AUSTIN, Texas — Governor-elect Greg Abbott held a press conference in the Old Supreme Court Room at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday to introduce his selection for Secretary of State, Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos. As Breitbart Texas reported earlier, Abbott first announced the appointment at a meeting in Brownsville, the county seat for Cameron County. This is his Abbott’s first official appointment for his administration, which will officially begin when he is sworn into office in January.
Abbott said that the appointment was to honor a commitment he made to represent the interests of all areas of the state. He described Cascos as a person who “I’ve known for years and whose judgment I trust,” and touted his diverse experience in a wide variety of areas, including law, accounting, law enforcement, border security issues, public safety, disaster relief, ethics, and so on.
Cascos was first elected to the bench in 2006, and recently won re-election. Abbott asked for “the indulgence of the voters of the Rio Grande Valley” to appoint their judge as Secretary of State, because he would “give the Rio Grande Valley a strong voice in Austin and will inspire the next generation of Hispanic leaders as he works on behalf of all Texans.”
Cascos will not officially take office until Abbott is sworn in in January, but Abbott said he was making the announcement as early as possible so that “my key leaders are ready to go from day one of my administration,” and to give Cameron County time to select a replacement for Cascos.
Born in Matamoros, Mexico, Cascos became an American citizen as a teenager. After thanking Abbott for the “confidence he has bestowed on me,” he thanked his two daughters and his wife — “without her support, I would not be here today” — who attended the press conference with him.
Cascos also stated that Abbott’s selection of a Secretary of State from the Rio Grande Valley “shows his commitment” to the area, which he described as poised for incredible economic growth, along with the rest of Texas, but still lagging behind the rest of the state in some key areas like unemployment. Cascos said that Abbott has a “plan to spark economic expansion in the Rio Grande Valley,” and mentioned recent positive developments like the new Space X facility in Brownsville, University of Texas’ new planned campus, and the new Toyota plant. Other issues Cascos cited as priorities were border security and “implementing a sustainable water plan,” which he described as “imperative to Texas’ future.”
Former State Representative Aaron Peña, who represented Edinburg, praised the appointment of Cascos, calling it a “great choice.” As Peña told Breitbart Texas, “Abbott is a man of his word. He’s wasted no time to demonstrate his commitment to South Texas and the border.”
After introducing Cascos, Abbott answered a few questions from the press. Regarding President Obama’s comments that he was considering enacting immigration reform through executive order, Abbott said that “there are limits to what the president can do,” and Obama needs to “stop working in isolation and in opposition” to Congress on this issue. Abbott reaffirmed his willingness to sue the federal government if Obama moves forward with executive orders. “If the president once again violates the constitution, if the president uses what seems to be his version of dictatorial powers” to impose immigration reform not passed by Congress, then Texas should consider taking all available options, “including legal action,” said Abbott.
Abbott has also been in regular discussions with the Legislature about the upcoming 84th Legislative Session. While he declined to take positions on specific bills that have been filed, saying that he was looking forward to the legislative debate process and seeing what language ultimately ended up in the bills, he did express support for the concept of either eliminating or modifying the franchise tax. As Breitbart Texas reported on Monday, one of the first bills filed by State Senator Craig Estes would repeal the Texas Franchise Tax. “It’s important that we put issues like that on the table,” said Abbott, who added that it was necessary to “do the math” on the elimination of the franchise tax. He would not say whether reforms to the franchise tax or property tax was a priority, just that “tax relief in general is a priority” and he was looking forward to seeing what bills developed. The key, according to Abbott, was to determine which type of tax reforms would be the most achievable and grow the most jobs.
Abbott said that he had spoken with outgoing Governor Rick Perry on election night about transition issues, and before that, had spoken to him “often about the role of Governor.”
At the conclusion of the press conference, Abbott was asked about his plans for his birthday, which is this Thursday, November 13. Abbott smiled and said that his birthday was also his wife Cecilia’s birthday, “so I will spend my birthday taking my wife out to somewhere where I won’t see any of you,” meaning the reporters in the room.
Photo credit: Sarah Rumpf for Breitbart Texas.
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