|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - August 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
White calls for stronger leadership in Austin
Trinity Standard -
By GREG PEAK
Area news editor
TRINITY – Charging that Gov. Rick Perry has shown a lack of leadership, gubernatorial challenger Bill White told Trinity voters he would represent the people and not the elite if he were elected in November. As part of an eight-city swing through East Texas on Saturday, July 24, White and other Democrats stopped in Trinity for lunch and to meet with local voters. Accompanying the former Houston mayor on his campaign stop was former Gov. Mark White; State Rep. Jim McReynolds; Texas Supreme Court candidate Jim Sharp; and Trinity County District Attorney Joe Ned Dean. More than 150 people turned out for hamburger, hotdogs and political talks at the Trinity County Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Saturday. In his remarks, White said that if elected, he would operate state government more like a business and provide good service to the people of the state. “Government needs to be run more efficiently so we can hold the line on taxes,” he said. “We did it in Houston where I was able to use my business experience to squeeze the value out of tax dollars and increase services.” White added that unlike Perry, he is a “work horse” and not a “show horse.” He added that it is time for state government takes a stronger roll in improving the educational system. Noting that Texas now ranks 49th among the 50 states in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma, White said immediate action is needed. “We need leaders who can speak plainly. If someone doesn’t have the training and skills, they don’t earn as much money; they don’t spend as much money; and they don’t invest as much money. “We don’t need someone lying about the state’s drop-out rate,” he added. He noted that on July 13, Perry did two things that had negative impacts on education. The first was done quietly when he cut state funds for after-school tutoring and summer school programs. The second was accompanied by a press released in which Perry announced the state would begin requiring under 18-year-old drivers to provide proof they have either received a diploma, are attending high school or are involved in a GED program when they apply for a license. “The problem with that is it has been the law since 1989 and he (Perry) has been responsible for enforcing it. Either he didn’t care or he didn’t know. “We need a governor who both cares and knows and I commit to you that I will be that governor,” White added. In his talk, White also promised to listen to the state’s employees about issues that impact them. “While I was mayor of Houston I met often with the city’s firefighters, police officers and other employees to listen to what they had to say. I learned that it is the employees who often have the best ideas on how to solve a problem.” He called for a show of hands among the crowd on how many were either current or former employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and he received more that two dozen responses. “Has the governor, in the past 9 1/2 years ever met with the rank and file of TDCJ?” he asked. The prison system employees present answered with a “No!” “As the chief executive, I promise you that I will be meeting with you,” he said. “We need a governor who will run the state for the taxpayers, not just for the big wigs,” he added. McReynolds, who introduced White, called the gubernatorial candidate a friend of East Texas. He noted that it was White who helped get additional emergency generators to rural East Texas in the days after Hurricane Rita ripped through the region in 2005. “I got on the phone to Bill White, who was coping with his own problems in Houston. He asked what we needed and when I told him generators, the 18-wheelers started rolling,” McReynolds said. Dean also voiced support for White in his remarks, noting that the current governor currently is spending $10,000 a month to rent a house in Austin while the Governor’s Mansion is undergoing repairs. “I don’t know anyone around here who can pay $10,000 a month for housing and I don’t think the taxpayers should have to,” he said. “I find it hard to believe that Rick Perry has been governor longer than Sam Houston. I personally don’t believe Rick Perry is qualified to carry Sam Houston’s whiskey,” he added. Also speaking briefly was Sharp, who is seeking a seat on the Texas Supreme Court in November. Sharp noted that when he was first elected to his current job as a justice on the First Court of Appeals Trinity County was in his district. He recalled coming to campaign here and said riding in the Trinity Community Fair parade was one of his high points during that campaign. “Since then, they redistricted and Trinity County was placed under the jurisdiction of another court of appeals. Now that I am running for a statewide office, I am privileged to be able to return to Trinity once again,” he said.