Pauken: Texas leaders to need to fight to get nation back on tra - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Pauken: Texas leaders to need to fight to get nation back on track


Gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken made a campaign stop in Tyler Thursday, telling voters why he believes he should be the republican candidate for next year’s governor’s race.

Pauken said one of his many goals is to get his party back to what he calls “true conservatism.”

One of his biggest pitches to voters is his commitment to overhaul education.

“I led the fight for more opportunities for vocational education and multiple pathways to a high school diploma,” Pauken said. “We've choked off the pipeline of skilled workers by neglecting vocational education and that's where I pushed hard to undo the mess we've gotten into. You've got to have skilled workers.”

A Vietnam veteran, Pauken’s record includes serving on the White House staff during the Reagan administration, a term as chairman of the Texas Republican Party and most recently, chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission.

But Pauken faces an uphill battle in the race, typically dismissed by polls that consider Attorney General Greg Abbott the front-runner for republicans.

A real clear politics poll, released right after democrat Wendy Davis’ now famous filibuster, showed a tight race between her and Abbott were she to run, with Abbott predicted to edge out a win with 48% to her 45%.

“Wendy Davis is a very smart lady,” Pauken said. “She's a liberal. I call her a San Francisco democrat. But she is a formidable candidate and we should not underestimate her.”

Pauken said he believes true conservatives should look at him, not Abbott.

“The problem with the leadership in Austin is there are too many insiders,” he said. “I think we're in a period of time in which the left is determined to do to Texas what they've done to us nationally. I think we need a fighter in there to make sure Texas stays strong and begins to push back effectively and get our nation back on track.”

Primary elections are six months away, with voters able to head to the polls in March 2014.

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