this from a lot of people,” Collier continued, “that Dan Patrick does not allow the Senate to do its job, including Republican senators. […] It’s sort of my way or the highway with Dan Patrick, and if Dan Patrick is out of step with the rest of the state and he’s gone, you’ll see a change in terms of how the senate works.”