Greg Abbott is the 48th Governor of Texas. He is a Republican with conservative views. Something that is perhaps unsurprising for people who remember Abbott because of his successful defense of the state of Texas putting a Ten Commandments monument before the Texas State Capitol in Austin, TX.
1. Born and Raised in Texas
Abbott was born in Wichita Falls, TX. One of the city’s most notable characteristics is its proximity to Sheppard Air Force Base, which hosts a flying training program that produces combat pilots for the U.S. Air Force as well as other NATO militaries. Later, Abbott’s family moved to Longview, TX and then Duncanville, TX.
2. Studied Business Administration Before Going into Law
Initially, Abbott studied business administration at the University of Texas at Austin. After he got his undergraduate degree, he went on to study for a Juris Doctor at the Vanderbilt University Law School, which can be found in Nashville, TN.
3. Paralyzed Below the Waist
It is interesting to note that Abbott is the first disabled Governor of Texas. For those who are unfamiliar, he is paralyzed below the waist because he had an oak tree fall on him when he was out jogging after a storm in 1984. Due to this, Abbott has been in a wheelchair ever since. Later in life, he supported policies that strengthened the positions of civil defendants, which his critics see as hypocritical because of his own multimillion-dollar settlement when he had neither a paycheck nor health insurance coverage. As for Abbott, his defense is that the policies that he supported were meant to discourage frivolous lawsuits rather than those of people with similar circumstances to his.
4. Served As Attorney General of Texas
From January of 1996 to June of 2001, Abbott was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. He resigned from his position so that he could run for the position of Lieutenant Governor of Texas. However, when the Attorney General of Texas John Cornyn resigned so that he could run for the U.S. Senate, Abbott made a swift change to running for the vacated position. Soon enough, he was elected the 50th Attorney General of Texas, having beaten his Democratic opponent by 57 percent to 41 percent.
5. Sued the Obama Administration a Lot
During Abbott’s tenure, he sued the Obama administration 31 times, which was considered a point of pride by him as well as other Republican leaders in the state of Texas. The lawsuits covered a very wide range of subjects, with examples including but not limited to deportation relief, healthcare reform, transgender rights, carbon-emission standards, and the resettlement of refugees. Abbott’s record of wins and losses wasn’t particularly impressive, but that wasn’t a huge concern for him and other Republican leaders because even losses meant considerable delays for the policies that they were in opposition to.
6. Opposes Same-Sex Marriage
Abbott opposes same-sex marriage. To an extent, his political opinion on this matter seems to be motivated by a focus on procreation, as shown by how he has voiced opposition to same-sex marriage because it doesn’t produce children whereas opposite-sex marriage does. This is something that has come up in another context as well, which would be Abbott defending his state’s ban on sex toys because he wanted to discourage “the pursuit of sexual gratification unrelated to procreation.” In any case, Abbott has also brought up arguments that should be familiar to anyone who remember the debates over same-sex marriage in the United States, with an excellent example being LGBT people not actually being discriminated against because they could get married to people of the opposite sex like their heterosexual counterparts
7. Signed Bill to Allow Faith-Based Groups to Deny Services that Conflicted with Religious Beliefs
In June of 2017, Abbott signed a bill that let faith-based groups working with the state of Texas’s child welfare system to deny services under circumstances that conflicted with their religious beliefs. His critics opposed this because the bill could be used to discriminate against LGBT people as well as people who belonged to other religions. In particular, California was irritated by what had been passed, with the result that it banned official government travel to the state of Texas.
8. Opposes Environmental Regulation
Abbott has been a consistent opponent of environmental regulation. He is one of those people who believe that the Earth’s climate is changing but maintains that it may or may not be caused by human activities. Something that has become more common as the reality of climate change becomes harder and harder to deny.
9. Asked Texas State Guard to Monitor Jade Helm 15
Some people might remember the hubbub over Jade Helm 15. In short, it was a military training exercise involving 1,200 personnel from four of the U.S. military’s five branches that was supposed to teach the participants skills useful for the kind of overseas combat environments that they might find themselve in. There were a lot of conspiracy theories that Jade Helm 15 was either a military takeover or preparation for a military takeover, which may or may not involve either an asteroid or a comet striking the Earth. There were a lot of Republicans who took those conspiracy theories very seriously, which might explain why Abbott decided to ask the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15. It is interesting to note that some of the hubbub was apparently spurred on by Russian misinformation campaigns that managed to find fertile soil for their efforts.
10. Now on Third Phase of Reopening
Recently, Abbott announced the third phase of reopening in the state of Texas. Just about all businesses in the state of Texas are now allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity, though there are some “very limited exceptions.” There are some people who oppose Abbott moving forward with reopening because the state is seeing increases in daily cases of COVID-19, which Abbott has shrugged off because 45 percent of the new cases are in “isolated hot spots” such as jails and nursing homes.