Texas State Senator Wendy Davis kicked off a statewide campus tour in Houston attempting to prove that if elected governor she will fight for students.
“I have to say last week felt awfully good,” the Ft. Worth Democrat told a crowd of a few hundred students and supporters at the University of Houston’s Conrad Hilton Ballroom. “We had two judges in two different decisions both side with the positions that I took in the two filibusters that I undertook.”
The two decisions she is referencing came last week when a state district judge took the side of more than 600 school districts who argued the state was underfunding public schools, and a federal judge denied a key condition in state abortion legislation.
While Davis is better known for her stance on abortion, she did play a key role in fighting the budget cuts from 2011 that took $5.4 billion from the public education system.
Her opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, is planning to appeal the judgment and has filed an emergency motion asking to continue the enforcement of the new abortion laws.
“The problem with my opponent Greg Abbott is not that he doesn’t work hard. He’s working hard against you,” Davis added, echoing her oft-repeated line characterizing Abbott as a political insider and touting her journey from single mom to Harvard Law School graduate.
Davis also has plans to implement a board that would bring together employers and schools to better streamline technical schools.
Both candidates plan on helping state universities reach Tier One status, a world-class research status, which Abbott plans on budgeting $40 million for.
Abott on the other hand, introduced big plans for higher education while visiting a separate campus: holding schools accountable for graduating students on time with degrees they can use in today’s job market. To do that, he is suggesting linking some of the state funding to graduation rates.
He also plans on offering more college courses online to save students money.
“We must increase online college learning opportunities and count successful completion of those courses toward degree requirements,” he told journalists gathered at a press conference at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Students from the University of Texas Austin campus recently spoke with KVUE, saying that for them, cost was the biggest issue associated with college.
“They don’t give me financial aid, so it’s pretty hard because I think about my parents and how they’re struggling,” said one undergraduate student. Graduate student John Gengler told KVUE more scholarship opportunities would not only make college more affordable, but help students academically.
Davis is running out of time to make a move in the polls. Latest data from RealClearPolitics shows Abbott with a 12.4 point lead.