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Editorial: Gov. Abbott's first actions give great hope for future

By Longview News-Journal
Feb. 16, 2015 at 11 p.m.


Gov. Greg Abbott will give his first State of the State address today to a joint session of the Texas Legislature.

As he has only been in office a few weeks and this is his first legislative session, it's likely the speech is going to focus on what he wants to get done in the months ahead. He's got some selling to do; the office of Texas governor is intentionally weak and Abbott will need generous help from the Legislature to see his ideas turned into law.

We don't yet know just what those ideas will be, but Abbott has said the key points in his agenda are education, jobs, transportation and helping veterans. We'll be listening with interest along with the rest of you for the details.

Even before the governor utters a word today we must say his first weeks on the job have impressed us greatly, giving us much hope for the future of our state.

Shortly after taking office, Abbott moved quickly to abolish the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, a pet project of Gov. Rick Perry which handed out millions of taxpayer dollars with little oversight or transparency. A 2014 audit showed the fund was fraught with problems ranging from outright mismanagement to perceived crony capitalism.

Abbott also has directed the Legislature to reform the Texas Enterprise Fund, which Perry credited as a key part of the Texas "economic miracle" but which an audit found also was used by him in some cases to reward friends and campaign donors.

Abbott also has begun to weed out some of Perry's partisan picks to serve on state boards. It will take much longer to go through that process but an early start shows he is his own man, not beholden to the politics of the past.

Finally, we're pleased Abbott has begun his administration with a show of transparency that was sorely lacking during the Perry years. We hope this lasts however long the new governor serves. The test, of course, will come when the first bit of difficulty arises. It always does, and Abbott's commitment to transparency will truly be known at that time.

At the moment, our new governor is impressing us with his statesmanship and openness.

He also has brought into the governor's mansion something not seen for some time: Humility.

No one could accuse Perry of being a humble man, and the change refreshes.

We know we will not always agree with Abbott's proposed policies. That doesn't happen with any political leader. But doing business the right way, in the open, with honesty and compassion, is of the utmost importance. So far, Abbott is accomplishing just that.

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