The official Texas unemployment rate is around 5%, and the metro San Antonio unemployment rate is about 4%, but State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth), who is running for governor, tells 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason that those numbers don't scratch the surface.
Davis said to find the real struggles facing Texas families, you have to look behind the rosy numbers.
"When you look behind that curtain, you see that we have a very high number of minimum wage jobs," Davis said. "We also know that Texans deserve good paying jobs."
Democrats have long criticized what Republicans have called the 'Texas Miracle' of low unemployment rate as a house of cards, which is propped up by low wage jobs that prevent families from advancing
Davis this week unveiled a bold economic plan which includes working with the state's Congressional delegation to fight to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, and also to provide more support for education.
Davis says a raise of the minimum wage to $10.10 would provide an immediate boost to some three million Texans who are struggling with working one or two or more low wage jobs.
Davis told Berit that no economic boom of any sort can survive long if the state's children are falling behind the rest of the country and the world in educational attainment.
. Davis said companies look for more than rock bottom Texas and regulations when they are making location and expansion decisions, they want to make sure that local schools are turning out qualified graduates.
"We also know that we have great challenges in our transportation and water arenas," Davis said, pointing out that Wichita Falls in north Texas is 'recycling toilet water' to meet their needs.'
"This state has failed to make the sorts of investments that we need to in order to create the water resources that will keep our economy strong," she said "There are estimates of billions and billions of dollars in losses if we can't create a good water infrastructure."
"From 2011, a budget cut of $5.4 billion, a budget that I filibustered in a special session," Davis said. "And ever since then, Abbott has been in court fighting to keep the cuts in place."
Davis said she would fight as governor for full day pre kindergarten for all children, modeling her proposal on San Antonio's sales tax funded 'Pre-K for SA' program. She says she would also cut the number of standardized tests so teachers and students, not private testing companies, could realize the benefits of school funding.
"Time and time again we hear from industries from across this state that they don't have the trained work force that they need, that we have got to do a better job with access to technical training, we have to do a better job to help them access the college arena."
But Davis is clearly aware that one of her biggest challenges is to convince voters to abandon the Republicans at a time when the voters perceive that the state's economy is doing well.
"The fact of the matter is, that ten, twenty years from now, if we don't have a governor who is a leader in understanding the importance of these investments in education and water, we will not hold this place in the nation's economy."