JAN. 30, 2017

News Release

Contacts: John Patrick, 
Rick Levy or Ed Sills, (512)477-6195

State of the State Message Needs to Include Entire State

The Texas AFL-CIO may not see eye to eye with Gov. Greg Abbott on key issues, but we can agree in the light of recent events that how we treat immigrants, refugees, children and the working poor is at the core of who we are as a state, Texas AFL-CIO President John Patrick said today.

  “The state labor federation will listen carefully to Gov. Abbott’s State of the State speech on Tuesday in light of the issues that most families have been discussing over the kitchen table,” Patrick said. “These include everyday personal finances, our public schools and mass demonstrations that seek to uphold Texas’s reputation as a welcoming state.”

  Patrick suggested there are two ways for Abbott to go:

  “Will Texas join a growing bipartisan chorus of elected officials who oppose an un-American and unconstitutional ban on Muslims (or any other religious group)? Or will we adopt a ‘Trump Jr.’ attitude and demonize immigrants? Will we blindly join in building a Border Wall or will we side with Texans who live along and know the border and see a wall extending for thousands of miles as a boondoggle that symbolizes fear and loathing?”

  “Will Texas provide a fair shot for working families that includes raising the minimum wage, more and better job training, and support for earned sick leave? Or will we continue to ask taxpayers to subsidize jobs that pay so little they make full-time employees eligible for food stamps and other government benefits?”

  “Will lawmakers act as they speak, supporting ‘local control’ by the elected bodies closest to the people? Or will the Legislature dictate every aspect of now-optional community choices, including the human rights ordinances that spurred the job-killing ‘bathroom bill’?”

  “Will Texas build a world-class public education system? Or will some of our leaders continue to starve our public schools of funding, declare them to be ‘failing’ and aim toward privatization through vouchers?”

  “Will Texas continue to support immigrants and refugees who have been a net plus to our economy? Or will we endorse vague ‘sanctuary cities’ policies that undermine law enforcement and make a lie out of our state motto – ‘Friendship’?”

  “Governor, we are all ears.”

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