Governor highlights fentanyl crisis, priorities during stop in Waco

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 3:21 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - State officials are ramping up efforts against the deadly drug, fentanyl.

Amid his own political campaign, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was in Waco Tuesday highlighting his new ‘One Pill Kills’ campaign.

“Texas Department of Public Safety alone has seized enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in the entire United States of America,” said Abbott.

Abbott hosted a roundtable discussion with state and local law enforcement leaders at the DPS Crime Lab in Waco to talk about the fentanyl crisis.

“This is a very, very important meeting today about this very deadly drug that’s out here on the street that’s killing our kids,” said McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara.

According to Abbott’s office, close to 1,700 Texans died because of fentanyl in 2021 and it’s now the leading cause of death for people between 18 and 45 in the U.S.

“It’s highly potent, highly lethal, and in a combination of what the Mexican Cartels have been doing, they’ve been taking it and lacing it with alleged counterfeit pills, and pushing it into our streets and our communities and flooding it,” said Steve McCraw, DPS Director. “Certainly in my lifetime, the most significant, deadly, pernicious, illicit drug threat that I’ve ever seen...is fentanyl.”

Abbott says if he gets re-elected, the well-being of Texans will continue to be his top priority.

“The vision is, for one, a safer Texas,” Abbott told KWTX Tuesday. “Safety also means ensuring that Texas is not going to have defunded cities like you’ve seen in New York and Chicago, we’re going to end what’s going on in Harris County which is the ‘let ‘em loose bail policy’ where people have been murdered this year by people who were arrested for murder last year--that’s insane, and we’ll put an end to it.”

The topic of safety brings Uvalde to mind where Abbott has faced criticism in recent months following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School earlier this year.

“For six consecutive days, I issued directives to make sure we made schools safer and they would be safe when schools opened up in August, but also to help deal with the emergencies that existed down in Uvalde.” said Abbott. “I remained in Uvalde, week after week, month after month, visiting with the families of the victims to make sure their needs were taken care of, to make sure they had a chance to visit with me about their concerns, and I did all of this in private rooms where they were able to talk to me outside the viewpoint of the cameras so they could share what was truly on their heart.”

“But we continue to work to make sure that schools and the community of Uvalde is safe,” said Abbott. “Texas Department of Public Safety, they’re the ones that are policing the schools in Uvalde as we speak.”

As for the abortion debate, the Governor says there needs to be clarification about what’s allowed in Texas.

“I can tell you one thing that we will not do, we will not adopt any of the approach that my opponent Beto has adopted, which is abortion of a fully developed child up to the last second before that child is born, as well as refusing to provide medical help to a child who survives an abortion,” Abbott told KWTX. “Let me tell you something that does need to be clarified: there seems to be confusion and misunderstanding in the medical community, what it means to protect the life of the mother, the life of the mother is extraordinarily important and must be protected.”

Speaking of protection, Abbott says the border needs it--but isn’t getting it.

“The dangers on the border are extreme, and the President is doing nothing to stop it,” said Abbott.

The Governor has been getting backlash for bussing migrants from the border up North.

“It’s the biggest hypocrisy I’ve even seen in my life,” said Abbott. “We get as many in a day as they have total. The only good that’s come of it, is that now we have Democrats in Northern parts of the United States who are calling on President Biden to finally step up and solve the broken immigration problem.”

Besides securing the border, Abbott says one of his top goals is to continue the economic boom in Texas.

“Texas ranks #1 for the best state for business,” said Abbott. “Texas is now home to more Fortune 500 company headquarters than any other state in the country. But it’s our small businesses that really drive our economy, and I’ve been the small business Governor by helping those businesses achieve by having the lowest cost of doing business of any state in the country.”

In addition to focusing on business and the border, Abbott says he’s working on a major property tax cut for Texans.

“I’m proposing the largest property tax cut in the history of the State of Texas to lower the financial burden of families to make it more affordable to live in the State of Texas,” said Abbott.

Going into the election next month, Abbott says he’s confident.

“I know the polls, I’m not concerned about it (his opponent) at all,” said Abbott.

Although the latest campaign finance reports for Abbott and his opponent, Beto O’Rourke, show nearly the same amount of cash on hand at more than $16 million, polls continue to give Abbott an edge between four and eight points.