NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Democratic candidate for Governor Wendy Davis made headlines last week in south Texas when she described herself as pro-life, even though she made national headlines last summer leading the fight against the state’s new abortion restrictions with an 11+ hour filibuster.
In her first one-on-one interview with CBS 11 News since she announced she’s running for Governor, reporter Jack Fink asked Senator Davis to explain that apparent contradiction. “We need to get away from labels. That’s the way people talk in Washington, D.C. through labels, through ideological frames, through partisan frames,” she said. “We can agree we care about life, and we can agree that we want the same goal, which is zero abortions to occur in the state of Texas.”
Ms. Davis criticized the Republican state legislature’s cuts in 2011 to programs designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Republicans increased funding for those programs earlier this year.
Senator Davis says she still supports a woman’s right to choose. “To be pro-life doesn’t necessarily end with a woman’s pregnancy, and in Texas, the point I was making was we need to think of life at all stages. We need to think about children born in this state who deserve a good education and who deserve to be part of a higher education system.”
The now gubernatorial candidate says she agrees with President Barack Obama that Texas should expand Medicaid, the health program for the poor.
Governor Rick Perry and Republicans reject the expansion as is, but have asked for a waiver from the Obama administration along with a block grant to develop its own Medicaid program.
Senator Davis says she supports having a Medicaid program developed by Texas, but says it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a block grant.
When President Obama visited Dallas last week, Senator Davis wasn’t there to greet him. She said, “Unfortunately, the President had to reschedule his trip, and I was not able to reschedule my plans. I welcomed him through a tweet. I’m very pleased he came to our community.”
On this Veterans Day, Senator Davis took part in the parade in Fort Worth. After serving on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for six years, Ms. Davis says the state needs to do more to help veterans find jobs, housing and healthcare.
“Not having the kind of care they need for some of the mental and physical health challenges they face, and I think we need to do a better job in Texas of demonstrating to them our respect for everything they’ve given us.”
The Republican frontrunner for Governor, Greg Abbott spoke at a Veterans Day ceremony at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. He told veterans his brother served in the Navy for 20 years. “I want to honor my brother and all veterans. I want to share the deepest gratitude all of us Americans have for those who have served so honorably in the mightiest military the world has ever known.”
Abbott, the current Texas Attorney General, thanked families for standing beside their veterans.
Another Republican candidate, Tom Pauken took part in the Veterans Parade in Dallas Monday. He believes the state needs to do more to help veterans coming back home to Texas. He said, “We need to do everything in our power as a state to help them make a successful transition to civilian life, to use those skills, that knowledge that real dedication for the good of our state and the future of our state.”
When Pauken was chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, he set up a program for returning veterans, run by fellow military members.
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