On the campaign trail, Texas lieutenant governor candidates Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte have aired deeply contrasting views on topics like immigration reform, health care policy and education funding.
Not long into the session, the two candidates took up Republican Dan Patrick’s idea to lower property taxes and increase the state sales tax.
“We have about four-and-a-half million homeowners in Texas, and they are carrying the burden of the state on their back,” Patrick said. “As lieutenant governor, I am not going to raise your taxes; I am going to lower your taxes.”
Democrat Leticia Van de Putte was dismissive of her opponent’s plan. “He calls it a tax swap, but it’s really tooth fairy tax policy,” she said.
With that, the tone was set. Patrick went on to accuse Van de Putte of being soft on the border. “My opponent is out of step with most Texans on the issues, and securing the borders is one,” he said.
On that front, Van de Putte accused Patrick of offering a lot of talk and no action. “You voted against the funding for our border security this past legislative session,” she said.
On the issue of gay marriage, Sen. Van de Putte insisted that same-sex couples deserve “full equality.”
But Sen. Patrick bristled at court challenges to the state’s ban. “That’s been resolved in Texas, and the federal government needs to get out of our business,” he said.
The two candidates for the office that some would argue is more powerful than governor disagreed on just about everything. But the remarks were the most pointed and personal when the two hopefuls fielded a question about Texas’ strict limits on abortion.
“He didn’t even want an exception for rape and incest of a child,” Van de Putte said. “That’s rape, and those decisions need to be made by families. They need to be made by women. You have to trust women, and I guess my opponent doesn’t.”
Patrick countered with this: “I understand some people have a difference of opinion on rape and incest, but that child is still born in the image of God and is still a human being,” he said. “My opponent can use all the flowery language she wants, but she has been against life the entire time she has been in office.”