FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2007
AUSTIN, TX -- "I sincerely believe that Gov. Rick Perry has the best interest of the state at heart, as do I. Many of his proposals certainly hold my interest and many of his efforts have my support. Our agendas for the people of Texas share many commonalities, but until we take the pencil to the speech will we know exactly what these words will mean for Texas to become a leader of the 21st Century.
In his remarks, Gov. Perry said that this state is building roads faster than any state in the nation. However, the Rio Grande Valley still lacks an interstate highway and thus lacks connectivity to the rest of this country. In light of the population growth of South Texas and its increase in traffic from this growth and from NAFTA, our roads aren't being built fast enough, yet we continue in the struggle for approval and funding.
Another issue raised was the rising cost of health care as an obstacle to prosperity. I concur! Gov. Perry said five and a half million Texans are uninsured. In my Senatorial district, 25 percent of the residents are without insurance. His Healthier Texas plan proposes that the state pay $150 monthly per individual for health insurance, depending on the family's income. That certainly sounds like a step in the right direction, as does his commitment to continue the necessary funding to operate the Irma Rangel Pharmacy School at Texas A&M at Kingsville. I am also seeking his commitment for my bill that will create a health science center and medical school in South Texas. These facilities will certainly improve and increase access to quality health care in the area. And of course, we must accelerate and expand the Children's Health Insurance Program for our Texas children.
I support the Governor's plan to increase financial aid by $360 million for our college students, but not at the expense of curtailing programs that have successfully increased college participation along the Texas border, like the South Texas Border Initiative.
Increasing teacher pay has been my mantra for many years. Although we have made some inroads in this arena, we still underpay the people who teach and guide our future generations.
The Governor has ideas about immigration that deserve attention. Texas is being forced to look at a primarily federal issue of great impact to Texas handled with little compensation from Washington, D.C. I continue to frown upon building any fences or walls between our two countries, while keeping a positive attitude toward guest worker programs that protect our economy, our businesses and American workers.
Texas faces many challenges, and the Governor outlined them well. I've voiced my motto for this session: Finding Solutions Together. It appears that the many issues the Governor touched on today certainly stand a better chance of being solved if we work in unison rather than along party lines. And they will fare better if we all keep the welfare of Texans uppermost in our minds and actions."