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sider folly to say “I will never raise taxes.” Is that a stand that you would take? I don’t think any elected official should say “I will never do this or that.” It suggests to me an omnipotence that none of us have. I don’t like taxes any more than anyone else does. I believe that all taxpayers do not mind paying their taxes, as long as they are fair and as long as they think that they’re getting their money’s worth. And I think both of those components play a role. I think that it is time that the state of Texas assured the tax payers that they are getting their money’s worth. Not just that their taxes are fair. Would you be infavor of state-based agency regulating environmentTexas EPA for instance? What I proposed and we’ll give you if you don’t have it, is a white paper on all the environmental issues but I have proposed that there be a creation, and, there will be if I become governor, of a position of ombudsman for the environment within the governor’s office. I think that the great problem has been diversity of enforcement in agencies, and as a consequence there’s a problem for the public’s concern who to talk to and who to contact. If as a progression from that, it makes sense then, to create something in terms of an environmental protection group, I’m perfectly happy to consider that. But at this point, I think that the first step, in what should be a long-range approach to the environment, is to have someone within the governor’s office who is the person that deals with environmental problems. How about the question of electing state judges from smaller districts, rather than county wide? What’s your position on that, considering the recent court rulings? I have always believed in single-member districts, whether it is in these districts or others. For the record, what is your position on abortion? Oh, I have believed for many years, and fought very hard for, a woman’s right to choose. Parental consent for minors? I don’t believe that there should be restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. Just one last question. One of the biggest criticisms that we hear from people about your campaign is that it’s the least substantive of the three candidates. In fact, there was a characterization of your campaign, I don’t know if this is fair or not, but the Dallas Morning News [said of you]: “The twin themes of Ann Richards cam paign for governor are achievement in the good-old-boy club of Texas politics and her success over alcoholism. They represent the public and the private. The battle outside herself and the battle within.” Is that a fair characterization? I don’t know what to say to you. I guess if you choose one clipping out of all the clippings of everything I’ve said in this campaign oh, it’s very hard to answer a question like that. I don’t believe that anyone running for public office has been more substantive in every speech that I’ve made in the past two years about what I intend to do, what I think is the top priority, and so since you don’t know that, maybe I ought to tell you. There is no single issue in this state that will approach or equal what we are facing in public education. It is number one. It is pervasive in all the other issues that “Governor Hobby didn’t call for an income tax. He called for the beginning of a crIcdogue overwhelm us. It reduces our ability to do economic development be cause we can not guarantee the kind of training and technological capability that is necessary to attract the industry that you and I would like to see in Texas. It is the single most difficult problem that faces us in criminal justice, along with treatment for addiction, we have turned the educational system over to a bureaucracy rather than allowing the teachers to be in the policy-making and decisionmaking position they have to be in if they are going to carry out what they are supposed to deliver to the children of Texas. Now those three areas, to me, are the top three, partly because they spend a great deal of money, and partly because they determine where we’re going in the future. I think that it is time that we have someone who is governor of Texas who is totally candid, who tells the people exactly what she thinks. I think it’s time we have someone who is governor of Texas that understands the finances of this state. I think that all people are particularly concerned how their tax money is spent and whether the people at the top truly understand the system of the state of Texas in dispensing and dispersing their tax funds. When I finish this seven years of office, I will have produced more money for the people of Texas than all the previous treasurers in 147 years combined. [At this point in the interview, a Richards campaign staffer entered and informed Observer editor Allan Freedman that his blue Honda Civic was being towed away. As Freedman was departing, Ms. Richards suggested that he re main until she completed her answer.] Let him [a campaign aide] move it. Because I don’t want you to say in an article that we’re not talking about issues in this campaign. I think that it’s time that this state be managed. And that we have a governor in office who understands management. You see a lot of articles with the suggestion that the governor of Texas is a weak position. Well, I’ve never thought that. The governor has two major and powerful responsibilities. One is the appoint ment of people who run the agencies and boards of Texas. And the other is the power of the veto. In terms of those people who are appointed to the positions of responsibility, I could appoint you tomorrow. You are intelligent. You’re bright, you’re capable. And you really want to do something about state government. And I could say to you, “I’d like for you to go over and serve on x,y,z board.” And you would say, “I would be thrilled to. It would be a privilege.” Well once you get there, the first people who are going to tell you how that agency runs, what its history is, what its budget is and why, are the staff who have been there 20 or 30 years. And you have been co-opted. Your new best friends are very likely the problem that the agency is facing in the first place. And so you have no real authority or opportunity to change the policy that those agencies take or the direction in which the money is spent. It is long overdue for a governor of this state to establish within the budget office a training program that begins, number one, with ethics. A lot of people come into appointed positions thinking that government runs like the private sector. If you look at the situation in HUD right now, I don’t think that those people went into those positions with the intention of doing wrong, of defrauding the government, or behaving inappropriately. But the truth is that they did because they didn’t know any better. They came out of a private system where if your brother-in-law needs help, if your friend needs a special deal cut, then you cut’em a special deal. The I’m not through. Okay, go ahead. So you begin with ethics. Then you go to the budget and the process. Then you agree what the goals are. What’s wrong? What needs to be addressed? What needs to be done? And you establish common goals for first year, second year, third year, against which you can measure your performance. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15