Commentary

Perry visits China, White campaigns

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry on June 15 kicked off Salute to Texas Week at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, welcoming visitors to the Texas-themed U.S.A. National Pavilion.

The governor and members of a Texas delegation also hosted a forum for Chinese businesses to promote the advantages of locating in Texas and how to do business in the state. Attendees heard about incentives and regional benefits available to companies.

Perry, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, Secretary of State Hope Andrade and representatives from Texas Instruments and the communities of Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, McKinney and San Patricio were among participants in the forum.

Some 70 million visitors from more than 170 nations are expected to attend the May 1 through Oct. 31 expo.

China is Texas’ third largest export partner, receiving 5 percent, or $8.9 billion, of all Texas exports, according to the governor’s office.

Meanwhile, Bill White, the Democratic nominee for governor, has been stumping around the state. He made a June 18 stop in San Antonio, where he spoke to a group of Texas newspaper publishers.

White compared and contrasted his style with Perry’s, saying he would spend more time working on state business than the standing governor does, and he would move into a double-wide trailer while the Governor’s mansion undergoes renovations. The state has been paying $10,000 a month for the governor and first lady to live in a private mansion.

Tips can be texted

Those Texans who’d rather use text-messaging than a phone call or email to submit a tip for Texas 10 Most Wanted fugitives can have it their way now. A tip can yield a $5,000-per-fugitive reward.

Citizens can use their cell phones to send text messages to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Key in the code 274637 (CRIMES), then type in the tip.

Tips may be submitted through the DPS website http://www. txdps.state.tx.us/wanted/. Click on the photo of the fugitive and then click the link under the photo to submit a tip. “This will help the program appeal to a younger demographic, generate additional tips and simply make it more convenient for many people,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw.

The phone-in method still works by dialing 1-800-252-TIPS. The Crime Stoppers hotline is open 24 hours a day. Citizens need not give their name when calling.

No broadband areas shown

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples on June 15 announced the launch of the Texas broadband map that illustrates the state’s unserved areas, identifies types of service and allows broadband service providers to target future investment. More than 96 percent of Texas households have access to home broadband service, but a quarter of a million households in the Lone Star State don’t have access to high-speed Internet services, Staples said, adding that broadband is related to business development and is a critical lifeline to vital services like telemedicine and education. The state was mapped by Connected Texas, a non-profit organization. The map includes data from 123 state providers and indicates 3.5 percent of Texas households, or about 257,000 residences, do not have access to home broadband service.

Employment increases

The number of non-agricultural jobs grew for the fifth consecutive month, gaining 43,600 jobs in May, the Texas Workforce Commission reported.

Texas has gained a total of 35,100 jobs over the year with the annual job growth rate moving back into a positive range. More Texans are employed than ever before at more than 11.2 million workers, the TWC reported.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Texas remained at 8.3 percent in May, while the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 9.7 percent for the same month.

Capitol evacuated in threat

A phoned-in bomb threat necessitated the evacuation of the state Capitol on June 18. The individual who made the threat via a 911 operator at about 11 a.m. is still at large.

At least 300 people exited the Capitol in an orderly fashion.

The Texas Department of Public Safety used bomb-sniffing dogs to comb the Capitol complex. No explosive device was found and the Capitol was reopened at 2 p.m.

Texas schools stick with Big 12

The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech and Baylor will continue competing in the Big 12 Conference, officials confirmed last week.

The conference’s future was in question earlier, when the universities of Nebraska and Colorado decided to join other conferences.

edsterling@texaspress.com


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2010-06-24 digital edition



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