Andrew White is the best Democrat to face Greg Abbott in the fall

Andrew White on education, property taxes, toll roads and why he's the best Democrat to be Governor

The Houston businessman visited the Star-Telegram Editorial Board in the weeks before the 2018 Democratic Party primary runoff for governor.
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The Houston businessman visited the Star-Telegram Editorial Board in the weeks before the 2018 Democratic Party primary runoff for governor.

The Democrat who can best challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in November has already lived in the Texas governor’s mansion — when he was a kid.

Andrew White, 45, was a teenager when father Mark White served as governor from 1983 to 1987. And while he’s never run for elected office, it’s clear the Houston businessman and entrepreneur absorbed a wealth of public policy understanding at the family dinner table, while his father was at the center of state government.

Like his dad, White wants to raise teacher salaries and provide more state money for schools. He didn’t just throw his ideas out there knowing the price tag would be steep. We were impressed that he’s identified ways to pay for his plans, even though some of them are controversial.

White would provide as much as $9 billion more for schools and teachers by shifting money used to deploy state troopers at the border to education; closing a tax loophole available to commercial property owners; and by allowing voters to adopt casino gambling.

White says that if the state spends more on public education, local governments would have to spend less, and that would lower residential property taxes collected by school districts, counties, cities and other local taxing bodies.

Some Democrats may not like the fact that his children attend private schools. He says he and his wife made that decision because they want their children to have a Christian education.

The Dallas law officer visited the Star-Telegram Editorial Board in the weeks before the 2018 Democratic Party primary runoff.

Former Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez, 70, also suggests shifting some state border money to schools and wants to close tax loopholes. But in her conversation with Editorial Board members she fumbled while trying to explain the details, and she waffled when asked if she’d personally support expanding gambling.

Throughout the conversation Valdez seemed to search for answers and what she came up with was often simplistic. She wants to provide a community college education to all Texans who graduate from high school, but suggested no way to fund that. She seemed unfamiliar with the issue of who has and should control the rates set for college tuition and fees.

Valdez has a compelling personal story to tell about being the daughter of migrant farm workers who graduated from college and became a federal agent. She was elected as the first Latina sheriff in the country, serving Dallas County in that job from 2005 to 2017.

Those achievements, however, don't qualify her to be the top elected public official in the state.

In a head-to-head debate with Gov. Greg Abbott, White could hold his own. He’s in command of the issues and decisive about what he believes.

Abbott wants to kill state funding for future toll roads. White says toll roads should be on the table.

White opposes the death penalty, saying too many people have been wrongly convicted. Abbott supports the death penalty.

Abbott has been reluctant to further expand the use of medical marijuana. White’s for it.

White wants Texas to draw down billions in federal money by expanding Medicaid. Abbott — like many Republicans — opposes that.

It would take a Texas miracle for White to unseat the incumbent Republican who is flush with campaign donations and widely known, but Texans would have the benefit of a robust debate between two candidates who understand the issues. For those reasons we RECOMMEND Andrew White as the Democratic nominee for Governor.

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