White deserves serious look from voters

Okay, so gubernatorial candidate Bill White doesn’t look great in a Stetson. And, okay, he’s not the most exciting speaker you’ll ever hear.

But the former businessman, Houston mayor and deputy energy secretary deserves the most serious of looks by voters. I had a chance to meet and hear him last weekend in San Antonio and I liked what I heard.

Republicans, gaining ground here in Milam County, should be cautioned against voting straight ticket. Hundreds of thousands of Texans — self included — helped get George W. Bush elected governor, but crossed over to vote for John Sharp when he ran for Lieutenant Governor against Perry. Alas, Bush’s coattails proved too long and Texas lost the best Democratic top office candidate it’s had in the past two decades.

White is not as charismatic as John Sharp, but his similar message of running government conservatively resonates.

Plus, he’s actually got experience the current governor only dreams of having on his resumé: He’s run a successful business; he governed the state’s largest city effectively and conservatively; he is a rational energy expert who works for efficiency and lessening dependence on foreign oil.

Ironically, Perry is what conservatives claim to hate the most: a career politician whose allegiances are to special interests and who seems to be on a 24/7 campaign. Anyone who’s been in office as long as Perry tends to start seeing themself as a monarch of sorts, instead of someone who works for the people.

White also slammed Perry last weekend for ducking a gubernatorial debate — an event the people of Texas deserve and not something any candidate should unilaterally declare will or won’t happen. (Nothing annoys me more than when office holders of either party act like they’re above the free exchange of ideas.)

Perry’s arrogance extends further in that he refuses to speak with newspaper editorial boards at our state’s major dailies, personifying the ultra-right paranoia that the media is out to get them. It’s an insult to every Texan’s intelligence, even though many don’t mind being manipulated this way.

White knows that the key to a successful future in Texas is education and he wants to expand higher education opportunities and focus on job training that will help cut the woeful dropout rate that plagues the state’s large cities. He said while Houston mayor, the city alone added more jobs than 37 states combined.

And while I wouldn’t vote for him just for this, White also took a minute away from a hall full of newspaper publishers to speak directly with my nine-year-old son.

I hope every Texan will take the time to get to know Bill White and listen to what he has to say. This is not Nancy Pelosi in a tie, so don’t write him off just because he has a “D” by his name on the ballot. This is the son of two public school teachers whose levelheaded leadership would serve the state well.

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2010-06-24 digital edition

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