FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2007
(AUSTIN) -- "I congratulate Governor Rick Perry on delivering his fourth State of the State address and look forward to working with him and the members of the Texas legislature toward our mutual goals of establishing and enacting a positive agenda that benefits and champions Texas families.
"Governor Perry's emphasis on education and increased resources for health and human services certainly is promising. His calling for an additional $80 million to expand the "Texas Early Start" pre-kindergarten program demonstrates a strong commitment to improving public education. What's more, I am especially pleased the governor intends to dedicate additional funding to early education programs since I filed legislation that would expand Texas Early Education Model (TEEM) sites throughout Texas while increasing the recruitment of highly-trained, qualified early childhood education professionals.
"Because higher education is my top legislative priority, I also am pleased that Governor Perry is placing it high on his list of priorities. Higher education is an impressive economic multiplier. The Governor's proposal of $1.7 billion in new money for higher education is a great investment in our state's future that is certain to deliver remarkable economic and social returns. His support of funding increases to my B-on-Time zero-interest higher education loan program and measures to increase graduation rates across the board will help students be graduated timely and successfully.
"While I remain concerned about proposed funding reallocations that would accompany the governor's higher education proposals, especially cuts to university special items that include institutional enhancements such as the South Texas Border Initiative, I remain optimistic that our state government will produce well-measured policies that will assist all Texas institutions.
"I look forward to working with Governor Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and my colleagues in the Senate and House in providing Texas students with an excellent education; eliminating all access-to-care waiting lists while increasing access to affordable, quality health care; and providing a better quality of life for all Texas families."