BROWNSVILLE, RGV – We read and hear these phrases in news and political advertisements every day regarding “the Hispanic vote” and “reaching out to Hispanics.”

As a Hispanic, I can assure you, we all don’t think alike, vote alike and we don’t all necessarily agree on all issues.

Many of us are first-generation Texans, while many of us immigrated legally to this country. We are independent thinkers with strong family values and a strong work ethic. We want to be treated fairly when it comes to educational and employment opportunities. We do not want to be pandered to, treated differently or made promises to simply to gain our vote.

We do not want or need to be treated differently than any another group simply because our numbers are growing. And that mindset is perhaps why many Texas Democrats take the Rio Grande Valley for granted.

The old mindset of the Rio Grande Valley is that you’re born a catholic and a Democrat. That is no longer the case. With every generation we become a little more diverse, while maintaining our core beliefs and philosophies.

We are a diverse, proud group with differing opinions. However, there is little doubt that a common thread amongst most Hispanics is that education is a key component for economic success and that there is no substitute for hard work and disciplined work ethic. Improving our schools, availability of good paying jobs, and maintaining our core social values are issues that matter to us.

In my opinion, one candidate for governor has been listening to us: Greg Abbott. He addresses his concerns and vision for developing an educational system that, if elected, would be second to none in insuring that every child in our state is given the opportunity to excel academically.

Attorney General Abbott knows that opening the doors to a better education will give our children the opportunity to succeed. His goal is to make Texas schools the best in the nation. He continues to travel throughout the state, listening to teachers, principals, superintendents and, most importantly, parents. He has seen firsthand here in the Valley and elsewhere the challenges that teachers and school administrators face daily.

His education plan will ensure all the children of Texas — from the Panhandle, to West Texas, to East Texas and the Rio Grande Valley — are reading and writing at grade level by the end of third grade. His plan will return control of our schools to our local districts and communities. It will empower parents with more information on school performance and will give our teachers more training, tools and technology to help our children climb the ladder of success, from preK through high school.

The next step up the ladder is to expand opportunities for our children to successfully receive a two or four-year college degree. His education plan will help make college more affordable for more Texas families and will ensure that our graduates are better prepared for the jobs of the future.

He is aware that government’s role is not to create jobs, but rather to create an environment conducive for job creation. That environment includes, limited government, low taxes and investing in infrastructure.

I am confident that Greg Abbott working with the Legislature, will control spending and eliminate wasteful spending, while recognizing that state government must operate within its means — much like we all must do.

I am voting for Greg Abbott because I agree with his vision for Texas. Whether it’s his plan to improve education, securing our border or investing in infrastructure. As governor, I believe he will work hard to ensure we live in a Texas that offers opportunity for all.

Early voting runs through Friday. Election Day is next Tuesday, Nov. 4.

It is time to show how powerful all of our voices are for the future of Texas.

Carlos Cascos is the Cameron County judge.