DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — In Dallas Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott predicted Republicans will boost their nine seat majority in the Texas House in 2020.
“All the House members have to do is run on their record. It’s a record that sells well with voters because it shows they tended to the needs of voters,” Abbott said. “And I’ll tell you this, I think not only are we going to ensure that all Republican House members are re-elected. I think we are going to have gains including right here in Dallas County because people are hungry for results the Republicans have delivered.”
After last year’s elections, Republicans in Dallas County lost all but two of their House seats.
Angie Chen Button and Morgan Meyer remain the two Republican state representatives in office in Dallas County.
The governor said the record Republicans can run on includes bills the legislature passed this year aimed at reducing fast-growing property taxes by limiting how much municipal governments and school district can increase spending and increasing funding by an additional $5 billion for public schools.
He made his remarks to reporters following his State of the State address before the Dallas Regional Chamber.
He touted the legislative bills during his speech.
The Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party issued a statement saying, “Governor Abbott was forced to step into House races because the Texas Republican ignored critical issues that mattered to everyday Texas, like expanding Medicaid… From Donald Trump to Dennis Bonnen, the Texas Republican brand has been tarnished. Texas Democrats are poised to take back the state house…”
The Democrats say they’re planning to flip 22 House seats and gain the majority.
During his speech, the governor bragged about the thriving economy not only in Texas but the Dallas area.
“America’s leading businesses are choosing to come to the Dallas area,” he said.
He cited two economic records in the state: the nearly $3.2 billion in sales tax revenues last month and jobs.
“We enjoy an all time low unemployment rate of 3.4% with Dallas and the Dallas region doing even better than that with an unemployment rate of just 3.1%,” Abbott said.
The governor added there were 300,000 new jobs created in Texas during the past 12 months, one-third of them in the Dallas area.
He said the state’s economic record should give Republicans a boost next year over Democrats.
“There are the forces of socialism that show up, not just in the Presidential candidates, but also candidates for other offices,” he said. “Socialism does not sell in Texas. So I think Texas Republicans have a great opportunity to add to their leadership gains.”
The governor also announced Thursday that he is asking FEMA for a second time to extend the deadline for him to file a major disaster declaration by another 30 days until Jan. 19.
FEMA would reimburse cities like Dallas 75% of its uninsured losses to public facilities and infrastructure if the area qualifies.
The problem is it hasn’t yet qualified for FEMA’s help, and this area is still trying to calculate the damages suffered to public infrastructure such as traffic lights which amounts to nearly $29 million.
But the city had said FEMA doesn’t accept all losses related to damaged or destroyed traffic signals.
All told, if Dallas doesn’t qualify, it’s staring at $45 million dollars in uninsured losses.
The governor said, “We are working with FEMA as we speak. I’ve asked for an extension of time to do it. I think that we will be able to show FEMA that Dallas and the Dallas area does qualify for FEMA assistance.”
Abbott also praised Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson for tackling the crime problem head-on.
Last week, the mayor sent a letter to City Manager T.C. Broadnax asking for a comprehensive plan to fight violent crime by the end of the month.
Dallas PD says the city has 197 homicides so far this year.
The Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities is also developing non-police-related recommendations to reduce violent crime and is set to submit them to the mayor by the first of the year.