TYLER, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott held the first town hall of his governorship Thursday at the UT Tyler Cowan Center in Tyler.
State Rep. Matt Schaefer, Rep. Cole Hefner and Sen. Bryan Hughes were in the audience, as were local government officials like Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith and Tyler City Council member Don Warren.
"It's not every day that the governor of the state of Texas comes to Tyler," Warren said. "I wanted to see not only what he had to say, but to see how he answered people's questions."
Governor Abbott discussed a variety of topics, including the El Paso shooting, red flag laws, second chance opportunities and property acquisition, which turned the conversation to the Toll 49 expansion.
"Private property rights are imperative and we must protect private property rights in Texas," Abbott said.
Talk of the toll road extending has been an issue for many East Texans.
While the city of Tyler does not have a role with the toll road, Warren said he is for the expansion going east toward Interstate 20.
"Although there have been safety concerns that I hope will be addressed," Warren explained. "So that when that each part of it is extended, that those safety aspects we put in place."
Another topic that Abbott spoke about was the increase of teacher's salaries.
"When I heard someone talk about it, it was so exciting because this conversation has not happened in our country for decades, teachers have worked so hard for so little pay," William Johnson, a UT Tyler student, said.
Johnson was an advocate for House Bill 3, which was passed the last legislative session.
Governor Abbott wrapped up his town hall by saying that he's passionate about Texas and its people.