Texas ready to swear in new governor, second in command

AUSTIN, TX (KTRK) -- As he stood on the Capitol steps walking through his inaugural address, Lieutenant Governor-elect Dan Patrick talked about his journey here.

"this was not on my agenda even two years ago to be running for lieutenant governor," Patrick told Eyewitness News. "it all came about. We worked very hard. And we were successful."

The 64-year-old Houstonian won the office by defeating long time incumbent David Dewhurst in the Republican primary. Now, still moving into his office is outside of the senate chambers just hours before his swearing in, Patrick becomes the one who essentially sets the agenda in the state legislature.

He says he has a clear direction for the future. He'll start with the tax cut by increasing the homestead exemption.

"We have to have property tax relief for people," he said.

He also says that cut doesn't conflict with his commitment to quality education and providing public money for parents to send their children to private schools under certain conditions. He wants money more efficiently spent in the classroom and what he says is real accountability.

"We will have a bill in the Senate to rate every individual school the same way a child is graded on the report card," Patrick explained. "When you drive by, when a parent drives by an elementary, or middle school, or high school and sees a 'C' out there on the marquee, you're going to wonder, 'what's wrong with my school?'"

There is also the issue upon which he ran; Border security.

"We will spend more than we been spending," he said. "We will lay out our budget next week, so I don't want to give out the details now but we will fund border security at the highest level ever in the history of the state."

It's a big to-do-list for Texas' first new lieutenant governor in 12 years.
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