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Taylor County Democrats protest Gov. Greg Abbott

Andrew Norsworthy
Protestors call for Texas leadership change Abilene City Hall Monday night.

About 40 Abilene citizens gathered at Abilene City hall Monday to protest Governor Abbott and the GOP’s latest policies. Monday night’s protest was the second in downtown Abilene over the past few days, in response to Governor Abbot’s anticipated arrival for a re-election fundraiser. The protestors voiced opposition to policies such as the Texas Heartbeat Act, voter suppression, redistricting, border security, trans rights, handling of the COVID pandemic, and Abbott’s ban on mask mandates. Sam Hatton, the president of Abilene Pride Alliance and vice President of Big Country AIDS Resources, focused on the theme of replacing Greg Abbott in the Governor’s office, “Who’s gonna vote to get the hell out of office in November, next November?” Hatton asked the crowd. After the crowd cheered in response he continued, “And who’s gonna help us make sure that that happens? Yes! Sign up. Register. Get your friends registered,” Hatton urged.

Elizabeth Smyser, Chair of the Taylor County Democratic Party organized the event and called on elected officials as well as citizens to speak up on these recent policies. “We want to call upon our elected leaders at every single level, local, county, city, school board, state. This is a home rule state, the state of Texas is. Our local elected leaders that we choose, should have greater power than our governor.”

The event featured several speakers, many calling for new leadership at the statewide level. In particular, Smyser expressed confidence in Beto O’Rourke’s ability to lead the state, “We have Beto O’Rourke that has visited all 254 counties of our state, met with people, knocked on their doors, listened to their concerns. And we think Beto O’Rourke has the ear, the heart, the mind, the willpower to serve Texas in a way that Texas deserves to be served.”

O’Rourke is reportedly seriously considering running for governor in next year’s election, but has not officially announced his candidacy.

Governor Abbott is facing primary challenges from the former chairman of the state’s Republican party, Allen West, and from former state senator Don Huffines.