Vietnam veteran Garry Trinkle wanted to hear Greg Abbott when he stopped in Beaumont, but he didn’t expect the gubernatorial candidate to call him out of the crowd.
Abbott, the current Attorney General of the state of Texas, spotted Trinkle’s cap and pointed out the Purple Heart winner among the supporters at Monday’s campaign stop. He thanked Trinkle for his service, and the audience members jumped to their feet in a standing ovation for Trinkle.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” said Trinkle, an Orange County resident. “I wasn’t expecting that.”
He said he came to the event because he likes Abbott and wants him to be the next governor of Texas.
“I like his values and what he stands for,” Trinkle said. “I think he’s a good person.”
He said he is “inspired” by the way Abbott overcame an accident that left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.
“He could have said ‘poor me,’ but he didn’t. He has courage, courage to stand up for us,” Trinkle said.
Abbott is seeking a win in the Republican Primary on March 4. His Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis, gained national attention after an 11 filibuster in June to block Senate Bill 5, a measure which included more restrictive abortion regulations for Texas.
Davis had momentum early in her campaign, but it still doesn't look like Texas will have a Democrat in the governor's mansion again anytime soon.
Abbott currently leads Davis by 11 points, according to a new poll by the University of Texas/Texas Tribune released Feb. 24. The results show that 47 percent of voters polled said they back Abbott, compared to 36 percent for Davis.
In October, Abbott was ahead by only 6 points.
While in Southeast Texas, the home to many of the nations petrochemical facilities and strategic ports, Abbott spoke to a packed house at The Café, a family owned restaurant.
He said as governor, he would fight for the café owners and other small business entrepreneurs.
“I want to keep the government off their backs so they can achieve the American Dream,” Abbott said.
Opponents point to Attorney General Abbott’s lawsuits against the government as a negative, but among supporters, the suits were applauded.
Abbott said he files suits to stop the “over-reaching” of the Obama administration, especially the strict regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.
“They are trying to crush the very jobs we have right here in Jefferson County,” he said.
As governor, he would be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the First Amendment freedom of religion.
But Abbott also said one of his priorities is to keep Texas the No. 1 state for creating jobs. The Lone Star State has been cited as the best business climate for nine years and top exporter for the past 11 years, he said. In the next decade, seven of the top 10 states for economic growth will also be in Texas, he said.
But job growth means population growth, and Abbott said Texas needs to find better access to water to support the new residents, and needs to improve its infrastructure.
“Our roads are too congested,” he said, mentioning the local delays at the interchange of Interstate 10 and U.S. 69 heading north out of Beaumont, which backs traffic up along I-10 during rush hours.
“I have a plan to add $4 to $5 billion more for roads without raising taxes, fees or tolls,” Abbott said.
“I will keep Texas moving,” he said as he rolled his wheelchair quickly across the front of the room with a laugh and a smile on his face.