AUSTIN, Texas — With just one week left of early voting, the race to be the State's second-in-command is heating up.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) released a new political ad making claims about Democrat Mike Collier, and Collier's team responded by sending out a cease and desist order, saying the ad is all lies. The lieutenant governor wasn't available for an interview, but Collier sat down with KVUE's Managing Editor of Political Content, Ashley Goudeau, to discuss the ad, his campaign and his vision for Texas.
Ashley Goudeau: We are a little more than a week away from Election Day. How confident are you about your chances of winning, especially given the fact that recent polling shows Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick ahead?
Mike Collier: "I think we have a very, very good chance of winning. Yes, I have work to do, but I have several perfectly good days. There are a lot of Texans that are making a final decision. We're working very hard to communicate with those Texans who I am, what I stand for, why they should vote for me. And we're very pleased with the progress that we're making. I think we can win."
Ashley Goudeau: The big talk this week was the clash between you and Patrick over his latest ad, which made several uncited claims about you and your policy stances. What do you want people to know about that ad?
Mike Collier: "First of all, we need safe and secure borders. We have chaos under Dan Patrick. We need lower property taxes. But they've exploded under Dan Patrick. I'm against vouchers because vouchers will cause property taxes to go up and de-fund public education, including charters. I don't know what he's talking about, but it bears no resemblance to reality. It's just cut cut of whole cloth. And I wanted to make sure that Texans knew that he was lying. And I want to say one more thing to any politician in Austin, Democrat or Republican -- if you lie to voters, I'm coming after you."
Ashley Goudeau: Do you feel, though, that there was any legitimacy in any of the things that he said in that ad? So in terms of taxes, right. Because we're talking he's talking about the business tax or climate things of that nature. You feel like the entire ad is a lie.
Mike Collier: "I saw nothing in there that was truthful. In my 61 years in Texas, I have never seen such a thoroughly dishonest ad, and I felt like I needed to call him out."
Ashley Goudeau: He says that you are in step with, you know, President Joe Biden. He uses a clip, and he sent us a rebuttal video, he uses a clip where you're talking about there's not much daylight between you and the President's policy stances.
Mike Collier: "Well, I'm running for lieutenant governor. I'm not running for president. Biden is not running for lieutenant governor. I think Dan Patrick is running for lieutenant governor. I'm not really sure what he's running for. I don't think that matters at all. What matters is we need a safe and secure border. We need to reduce property taxes. We need to properly fund public education and not have vouchers and do many other things that are state focused. And that's where I am."
Ashley Goudeau: You've earned the endorsements of a lot of prominent, though retiring or retired, Republicans. And you yourself talk about being a former Republican.
Mike Collier: "Right."
Ashley Goudeau: How can Democrats be sure that you are going to represent their best interests if you are elected?
Mike Collier: "Well, they have had every opportunity to tell me I secured the nomination without much difficulty. I have been very honored..."
Ashley Goudeau: Without much difficulty but it did go to a run off.
Mike Collier: "Well, but I had a wide margin in each of those races. I think primaries are good. I did my job to make sure that people know who I am and what I stand for. I haven't modulated that one bit. The fact that I'm building a coalition not only across the state but across the aisle is actually very attractive to Democrats. They tell me that all the time. I'm highly confident that they will continue to support me because guess what? This is what Texans want. Texans are so tired of hyper partisan politics. It's one of the reasons Ashley why I'm running. And I sense in the Democratic Party there's a great source of pride that they have a candidate who's working across the aisle, even in the context of a campaign, it means we're going to be able to get these things done."
Ashley Goudeau: There are a lot of issues facing Texans right now. What do you think is the primary -- what will you be laser focused on if you are elected lieutenant governor?
