Letters to the editor: Sept. 18, 2022

Last week we asked readers what issues and questions would you like to see posed to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in what is likely to be their only face-to-face matchup before the November election?

Here are some of your responses.

Abbott, O'Rourke should address elections, guns, climate change

The questions I would ask the candidates are are:

Who won the 2020 presidential election?How much voter fraud was there in the Texas 2020 election?What should the governor do about climate change?Routine methane flaring is prohibited in Alaska and Colorado. What about Texas?The U.S.'s gun death rate is far greater than many other countries. Why?Texans can’t own machine guns. Why are they allowed AK-47s ?Should abortion be allowed for rape or incest?More than 90,000 Texans have died from COVID-19. Most deaths since the vaccine came out are unvaccinated people. How many thousands could vaccines have saved?Should our grid be isolated from the rest of the country?Is your opponent for democracy?What impact does the governor have on inflation, mass-shootings, climate change, vaccine usage and abortion?Should U.S. immigration policy be set at a national level or by each state?

Don Hammond, Austin

Why did Abbott choose fundraising over consoling Uvalde families?

I’d like to ask Abbott why did he spend three hours at a $50,000 fundraiser in Huntsville on the night of the Uvalde massacre?

As a former crisis communications director/consultant to the global energy industry for over 40 years, I would have expected my CEOs to show up in person for any devastating crisis. That’s called leadership.

Carol Cox, Lakeway

Candidates for governor should address antiquated voter registration

I am a volunteer deputy registrar, for Travis County. The system to register voters in Texas is antiquated.

Many volunteers register individuals using a simple hand written/signed form that must be checked for accuracy and legibility. The form is then dropped off at the local county tax office. Then a county staff person manually enters that information into the county elections system, which creates an opportunity for errors to be made in that individual’s voter information.

My question is: What steps will you take, as the governor of Texas, to bring voter registration into the 21st century by creating an online voter registration system?

Norma Hackler, Austin

Immigration policy should be front-and-center at debate

I would like the candidates to answer questions about immigration. Specifically, I would like to commend the mayors of New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., for protecting their poor, elderly, and people of color in their districts from unplanned immigration. This creates pressure on the social system that supports many of these vulnerable people.

These Democratic mayors have stood up for their constituents, yet our Texas Democratic politicians say nothing even though our border communities have been complaining for many months that they need help.

Randy Gool, Round Rock

Reader's also wrote about other topics. Here are some of those letters.

Student loans finance wasteful spending by colleges

Re: Sept. 9 commentary, "Student loan crisis needs fix."

I agree totally with Chris Schlak’s commentary on the student loan crisis.

The government needs to get out of the college loan business. Instead of loan forgiveness, maybe forgiveness of a certain percentage of interest is in order.

Young people are encouraged to go to college, then the government and higher education institutions collude to take advantage of students, especially students who have been pressured by the private, for-profit institutions.

I know because I worked with proprietary schools, colleges and universities for 35 years as a state employee. I saw many universities and junior colleges go from very functional institutions in the '90s to palaces by 2015.

Terrell O'Neill, Austin

Bosses don't like quiet quitting? Pay more.

“Quiet quitting” essentially frowns on workers who don’t put in extra effort at work or work after hours. They just do the job they’re paid to do and that’s it. But some employers are not enthusiastic and demand more.

”People who shut down their laptop at 5… they don't work for me," Kevin O'Leary, who NPR called a "business thinkfluencer,"said in a CNBC video. "I hope they work for my competitors."

If employers want more productive employees, incentivize them. Hiring someone and expecting them to do more than they are paid to do is bizarre.

People work to provide a comfortable living for their families. They don’t live to provide unpaid, gratis work for the employer. No business is giving any consumer more than they’ve paid for. So why should employers expect free, unpaid work from their employees, who most likely are working two jobs already?

Jay Douglas, Pflugerville

GOP needs to change candidates to change direction

I am not a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent.

I consider myself first an American (first generation) and a believer in our American system and democracy. And as such, the virtues of character, morality and integrity in our elected officials come foremost in my decision making process when it comes to voting.

If the GOP wants a winning ticket for the 2024 elections, what would be wrong with John Kasich for president and Liz Cheney for vice President? With this combination, the GOP can help get rid of the rats and snakes that have now infiltrated the GOP and reset our nation to what it should be.

Nicolas Palacios, Austin

Beto O'Rourke is a candidate for the people, not the powerful

I'm voting for Beto O'Rourke because I want a governor who will protect my grandchildren from the next school shooting, instead of protecting the rights of an 18-year-old to buy multiple AR-15 rifles that can tear through desks and doors, and massacre a classroom full of children.

I want a governor who will protect free and fair elections, instead of suppressing and restricting voting rights. I want a governor who will repair and protect Texas's power grid, instead of allowing 246 Texans to die in the 2021 winter power outage. I want a governor who will protect a teacher's right to teach history, and protect the reproductive rights of Texas women instead of potentially forcing a 10-year-old to birth to her rapist's baby.

In other words, I'm voting for Beto O'Rourke because he will serve and protect all Texans instead of just a few wealthy sponsors and the blood-soaked National Rifle Association.

Sharon Austry, Fort Worth

Abbott and DeSantis revel in cruel immigration stunts

Dropping immigrants off near Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence and sending others to Martha’s Vineyard are immature stunts that privilege cruelty over decency and drama over democracy.

Strutting their macho bona fides, Govs. Abbott and DeSantis exploit voters who prefer pseudo-toughness to problem-solving skills. If these governors honored America as a promised land — a sanctuary country for asylum seekers, an opportunity for those who want to succeed — they would collaborate with other state leaders, Congress and the president to craft sensible immigration laws. That’s what tough politicians do.

Weak ones, like Abbott and DeSantis, dehumanize immigrants by using these vulnerable people as props in their fear-inducing narratives.Like Floridians, Texans must make a moral choice in November.

Will they support those who throw out inflammatory terms or demand leaders who are strong enough to solve complex problems without sacrificing America’s principles?

Barbara Chiarello, Austin

Abbott's actions contradict his professions of Christian faith

Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor ... .”

Texas governor Greg Abbott three years ago on Latino immigrants: “If we’re going to defend Texas, we’ll need to take matters into our own hands.” The next day, a racist shooter drove across the state to kill 23 people in an El Paso Walmart.

Jesus [Matthew 25:35]: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

Abbott today on his mass shipping of migrants to other states: “And listen, there’s more where that came from."

Dear Governor, you talk a lot about your faith.

Poet Edgar Guest wrote, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” We’re seeing a sermon from you and many of your followers, and y’all are clearly showing us who you really are.

Jack Bowen, Fort Worth

Question of the week

This week we’re asking readers: The Austin City Council last week voted to reinstate license plate readers for use by police in investigating crimes. The council agreed the data could be used only to investigative potential felony offenses and Class A misdemeanors, not to harass drivers for minor offense such as traffic tickets. Do you agree with the council's vote and why or why not?

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This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Austin American-Statesman Letters to the Editor: Sept. 18, 2022