HOUSTON — Speaking a day after declaring his candidacy for governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott said Monday that he’s “not into the comparison game,” in response to questions about whether he is more conservative than Gov. Rick Perry. But he did say that he would bring a different perspective to the office if he were elected.
In a series of interviews with news outlets following a campaign stop at a South Houston barbecue restaurant, Abbott said that as someone who uses a wheelchair, he can relate to Texans’ physical and emotional challenges, and that he could help them overcome adversity.
He also talked about his appreciation for the state’s diversity. His wife, Cecilia, is the daughter of a mother of Hispanic descent. Without offering any specifics, Abbott said that years of being surrounded by the Latin culture have given him a new outlook “that builds on common principles.”
Abbott added that his experience working as a judge who is used to taking several viewpoints into consideration would also lead him to approach state issues in a unique way.
Monday’s stop was Abbott’s first in a five-day tour of the state since announcing his candidacy Sunday in San Antonio. He’ll visit 10 cities that hold special meaning for the attorney general, his campaign says.
Abbott told the crowd that Houston is “where all of this began.” He won his first elected office there as state district judge of the 129th Court in Harris County. It’s where he and Cecilia began their lives together. It’s also, Abbott noted, where his life changed forever nearly 29 years ago to the day.
While Abbott was out for a jog on July 14, 1984, a 75-foot oak tree snapped and fell on him, crushing his lower spine. The accident left him paralyzed.
“I demonstrate what every Texan exemplifies every day — the ability to overcome adversity,” Abbott said.
He also discussed his work in the Harris County justice system, telling supporters that he helped put child predators away, collected billions in unpaid child support and defended the most vulnerable in Texas: the unborn.
Asked afterward in an interview whether he’s concerned that House Bill 2 — the omnibus abortion bill that the Senate passed on Friday — would lead the majority of abortion clinics to close, and thereby limit access to the procedure, Abbott replied, “You can’t buy into all the arguments put forth by the other side.”