Greg Abbott raises money for Victoria Republicans (w/ video)
Feb. 21, 2014 at 10 p.m.
Updated Feb. 20, 2014 at 8:21 p.m.
Some Points of Greg Abbott's Securing Texans Plan
• Comprehensive care for child sex trafficking victims
Recommendation: To help children suffering from this horrific emotional and physical trauma the state should bring service providers together to provide comprehensive wrap-around care to child sex trafficking victims in Texas supported by up to $2 million in annual General Revenue funding.
• Preventing sex crimes and assisting victims
Recommendation: Provide justice for victims of sexual assault and arrest sexual assault offenders by funding crime lab testing of sexual assault evidence.
Recommendation: To close gaps in the sex offender registry require offenders to register before they are released into the public and completely automate the system to improve information sharing between agencies.
Recommendation: Increase appropriations to OAG to increase by 100 the number of newly certified, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) who are trained each year to provide an improved level of care and compassion for victims along with careful evidence collection and the expertise needed for effective prosecution.
• Protecting children
Recommendation: Increase the penalty for kidnapping a child from a Third Degree Felony to a First Degree Felony to match the seriousness of the crime and to deter those who intend to do harm to any child.
• Curbing domestic homicides
Recommendation: To provide more protection for victims of domestic abuse, create Domestic Violence High Risk Teams which unite law enforcement, medical professionals and victim advocates at the local level to review cases of domestic violence and to identify, monitor and contain the most dangerous perpetrators before they can inflict deadly harm.
Recommendation: Expand GPS monitoring to include domestic violence abusers who pose a severe threat to their victims as determined by a judge at a hearing to set bail so victims do not have to hide in shelters while the defendant is out on bail awaiting trial or subject to a protective order.
• Enhanced school safety
Recommendation: Provide open-enrollment charter schools the authority to commission or appoint peace officers.
Recommendation: Provide Active Shooter Response training for free to school marshals, Texas ISD police, police departments at Texas institutions of higher education and police at open-enrollment charter schools that may be authorized under future law.
Recommendation: Create a training program for OAG staff to educate faculty ,staff, and
administration on a school shooter scenario based on the "Saving Lives: When Seconds Count" video.
• Border security
Recommendation: To combat the threat of violence along the border, significantly enhance border
security by doubling General Revenue appropriations for the Department of Public Safety to add manpower, technology and tools for added surveillance.
• Organized and transnational crime
Recommendation: One of the most effective crime-fighting tools to confront the threat from international cartels across the border and from transnational gangs in our communities is closer collaboration and coordination between law enforcement agencies, all border states and the federal government through data sharing; another necessary tool is increasing funds for the Border Prosecution Unit to assist border county DAs overburdened and strained by the well-funded legal teams defending these criminal enterprises.
• Expanding the Texas anti-gang program
Recommendation: Directly challenge the threat posed by home-grown gangs by scaling the successful Texas Anti-Gang Task Force in Houston and replicating it in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Corpus Christi and Weslaco.
• Disincentivizing unlawful presence
Recommendation: Enforce current law by requiring all state agencies to make use of E-Verify in order to ensure that only those eligible to work for state government are hired for public employment.
Texas Public Safety Threat Overview 2013
• Crime threatens the safety, security and freedom of people. Sadly, one needs only to look to our neighbor to the south to view the impact that organized crime can have on a nation and its citizens. Some 60,000 men and woman have been killed in Mexico since 2006, with a substantial number of brutal tortures and beheadings.
• The majority of the crimes committed in Texas by the Mexican cartels and transnational and state-wide gangs go unreported, and include crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, public corruption, money laundering, and the recruitment and use of children in criminal operations. If there were a national organized crime index in the Uniform Crime Report, Texas would most likely lead the nation as a direct result of Mexican cartel and gang activity along the border and throughout the state.
• The Mexican cartels are the most significant organized crime threat to Texas, with six of the eight cartels having command and control networks operating in the state and using it as a transshipment center for the movement of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and people into and throughout Texas and the nation, and transporting bulk cash, weapons, and stolen vehicles back to Mexico.
• The second most significant organized crime threat in Texas is the existence of state-wide prison gangs, many of whom now work directly with the Mexican cartels, gaining substantial profits from drug and human trafficking, including prostitution. Prison gangs operate within and outside of prison and are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violent crime. With access to the large profits from drug and human trafficking, they are less dependent upon robberies, burglaries, and larcenies as a source of income.
