AUSTIN, Texas - A new poll from the Dallas Morning News and UT Tyler shows Texans believe the state is headed in the wrong direction under Governor Greg Abbott.
Jamarr Brown, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, and Ashley Brasher, board president of the Williamson County Republican leaders, join FOX 7 Austin's Mike Warren to discuss.
Mike Warren: Jamarr, starting with you is Governor Abbott was held to the same standard as, say, a company CEO. Would he be fired based on all this dissatisfaction?
Jamarr Brown: Well, I think that one of the things you have to look at in any company is the quality of life of your employees. Right. And so if he's head of a C company and Texans are the employees, then yes, he should go. Because what happens when people are sick and tired of being sick and tired? There needs to be a change of leadership. And so we're talking about a grid that's not reliable. We're talking about people being terrified to send their children to school. We're talking about leaders suppressing the vote. And so those things reduce the quality of life across the state. And so, yes, we should be looking for new leadership.
Mike Warren: Ashley, this polling, does it concern you, and should it be a warning to the incumbent candidates?
Ashley Brasher: I think it's a good indication that people are unhappy in general with what's going on right now in the world. It doesn't specifically state under Governor Abbott. It specifically states. Are people happy with what's going on in Texas right now? That can be anything from school curriculum to the gas prices.
Mike Warren: You know, Jamarr, the results of this poll. How did Democrats turn that into victories at the ballot box?
Jamarr Brown: Well, I think it's critically important to ensure that we're continuing to do the organizing work that Ben O'Rourke and statewide candidates have been all over the state, and they've been visiting all 254 counties, talking to voters about the issues that matter to them, talking about how we increase the quality of life, how we expand health care. Right, how we provide a quality education for our children. So we're going to make sure we're continuing to do that and amplify other platforms in which we need to get our message out. And ultimately, despite the laws that the Republicans in Texas passed, turn people out to the polls and help them navigate the process under those new laws.
Mike Warren: Ashley talking about the governor, how does he grow his base when the majority apparently feels that he's taking them in a path that they don't support?
Ashley Brasher: I don't think that's the case. His approval rating has exceeded that for quite some time now. It's been pretty steady since May. People are happy with Governor Abbott. I think people are moving here in droves from all over the country because Texas is where people want to be. It's a good place for economy, and we're the ninth-largest economy in the world. Texas is an amazing place to live. That's why they're coming here. And I don't think people want it to change to the places that they're moving away from.
Mike Warren: You know, Jamarr talking about the election for Governor Beto O'Rourke. Where do you think he really needs to hit Greg Abbott, and what are Abbott's weak spots?
Jamarr Brown: Well, just one point to it's also knowing that we made CNBC ranking as the second-worst state to live across the country. And so that is something notable. And I think that there are considerable challenges. But to the point about Governor Abbott's weak points, especially around gun violence, is a huge point and that folks should really think about as they're making their decision around voting, where children's lives have been at risk, workers lives have been at risk, other folks in various communities across the state, their lives have been at risk. And the governor has done absolutely nothing about it. He's only expanded gun access, causing more harm in particular communities. And then we've also got to look at health care in the state. Both abortion access, but also rural hospitals are closing where people have to drive hundreds of miles, take off work in order to access health care. And so those are only two points, but they're considerably more in terms of everyone's day-to-day living and quality of life that I think Texas voters have an opportunity to make a difference in this election.
Mike Warren: All right. Well, that election is less than three months away and a lot can happen from now until then. We have to wrap it up, Jamarr, Ashley, thank you both very much.