COMMENTARY BY GREG ABBOTT: Third-world comments not directed at RGV - The Monitor: Opinion

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COMMENTARY BY GREG ABBOTT: Third-world comments not directed at RGV

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Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014 7:00 pm

Public service is a public trust. As attorney general, I have prosecuted judges, district attorneys and other public officials across Texas who violated that trust, who have been corrupted.

While most all who serve the citizens of Texas do so honorably, left ignored, a virus can quickly spread.

This corruption — wherever it occurs — erodes the social fabric of our communities and destroys Texans’ trust and confidence in government.

As your attorney general — and hopefully as your future governor — my job is to ensure your families are safe and your opportunities for prosperity are many. That job includes tackling the problem of corruption by public officials.

Honest, hardworking businessmen and women, single-parent families seeking a better future and citizens who play by the rules, work hard and strive for the American Dream — they are the real victims of that corruption.

To ignore their pleas for help is to allow the problem to thrive.

I will not cede ground to those who corrupt and twist our system of justice. This is not the Texas we know, the America we love, nor the system that we want for our children.

The Rio Grande Valley — like all of Texas — is filled with ethical, hardworking families whose very foundation is based on integrity. But, even The Monitor recently noted, “the pall of corruption has dogged the Rio Grande Valley and continues today” and “cases of public officials on the take have spiked.”

On Jan. 1, The Monitor published a Valley Morning Star article entitled: “Depth of corruption in Cameron Co. hard to believe, says judge.” It detailed how a “federal investigation found corruption in the Cameron County’s legal system and judiciary to be so pervasive that most people wouldn’t believe it.” That led to a former judge’s conviction for accepting money in return for favorable rulings in a public corruption investigation that included a former district attorney and a former Texas legislator.

And there have been other stories about law enforcement officers in other Texas counties involved in money laundering, drug smuggling and accepting bribes to protect the cartels and their smuggling routes.

Sadly, these violations of the public’s trust are just a few of many allegations I am familiar with in my role as attorney general.

Does corruption occur across all of Texas? Absolutely. I’ve prosecuted it. And it is abhorrent wherever it occurs.

My comments about “corruption resembling third-world country practices” are as true today as when I said them last week. My goal is to make them untrue tomorrow. Those comments were not directed at the Rio Grande Valley — they apply wherever corruption is found. I’d encourage all readers to share their thoughts on my detailed plan and join the discussion at

It does not matter where public corruption occurs in Texas; it must be stopped. Texans deserve better, no matter their ZIP code.

The Monitor was misguided to suggest that my legitimate concerns about corruption stem from being a “white conservative” or from “xenophobia.”

Like many Texas families, mine is multicultural by choice. My family gatherings include the Segura, Cuellar, Rocha, Torres, Gamez and Valdillez families. We share more than a meal; we share conservative values.

Conservative is not a color, it is not a race, it is not an ethnicity. It is a commitment to the idea that every American has a chance to succeed; that faith and family are foremost; that jobs and education are the best pathway to a better future; and that secure communities are a part of all that.

I will do more than talk about corruption. As governor, I will build on my record of keeping Texans safe, marshal the tools we need to secure our border, enforce the rule of law and rout out corruption wherever it attacks.

Public service must be built on public trust.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

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