FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – When Democratic candidate for Texas Governor Wendy Davis outlined her economic plan in Fort Worth Tuesday there was no mistaking who she said she’s fighting for. The current State Senator mentioned “hardworking Texans” 19 times during her more than 40-minute speech.

Davis says her plan to keep the economy booming in Texas, which has outranked every state in the nation for job creation since the recession, hinges on improving the state’s public schools. She wants full-day pre-K for every child in the Lone Star State.

She said the move would be to assure, “…that the ever increasing percentage of our students who are coming to school less prepared to learn than we were will start off in a better place.”

Davis called for an increase in funding for education, and criticized her Republican opponent. “Greg Abbott likes to toss around phrases like ‘making Texas number one in education.’ But his actions tell a dramatically different story.”

Davis blasted Abbott for fighting school districts’ lawsuits to receive more money.

When asked how increasing the budget for public schools translates into creating more jobs, Davis said, “By improving our education system, we improve our trained workforce and we improve the ability and opportunity to attract companies to our state.”

Davis’ economic plan also calls for expanding Medicaid, salary equality for women, and raising the minimum wage. To pay for her three main priorities of schools, water, and transportation projects, Davis says the state needs to re-examine the $43.9 billion in tax loopholes every year.

When asked if she would rule out raising taxes on residents, Davis said, “I’ll certainly rule one out right now because I think we have an opportunity to look at these existing revenue sources and solve the infrastructure.”

In response to the comments Abbott’s campaign issued a statement that said, in part –

“Senator Davis just announced her plan to increase the cost of doing business in Texas and impose mandates that threaten jobs…”

Davis’ speech comes after a recent Texas Tribune/University of Texas poll shows she’s trailing Abbott by 12-points, and she has higher negative than positive ratings.

UT Arlington political science professor Allan Saxe said, “It can be turned around, but she knows that it’s very difficult because the Abbott campaign, the Republicans are going to tie her to President Obama’s administration, and President Obama quite frankly in Texas is increasingly unpopular.”

When asked how she can turn her campaign around, Davis said, “First of all, we’ve seen polls that have vastly underestimated the energy that’s on the ground. I know because I feel the energy and enthusiasm of the over 18,000 volunteers here on the ground in this state. We’re four-and-a-half months out of this race. We have a long road ahead of us.”

It was one year ago when Davis filibustered for 11 hours against stricter abortion rules.

On June 25th, she’ll host an event in Austin to mark the day thousands of people went to the Capitol to make their voices heard on the Texas anti-abortion law.

Follow Jack on Twitter: @cbs11jack

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