Van de Putte, Patrick respond to criticisms in interviews

Leticia Van de Putte (left) and Dan Patrick. (AP Photo)
Leticia Van de Putte (left) and Dan Patrick. (AP Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Democratic State Senator Leticia Van de Putte and Republican State Senator Dan Patrick answered questions Saturday, more than a week before they are set to debate.

In the interviews at the Texas Tribune Festival, the candidates answered questions one at a time.

“For a guy that is allegedly missing in action, you’re here in the flesh,” said Evan Smith with the Texas Tribune, referencing criticisms of Sen. Patrick’s campaign.

Sen. Patrick responded to critics saying he has an “elusive” approach to the campaign, with one scheduled debate and — since the runoff election — limited press appearances.

“I think by last count I’ve had over 1,300 plus meetings with individuals and groups around the state,” Patrick said.

Sen. Van de Putte responded to what a question about what would happen if the tables were turned and she had the potential to win the race with limited appearences.

“I would respect the voters,” Van de Putte said.

With both candidates spoke separately. They talked about issues including immigration and border security, but also topics like education.

Senator Patrick talked about what he calls school choice. He highlighted an idea to allow families, first, the option to go to any public school. Then, they would have the opportunity to go to a charter school. Finally, a family could apply for a scholarship from business to go to private school.

“Can you imagine agreeing to send you’re child to a school that the state says is a failure? You wouldn’t put up with it,” Patrick said.

Sen. Van de Putte said she supports using money to help students pay for community college. She also talked about a plan to go from five end-of-course exams to one assessment. She said she would get “high stakes” testing off the backs of students.

“It’s not meeting the needs of our accountability system. It’s not meeting the needs of our employers. And it is destroying the love of learning,” said Van de Putte.

The two candidates are scheduled to debate on September 29th.

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