For the first time in more than two decades, there is an open seat for governor of Texas, and the two major parties are likely to nominate two candidates who will offer voters distinct choices based on substantive issues, style and leadership qualities.
The presumptive nominees — Attorney General Greg Abbott for the Republicans and Fort Worth state Sen. Wendy Davis for the Democrats — are hoping to become the 48th governor of Texas since the state’s annexation to the union in 1845.
The new governor will succeed Rick Perry, the longest serving Texas governor, who is not running for re-election.
Both candidates are expected to win easily in their respective March 4 party primaries, which means their campaigns already are focusing on the November general election and on each other. This may very well be the most competitive Texas governor’s race since 1994, when George W. Bush defeated incumbent Ann Richards.
To that end, it is important that Texans have the opportunity to hear Abbott and Davis explain in detail their positions on serious issues affecting this state, and offer real solutions.
Some of the matters they must address are:
As a state with continued annual growth of student population and in which a judge has declared the way public schools are funded to be unconstitutional, Texas needs a leader who can take on persistent problems in a practical and fair way.
Texas still has the death penalty, which many think is administered in an arbitrary and capricious way. It is time to rethink how it is used.
These are just a few of the issues we should expect to hear about as the campaigns pick up steam.
A competitive race for governor will be good for Texas. It’s a chance to air opinions and policy stands in new ways.
Voters should expect no less.