AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is eyeing a proposal to let the state take over the Austin Police Department and Congressional Candidate Col. August Pfluger discusses his campaign with Ashley Goudeau in this Texas This Week.
Three Things To Know In Texas Politics
Gov. Abbott looking at State take over of Austin police
Gov. Abbott posted on Twitter, confirming that having the Texas Department of Public Safety take over Austin Police Department is a strategy he's looking at. Two former state lawmakers sent a letter to the Governor, urging him to consolidate APD with DPS after the Austin City Council voted to make major changes to one-third of the department's budget.
Texas sales tax revenue drops
State Comptroller Glenn Hegar released August sales tax numbers this week and the state took in 5.6% less than in August 2019. Sales tax revenue is the state's largest source of funding. The biggest hit came in the oil and gas sectors, but Texans actually spent more money on home-improvements and items for distance learning and staycations.
There's a new chapter in the fight over mail-in voting in Texas. This week, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Harris County Clerk to stop him from sending out mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters in the county. Paxton argues this will confuse voters since Texans have to meet certain criteria to vote by mail.
Congressional Candidate Col. August Pfluger
Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway is leaving the House after eight terms of representing District 11.
The district stretches from Llano County in Central Texas all the way to Midland in the west and Stephenville in the east. Voters will decide between Democrat Attorney Jon Mark Hogg and Republican combat veteran Col. August Pfluger.
Col. Pfluger spoke with Ashley Goudeau about his campaign.
Goudeau: First, tell our viewers a little bit about yourself, your background and why it is you're running for Congress.
Pfluger: "Well, I grew up in this district. I'm a seventh-generation Texan from a ranching family. And, if you know where Pflugerville is, that's where my family landed 170 years ago. And my branch of the family has been out and in this part of the district for quite a while. And, you know, growing up I had quite a few mentors that served in the military, part of the greatest generation, including two grandfathers. And so I made a decision that I wanted to serve and went to the Air Force Academy and for the last 20 years have been stationed around the world as a fighter pilot, a lot of combat time, a lot of deployments. My wife and I, really it's been a blessing to be able to serve this country in that capacity. And recently was stationed at the Pentagon and then eventually at the White House on the National Security Council. And when this seat came open, we had no idea that we would be running for this. It really was a calling and something that I can only explain as divine intervention. And so we took a step about a year ago, almost a year ago, and opened up a campaign. And really the main reason Ashley that I decided to run was because I'm passionate about national security. When I look at this district and the 29 counties that it comprises, you've got agriculture, there's a tremendous amount of oil and gas and there's an Air Force Base right here in San Angelo, Texas. And those things fall under that national security umbrella. And I believe that I can represent this district well and tie what we're already doing in this district to a national security message."
Goudeau: Now your opponent, John Mark Hogg, has said that you came back to the district solely to run for Congress. You know, he applauds your military career, but he said that you haven't been there and he sort of implied that you may be out of touch with people in the district. So how do you respond to that criticism?
Pfluger: "Well, we don't respond to that. The fact is that I've been a resident of San Angelo, Texas, my entire life and I can't help where the military stations me. It's a shame that folks would, would knock that service, especially with an Air Force base here in San Angelo that trains 12,000 airmen. And, you know, throughout this campaign process, we've been just so blessed to meet so many people in every single one of the 29 counties. And you talk about a grassroots campaign, we have run that and are completely in touch with exactly what's going on here. And like I've mentioned, whether it's the oil and gas industry or the agriculture industry, all those sectors and all areas of the district have just provided us with tremendous support. And I think it's important to also note that we won a 10-way primary without a runoff, 52%. And so I think the voters in the Republican Primary spoke pretty loudly on whether or not I was in touch with this district for the 52% vote to get out without a runoff."
Goudeau: If you are elected to Congress, what would be your top priority?
Pfluger: "Well, there's no question that the world has changed Ashley in the last few months since this pandemic has hit our country and the world. When you look at the Permian Basin, 40% of the country's oil comes from the Permian Basin. And since March, the Permian Basin has experienced a job loss of 40,000 people. It's just incredible the amount of damage that that industry has received. And so really, it's an education, that every single morning when you wake up throughout the entire day, there's not a single thing that we use from cell phones to cosmetics, to your vehicle that doesn't come from some sort of byproduct of oil and gas. And just yesterday, you know, as I was touring the site and seeing innovation the Permian Basin has provided to the world. Seventy percent of the growth in the oil and gas industry in our country has come from the Permian Basin. That is a strategic asset. It's a national security imperative. I'm in touch with the administration on so many different things, but most important in that discussion is to express and educate what the independent operator is doing and has done for our national security. So number one for me is making sure that that education continues. I believe in national security. That industry has allowed us to do so many things, including providing a strong economy. So we need folks to be able to be a voice. I will be a voice for the industry to make sure that our economy and our country remain strong."
Goudeau: You know, we can't ignore the fact that right now we are in the middle of a pandemic. And so I want to ask you, as a Republican, tell us one thing you think President Donald Trump has not done well and his response to COVID-19.
Pfluger: "Armchair quarterback is, I don't intend to play the armchair quarterback here. You know, I respect what he's doing currently to get our country back on track and to do everything he can to make sure that the health and the safety and the welfare of American citizens are taken care of. And when we look around, I mean, there's, you know, cities that are having trouble, you know, making sure that they continue to operate. So I don't intend to play an armchair quarterback for what he's done. I applaud his efforts to get the country back on track for something that we didn't ask for and we didn't control. It came upon our shores and he immediately made some moves to keep the country safe."
Goudeau: Give our viewers some final thoughts about why they should vote for you this November.
Pfluger: "Well, you know, for a couple of reasons. You know, I've spent my life serving the country, but we also have a family legacy of community service. And so I've got seven generations of being in this district and that doesn't come [without] a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and understanding exactly what the constituency is, the values of this district and what we need for it. And we've been, I'm blessed to be born a Texan and blessed to have served in different places around the world and know how dangerous it is if we don't protect those values. And so I believe that when we talk to the constituents of this great district, what they understand and what they want is somebody who's going to fight for the values. And that's what I bring to the table because I've been doing that for two decades. And it's such an honor to be the Republican nominee and especially in a district where we are conservative and we want to continue to have prosperity and businesses succeed and the innovation, that wildcatter spirit that I talked about in the Permian Basin. You know, there's a lot of things that we can lead on, and that's exactly what I intend to do. It's just it's been the honor of a lifetime to be able to get to know so many people who want a fighter to go to Washington and make sure that I represent this district, and the State of Texas, quite honestly, in a good way."
You can watch Ashley's interview with Jon Mark Hogg here: Texas This Week: Jon Mark Hogg, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives - District 11
Texans have until Oct. 5 to register to vote. Early voting is set to run from Oct. 13 to Oct. 30 and Election Day is Nov. 3.
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