What Abbott meant when he said your children need to learn about patriotism

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- During his first ever, prime time televised state of the state address, Gov. Greg Abbott hit on a series of issues he considers emergency items for this year's legislative session. One of those items was election integrity.

"One thing all of us should agree on, whether you're a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, is that we must have trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections. That's why election integrity will be an emergency item this session," Abbott said Monday night.

On Tuesday, ABC13 asked the governor why he thinks election integrity is an issue in the state of Texas.
"Do I believe there were some illegal votes cast in this last election? I'd be shocked if there weren't, based upon past history," he said. "Do I have any evidence that it affected an outcome of an election? I can't say that, but what I can say is that as long as there are illegal votes that are cast, there will be distrust in the election process, and that causes people to not want to participate in it."

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Abbott announced the priorities in his State of the State speech Monday night.

His focus, however, is still on the pandemic. He has come under scrutiny from both sides of the political aisle for his handling of the pandemic. Some say he wielded too much power and mishandled the crisis in its earliest days. Others suggest he failed by shutting down businesses, and that the state sent mixed messages about who was in control. We asked him about calls this session to limit his executive power, some of them from his own party.

"Remember this, during the course of the pandemic I have remained in constant collaboration with members of the legislature," Abbott said. "Even during a pandemic, when swift decisions had to be made, there was a constant collaboration with elected officials beyond what I told you about. But, we also have to remember, decisions have to be made of 10 times on a moment's notice "

As for vaccine distribution, the governor said the state is working to make sure the vaccine is available and that people understand it is safe to take it.

"These vaccines are important. They are safe. They will prevent people from getting COVID-19, and just know that the numbers of vaccines available will continue to increase," he said. "We are deploying mobile teams to go to underserved areas to make sure that everybody in every type of zip code, especially those that are underserved, will get a vaccine. "

Education was another of Abbott's priorities in his speech Monday night. He spoke about funding and about curriculum for young Texans.
"We must educate them what it means to be an American and what it means to be a Texan," he said in the state of the state address. "We must bolster civics education in our classrooms and ensure that every child learns the values of freedom, good governance, and patriotism."

But what exactly did he mean? We asked for clarification.

"I do believe that schools have gotten away from teaching the type of civics that instills both patriotism for our state and country. But also a basic understanding of how our constitution and legal systems work in this state," he said.

He'd like to see the legislature use its power to tweak curriculum in Texas schools.

The governor has his priorities this session. The question now is, whether in a cash-strapped year, when the budget and redistricting are front and center, how much of it will become law?

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