POLITICS

Cecilia Abbott poised to become Texas’ first Latina First Lady

  • AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 4: Republican candidate for governor, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is accompanied by his wife Cecilia, left, and daughter Audrey as he arrives to vote in the Texas primary at Western Hills Church of Christ on March 4, 2014 in Austin, Texas. Abbott is planning to make stops in Houston and Dallas for get out-the-vote rallies ahead of the elections. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

    AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 4: Republican candidate for governor, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is accompanied by his wife Cecilia, left, and daughter Audrey as he arrives to vote in the Texas primary at Western Hills Church of Christ on March 4, 2014 in Austin, Texas. Abbott is planning to make stops in Houston and Dallas for get out-the-vote rallies ahead of the elections. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)  (2014 Getty Images)

Cecilia Abbott will make history as the first Latina to become First Lady of Texas, when her husband, Greg, becomes the state’s governor. Festivities begin Tuesday with a swearing in ceremony on the Capital grounds followed by a barbecue and parade before the evening ball. 

“I am so looking forward to watching Greg be sworn in as governor,” Abbott told Fox News Latino. “I’ll confess I’m less excited about standing in high heels all day!”

While her husband, a Republican who is the current attorney general of the state, has had a storied legal and political career, Cecilia Abbott has remained deeply private despite living in a fishbowl political world. Naturally shy and admittedly more comfortable behind the scenes, she is also refreshingly frank. 

During the campaign, in a Houston Chronicle interview with both Abbotts, Cecilia Abbott “interjected” clarifications on their beliefs regarding abortion, and she weathered a moment when one of her husband’s political opponents charged he was using her as a “prop” with the Hispanic community.

The granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, Cecilia Abbott grew up in a prototypical American Dream-story. Raised in a family of four children in San Antonio by educator parents, she entered University of Texas in 1978. 

“I made many great friends,” she said. “One of them was a boy from Duncanville named Greg. We were friends first, and I knew that my parents would love him for his sense of humor.”

The couple got married the week before he started law school. “Our honeymoon was basically a week-long road trip in a Datsun B210 that we named ‘Cloud,’” Abbott told FNL.

“After Greg finished law school, we headed to Houston, where he would prepare for the bar exam and go to work, so we could pursue our dreams. A week before Greg was supposed to take the bar exam, his accident happened.”

On a windy day in July 1984, Greg, who had been hired at the Houston firm of Butler and Binion, was jogging down a tree-lined Houston street when part of an oak tree crashed down on top of him, leaving him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

“The accident changed our lives forever. It also started a chain reaction of blessings,” Cecilia said. “As Greg recovered, we would hit a big obstacle and get discouraged, but then a solution would show up. On top of that, our family and friends showered us with love and support.”

She added, “Recovering from a trauma like this [involves] a series of little milestones. We kept moving forward, carried by our faith in God, our love for one another, and Greg’s unbreakable spirit. He was mentally tough before his accident, but he took that toughness to a level I never thought possible. Greg was so devoted to moving forward that he even returned to work while still wearing a body cast.”

He went on to serve as a Texas district court judge and on the Texas Supreme Court before being elected attorney general in 2002.

Greg and Cecilia have now been married 33 years.

“When I met and then married Greg, I knew he was an exceptional person and that we would have a wonderful and exciting life together,” Cecilia said. “I love and respect Greg so much and know he is the right leader for Texas; it’s been so inspiring to go on this journey with him.”

Cecilia Abbott has advanced degrees in both education and theology, spending a large chunk of her life as a teacher and principal. She was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the State Board of Educator Certification in 2001 and served until 2008.

She shifted her focus to seniors and working as the community relations director for a network of senior healthcare facilities.

Although the issues she plans to spearhead as First Lady have not officially been announced, Cecilia Abbott told FNL, “My worldview is strongly influenced by my faith, and as First Lady, I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the causes that I care deeply about, such as protecting our children and helping Texas’ seniors.”

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