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and most in need of higher education. . But our fight is not over yet. When I had to, we took the fight to Washington. We fought hard to win battles for trade, to keep the space station, the supercollider, the V-22 Osprey and the F-16 and sell Bell helicopters. We made the case for Texas jobs and we fought for Texas interests. We won a lot more than we lost, but the fight is not over yet. I told Richard Fisher: …You’re going to be a great United States Senator but believe me I am concerned because there is an oxyr gen deprivation inside the Beltway in Washington, D.C…. You’ve got to take an oxygen machine with you. You’ve got to put it in your office, because perfectly good and reasonable people get up there and their brains turn to raisins. Some of the mandates and some of the financial demands made on Texas…are simply outrageous. So you are not going to catch me defending any foolishness in Washington. And, for that matter, you’re not going to find me defending any foolishness in government in Texas. After three and a half years in office, I have heard every excuse, every half-truth and every dumb lie that can be conjured up…to explain some asinine government snafu. And I won’t take a second seat to anyone when it comes to frustration with the way bureaucracy greets every proposed reform, usually with a “maybe” or “we’re working on that” or “we had a meeting and we talked about that.” And I tell them, “It’s time to stop talking and stop meeting and start acting!” But what really mystifies me is why we suddenly hear from people at election time who have actually filed to run for statewide office when we have never heard an idea on government from them before. I mean the people who never seemed to have the slightest interest in what the people care about who were never there when there was a piece of legislation discussed or debated, who was never there for a public hearing, who never wrote a letter asking for his position or any help on anything that we’ve done in government. Suddenly they pop out of a PR backroom claiming they have a better way of doing everything. It’s just like your brother-in-law, who was supposed to help with the moving and then he shows up after it’s all done and tells you the furniture is not in the right place. All we have to say is: Where were you when we were doing the heavy lifting? These Johnny Come Latelies…Running for public office is not like some sort of beauty contest…You’ve got to have some experience with people. You’ve got to serve on the local level and understand the impact of what is happening…when state laws filter down to the local level…You can’t wake up one morning and stand there shaving, looking in the mirror and say “Mmm, mmm. I think you’re so cute I think you ought to run for governor.” It really disturbs me…because a lot of what I see being said today by people within the Republican Party tells me that they’re trying to take us back to some version of the 1950s, a place that has a lot more in common with witch hunts and the John Birch Society than what we saw as the All-American family in “Leave it to Beaver.” Just when you think you’ve whipped these mongers of hate, just when you think you’ve gotten rid of these people who would divide us and who would preach their angerIt’s just kind of like old Jack Nicholson said in that movie, “They’re back.” You know how bad it has gotten when you hear Republicans criticizing Barry Goldwater for being too liberal…The Republicans set out to use the radical right, to take their extremist votes but tried to keep them, as best they could, at arms-length in public…Instead, they have invited a Trojan horse into their midst and they’ve created a tremendous danger not only for them but for all of us. Now some mainstream Republicans feel unwelcome in their own party and the stealth techniques that the radical right have used to take over the Republican Party are being used to threaten every aspect of society. They have turned the party of Lincoln into the party of Operation Rescue. They want to prevent a woman’s right to choose whether or not she intends to bear children and we will not stand for it. They want to tell us how to run our kids’ schools…They want to tell us how to run our lives. Well, no thank you sir. This is not about faith. My faithmy churchthey are important to me, as they are to you. But my faith and your faith do not call on us to make enemies of our fellow citizens or win victories at any means necessary. This nation was founded on free speech and the freedom to live our lives in whatever fashion. The Republican Party that is going to meet here next week has a litmus test for true believers that very few Texans could passor would want to. A lot of Republicans will arrive here to find that their party has left them. And so today, [speaking to Republicans] we want to extend an invitation to all those of you in the Republican Party who, because of the dogma and because of the right-wing radicals in your party that make you feel unwelcome. We want to tell you we are delighted to have you in the Democratic Party. This party believes in inclusion. We welcome anyone who believes that we must be more concerned with what unites us as Texans than what divides us… This Democratic ticket…is outstanding. Bob Bullock knows more about the operation of government than the entire Republican ticket put together. Bullock and I have been around the block a few times; we’re leading the fight for individual rights and we were there when we fought for civil rights and we have been there when we have fought the battles for Texas. When the issues come to the floor of the Texas Senate, and even before, when Bullock was comptroller, he was there. He was there for public education. He was there fighting the battle against crime. He was there, fighting the battle to keep our air clean and our water pure and I am proud to be on the ticket with Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock once again, serving Texas. I know what we have done in the Texas Legislature in the last three and a half years wasn’t me. It was a partnership…with members of the Legislature, Republican and Democrat. It was a partnership with Bullock and one of the finest speakers of the House that we could possibly ever ask for, Pete Laney from Hale Center. When you talk about heavy lifting, it is going to be wonderful to have Richard Fisher sitting on the floor of the Senate in Washington, D.C…. You know, early in January, when I announced for reelection, I decided to go home to do the deed. I hadn’t been back to Lakeview in a long time. And I went back to the house where I was born…It was still there, just a little asbestos-shingled house like thousands of other houses in Texas. There’s a single mother and her little girl living there now. In fact, that little girl lives in the same bedroom where I was born. It really is remarkable to think that the little girl who started out in that little house so long ago now lives in the house where Sam Houston once lived. But it is not so remarkable when you understand that this is Texas. This is a place where we still believe that hard work will get you somewhere…Texas was founded on hard work. There ain’t nothing in Texas that’s handed to you on a silver platter…and that includes the people you’ve put in office who have ‘worked hard and proved themselves. Our challenge today is to ensure that the little girl who lives in that modest house in Lakeview nowand all our kidswill have their same opportunity to go wherever their ability and wherever their determination is going to take them. That’s what we are really fighting for. None of this really and truly is about us. Most of this is about our children: Whether this state is going to embrace these children of ours, regardless of their color, regardless of their creed, regardless of their ethnicity. Is this state going to be inclusive in the future for all of them? We’ve got to ensure that. My friends, we’ve never run from a fight yet and we’re not running from this one. And, God willing, that is a fight we’re going to be working hard to win in November and for the next four years. I’ll see you on Congress Avenue. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23