Mike Collier: "This trigger law, as a result of the Dobbs decision, as a result of Roe v Wade being overturned, must be addressed immediately. Women will die. Lives will be shattered if we don't change that law, which, by the way, Dan Patrick forced that law on a reluctant Senate. This is one of the reasons why he has to go. That's so important. And we have to fix the damn grid. And this talk of having fixed it -- nonsense. The only thing Dan Patrick has done is taken one of his large campaign donors and put them right there on the ERCOT board. So those are some of the issues. There's plenty of other issues. They all seem very urgent to me, transportation, water. But I'm also, as we all know, very focused on public education, as discussed, the fact that 65 or 70% of our teachers are thinking that they're in the wrong field is an absolute disaster waiting to happen. And then, of course, here in Austin, property taxes are exploding. And guess what? Austinites don't get anything for that money. Their property taxes go up, they get nothing for it. It's it's it's almost criminal. And these are the things that need to be addressed."
Ashley Goudeau: I want to talk to you about some of the things you said, you know particularly when you talk about the Dobbs decision, the trigger law, you have had Republican leadership now say perhaps we should come back in the next legislative session and at least allow an exception for rape and incest, those cases, I'm sure I know where you stand, but we have to ask -- need to go a step further you think?
Mike Collier: "Well, I think so. I think that we should codify the protections that are afforded under Roe v Wade. I think they're sensible. I think we've lived in in harmony, reasonable harmony under that frame for the better part of half a century. So, yes, I think we should codify Roe v Wade. And by the way, you hear Republicans say, well, we went too far. What matters is Dan Patrick. And Dan Patrick is the author of that trigger bill. He is the one who did this to women. And so if he's elected lieutenant governor, nothing will change."
Ashley Goudeau: If you are elected, but the House remains Republican and the House only passes legislation to allow those instances, exceptions under rape and incest, would you work to at least get that passed?
Mike Collier: "Oh, yeah. I mean, I think there are several elements to the work that we have to do. If we break them into component parts, I think that's the right thing to do because we have to protect the lives of Texas women. So we have to move quickly. And where we agree, we must act immediately. There'll be places where we don't agree. That's that's democracy. So we'll have that conversation. And that's when real moral leadership makes a difference. And that's what I intend to do. But if we have to break it into its parts to save lives, that's what we must do."
Ashley Goudeau: Let's talk a little bit about the border, especially since this is something that you and the current lieutenant governor are clashing over. We just saw earlier this week the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker, authorizing more money for Operation Lone Star. Is this a good use of our dollars? And what would you like to see them at the border?
Mike Collier: "We must have a safe and secure border. I'm disappointed the federal government isn't doing its job. If we have to step in to get the job done, that's the appropriate thing to do. What I, where I take issue with Dan Patrick, particularly, is we're spending all this money, but do we have a plan? Do we have milestones? I mean, I go to the border and I talk to elected officials, I talk to law enforcement, I talk to community leaders, and I ask them, what's the state doing to solve this problem? And nobody seems to know. In the business world, if you have that happening, you fire the people in charge. What we need is to have we need to find the problem. Then we need to define the solution. And if milestones and then deploy the assets and the resources to get that job done and keep stakeholders informed. Tell voters what you're doing, what's working, what's not working. There's no transparency as to where that money's going. There's no accountability. All we know is that it isn't working by their own telling."
Ashley Goudeau: I want you to give our viewers just some final thoughts on why they should elect you this November.
Mike Collier: "Well, thank you. I'll tell you, as I travel around the state and ask Texans, do you think we're better off now than we were after four years or eight years of Dan Patrick? I mean, the answer is no. We have a rickety grid that doesn't work. Property taxes that are exploding. Teachers that are thinking about changing their careers, retired teachers that can't afford to live and the things that they've done with them. The situation with Roe v Wade and the real fear that women have in the state, they're afraid to get pregnant. They're afraid to stay. I mean, these these are outrageous things that are happening. And we need change. And everybody knows that we need change. Dan Patrick needs to be fired. And then we need to hire somebody as lieutenant governor who's going to bring us together, work not only in across the state, but across the aisle to solve these problems, honestly. It's what I do in the business world. It's what I hope to do for the great state that I love. That's the message to voters. And they responding so well to it."
Early voting is happening now and runs through Nov. 4. Election Day is Nov. 8.
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