SAN ANTONIO -- Gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis made a relatively rare appearance with two of Texas' other brightest Democratic stars.
The state senator from Fort Worth joined lieutenant governor candidate Leticia Van de Putte and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro on Thursday at Leal Middle School, where Davis proposed her early childhood policy initiatives.
Senator Davis pointed out that almost seven in 10 low-income students are not enrolled in pre-K, and the state of Texas only funds three hours per day. Davis says the investment in early childhood education is worth making.
“San Antonio is leading the way, providing full-day, quality pre-K. The opportunities that are happening right here in the Alamo city should be available to children all across Texas,” Davis said. “Yesterday I unveiled my plan for how we can strengthen pre-K and early childhood education for school children across the state.”
Davis was referring to her education policy proposal, 'Great Start: Great Texas' -- the third part in a series of four proposals; the first was 'Great Teachers: Great Texas,' and 'Great Pathways: Great Texas.'
"We must have new leadership that is focused on retaining and recruiting the next generation of great teachers," Davis said, talking about the first proposal. "We need new leadership that advocates expanding access to higher education for high school students. And, we need new leadership that tirelessly promotes pre-K and early childhood education so that Texas children are on the right path from the get go.”
'Great Start: Great Texas' carries two caveats: ensure that every eligible Texas child has access to pre-K and promote early-childhood reading, so that every child is reading at grade-level by 3rd grade.
On education, Republican candidate Greg Abbott has said local control by school districts is the key to empowering students, parents and teachers.
“When I’m Lieutenant Governor and Wendy Davis is our Governor, Texas is going to be a state where your children will get the education they need, and your business will get employees that are prepared for the future,” said Senator Van de Putte. “Texas business leaders, parents, taxpayers, and military leaders all know that quality pre-k works. It is just smart business.”
Earlier this week, Davis also said she supports the use of medical marijuana and would consider decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug in Texas. Abbott released a response stating that he supports the current drug laws.
It's clear both gubernatorial candidates are trying to reach those voters in the middle.
Davis and Van de Putte, a state senator from San Antonio, aren't official running mates. But both should easily win the Democratic nominations during next month's primary -- just the fifth time in at least the past 20 years that a party has nominated women for both governor and lieutenant governor.
Castro, meanwhile, keynoted the 2012 Democratic National Convention and has often been mentioned as a possible future gubernatorial candidate.
Click here to read Davis' "Great Start: Great Texas" proposal.