• The impact of crime on children is multifaceted and a serious public safety concern. The tragic murder of 20 first grade girls and boys at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut is a bitter reminder of how vulnerable children are to crime in Texas. The Mexican cartels, Texas gangs, and other criminals engage in child trafficking for the sexual enslavement of children to profit from the pedophiles who seek them out. These same organizations recruit our children as criminal labor along the Texas-Mexico border, and use them to conduct criminal operations on both sides of the border. Gangs have expanded their operations into prostitution and they seek out runaways and vulnerable children to compel them into prostitution by guile and force. During 2012 alone, Texas State Troopers identified and rescued 29 such children being transported on the highways between cities. There are currently 76,272 sex offenders registered in Texas, and at least 60,871 of these offenders had a child victim. Additionally, drug traffickers and gangs have introduced heroin called "cheese" into Texas middle schools and high schools in the Dallas area with tragic consequences.
• Major industrial accidents are a potential threat to public safety, considering the large industrial base in Texas, which includes the petrochemical industry, 212,000 miles of regulated gas and oil pipeline, and the tons of hazardous materials that are shipped by rail across 10,384 miles of freight rail track, some of which is in the most populated areas of the state. It is important to note that the state's large and varied industrial base operates safely for the large majority of the time, and that serious accidents are rare.
Attorney General Greg Abbott found a roomful of support Friday night as he talked about his plans to secure the border and create more jobs in Texas.
Abbott, the Republican front-runner for the gubernatorial nomination in the March 4 primary, mixed and mingled with more than 300 Crossroads residents at the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner hosted by the Victoria County Republican Party on Friday evening.
"I'm going to fight against Obama's heavy-handed threats and the burdens he puts on Texans and Americans with his expanding liberal ideology," Abbott, who was the keynote speaker, said. "As governor, I plan to focus on job creation, education, securing the border and transportation."
Republicans filled the Spring Creek Place Event Center to meet Abbott and enjoy dinner prepared by Alimento Catering. General admission tickets were $35 each while tables ranged from $350 to $1,500.
"He is supporting our county with the upcoming elections, and we are grateful," said Charla Borchers Leon, the event vice chairwoman. "He will be our next governor."
Every judge in Victoria County attended the dinner, said Jackie Gloor, the event chairwoman.
"He gave up a Friday night for us," Gloor said. "And all the proceeds from the event will go toward redoing our Republican headquarters."
The second-floor office at 115 S. Main St. will move downstairs, and renovations will include new computers, phone banks and a volunteer room, she said.
Gloor supports Abbott because she likes what he has done as attorney general.
"We need to keep Texas red, a stronghold of liberty with strong-minded, independent people," Gloor said. "We need to continue the fiscally conservative mindset and maximize individual liberties."
Annette and Larry Long, of Victoria, attended the dinner to learn more about Abbott's platform.
Education is Abbott's top budget priority, followed by transportation, water and border security.
Abbott has proposed a $300 million plan to secure the Texas border over two years. The key focuses are drug cartels and gangs, he said.
In addition to general revenue, arrests that result in forfeitures including cash, cars, airplanes and homes will cover the cost of the border security expansion.
Slowing border traffic will also save money spent on housing immigrants arrested in the country illegally.
"We could cut that $150 million in half," Abbott said.
Border security is a statewide issue that affects not only border towns but also cities such as Dallas, Houston, Austin and Victoria, Abbott said. Drug operations have moved into the state because of crackdowns at the border.
Michael Cloud, county chairman for the Victoria County Republican Party, supports Abbott because he is a conservative champion of the constitution.
"We have to stop the national effort to invade Texas," Cloud said. "The Davis camp is getting its money from liberal groups across the country, not Texans."
Mark Zafereo, a financial adviser in Victoria, believes Abbott will guide Texas in the right direction.
"He has gone to bat for Texas against the federal government's attacks," Zafereo said. "I've waited for the day I could cast a vote for Greg Abbott because I knew Gov. Perry couldn't last forever."
Issues important to Zafereo include abortion, torte reform and higher education.
"The Texas economy is great, with more job creation than any other state," Abbott said. "The formula is less government, lower taxes, smart regulation and prevention of union abuses."