Gubernatorial candidate

Don Huffines, a former state senator running for governor in the Republican primary, talks to Telegram staff Tuesday during a visit to Bell County.

TEMPLE — Lowering the ever-increasing property taxes around the state is on the top of the legislative list for businessman Don Huffines, who is running to be the next Texas governor.

Huffines — who faces Gov. Greg Abbott and former GOP state chairman Allen West in the Republican primary election — spoke to the Telegram Tuesday in Temple as he is traveling throughout the state to tell voters about his plan to completely eliminate Texas’ property taxes over eight years. He also touched on his other priorities if elected to replace Abbott next year, and why voters should choose him.

Funding the government through property taxes, Huffines said, is bad business and there are many other ways to go about funding the government and schools without it.

Huffines, who visited Bell County to attend a local Tea Party meeting Tuesday, said he wants to gradually raise the state’s property taxes over eight years while lowering property taxes to zero.

“And what we are doing is just replacing the revenue streams,” Huffines said. “So the political subdivisions, whatever revenue they are getting from property taxes right now, they will still continue to get that. The state is just replacing it with the state revenue streams.”

If elected, Huffines said he would eliminate the property tax by proposing a state constitutional amendment so residents get to have a voice in the process and make their own decisions.

Huffines is a fifth-generation Texan, and an entrepreneur who owns several businesses in the state. Previously, Huffines served a term in the Texas Senate, between 2014 and 2019, representing District 16 in Dallas before Democrat Nathan Johnson defeated him during his reelection bid.

In making his decision to run against Abbott, Huffines said the coronavirus pandemic and how it affected businesses was a major factor.

“The catalyst for me deciding to run was March of 2020 when Abbott shut us all down and destroyed 3 million jobs in one day,” Huffines said. “He put 3 million Texans on unemployment, that is more jobs than the state has created in the last 12 years combined.”

Huffines, who said he had a mild case of COVID-19 and is not vaccinated against it, criticized Abbott’s mandates early in the pandemic requiring residents to wear face masks.

“I am not for the mask mandates, I would never have a mask mandate or have allowed any government to have a mask mandate since the very beginning,” Huffines said.

Asked about West, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and U.S. representative from Florida who is also running as a more conservative alternative to Abbott, Huffines said West is “running in his lane and I’m running in mine.” Huffines noted that he has both business and Texas Legislature experience that would help him to accomplish more as governor.

When comparing himself to Abbott, Huffines said the current governor is a “political windsock” and not an effective leader.

Huffines said Abbott has not done all he could to get important Republican issues through the state Legislature.

“The governor of Texas, if he is the proper leader, can get any bill done he wants, anytime he wants, period,” Huffines said. “And all this angst about all these issues that we don’t get into law as a Republican Party is related to Abbott. Abbott doesn’t want them to be law or they would be law.”

Another key issue for Huffines is ensuring Texas residents feel secure in the state’s elections moving forward.

Huffines said to ensure the trust of the people in the state’s elections, he plans to create a new law enforcement division of about 500 officers to investigate corruption and electoral issues. He said the reason not many people have been charged with election-related crimes is because there has not been enough enforcement.

“My plan to give us confidence in the election is that I am creating a new law enforcement division that is called the Government Corruption and Election Integrity Division,” Huffines said.

Huffines said he thinks both Republicans and Democrats have cheated in elections and aims to root that out if elected.

Huffines took credit for some recent actions by Abbott, pointing to a state suicide hotline for LGBTQ children that he got taken down.

Taxpayer money, Huffines said, should not be going to address issues related to the LGBTQ community, and those needing those services should look elsewhere.

“Here’s the thing, we don’t want the state operating a suicide hotline that is buying into brainwashing our Texas youth into thinking that they are something that they are not,” Huffines said. “A boy is a boy, a girl is a girl, and the state doesn’t need to be promoting more mental illness in children that think otherwise.”

Huffines has aligned himself with former President Donald Trump and has tried to appeal to his voters despite the former president endorsing Abbott.

“I think that the president jumped the gun on that endorsement and that most Republican primary voters think the same thing,” Huffines said.

(1) comment

don76550

I attended a meeting featuring Huffines. He is awesome and will have my vote

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