Saying he hopes to reunite the “Reagan coalition of social and economic conservatives,” former Texas Workforce Commissioner Tom Pauken has confirmed to the Tribune that he will file to run for governor in 2014.
“I like [Gov.] Rick Perry. I like [Attorney General] Greg Abbott,” said Pauken, a former chairman of the Texas Republican Party who also worked in the Reagan administration. “I don’t know what they’re going to do. One or both may run. I’m going to run on issues.”
Pauken’s intention to run for governor was first reported by The Dallas Morning News.
He touted his recent work building support for education reform and emphasizing the importance of vocational training.
“On issues where there’s common ground, let’s bring Texans together,” he said.
Pauken said he wants to get a group together to look at the school finance system, which he said needs an overhaul. “We have a flawed Robin Hood system that was flawed from the beginning,” he said. “It hasn’t gotten better. It’s gotten worse.”
He said the state needed to focus its attention to essential services, such as its transportation infrastructure. He also said Texas needs to become less reliant on high property taxes, and he indicated that he is a strong proponent of term limits for statewide politicians.
“I also think there’s too much crony capitalism out there,” he said. “I think that’s a problem at the federal level, but I think it’s also a problem at the state level.”
Eric Bearse, a spokesman for Abbott, said that the attorney general “remains focused on the legislative session and serving the people of Texas. He believes any political considerations for 2014 can and should wait until after the legislative session has concluded.”
Teresa Spears, a spokeswoman for Perry, said, “At this time the governor is focused on the legislative session, and keeping Texas the strongest economy in the nation and the best place to live, work and raise a family.”