Setting Texas Right George W. Bush spoke to the Texas Republican Convention on June 10 in Fort Worth. What follows is his original text. He made several minor deviations from it. IFEEL,ENERGIZED by the spirit that’s in this room. It’s the same spirit I feel all over Texas, a spirit of excitement and a spirit of change. I’m excited by how the issues are shaping up. People are learning the differences between me and my opponent. And as they do, it strengthens my conviction that what I feel is real: I will be the next Governor of Texas. We will win because our philosophy is fair and good. We will win because you’re ready to work in the biggest grassroots crusade Texas has ever seen. We will win because, after four years of a hide-and-seek liberal, Texans want a conservative leader in the Governor’s . office. That’s exactly what we’re going to give them. A good friend from West Texas asked me, “Bush, why you doing it? Why are you giving up the world’s greatest job, running a baseball club, to run for Governor?” I love Texas. My mission is to create a stronger, safer Texas that is much better for the next generation of Texans. Texas is more than a place on a map for me. It’s a state of mind, a way of living, a place where dreamers dream big, where people risk and build and create. Texas should be a place without liinits for people with vision, energy, and appetite for hard work. But I see Texas changing…and not for the better. I see too many families hurt by crime, people afraid to walk in their neighborhoods. I see more violent crime committed by younger and younger criminals. It’s time we make it absolutely clear that punishment for criminal activity will be swift and certain. I see too many schools graduating young people who can’t read or write, too many teachers weighed down by paperwork, too many school boards swamped by red tape, too many classrooms disrupted by undisciplined youth and too much emphasis on social experimentation. The mission in our schools should be educational excellence, not condom distribution. It’s time to strengthen local control of our schools by abolishing the regulatory authority of the TEA. I see a state budget which has exploded from $48 billion to $72 billion since Ann Richards took office. It’s grown four times as fast as inflation and incredibly four and a half times as fast as the federal budget grew. Texas now has more state employees than New York. We have plenty of government. That’s one reason I am opposed to a personal state income tax in Texas. Texas is beginning to look the rest of the nation. Texas is starting to blend in. My opponent accepts this. She feels the status quo is okay, that Texas is moving in the right direction. I don’t. I want Texas to be a beacon state. A state that shines. A state that when other folks look at us, they say that’s where I want to live, that’s how I want my state to be. I will fight for the changes necessary to succeed in our mission. It’s a matter of will and leadership and I am ready for the battle. During this campaign, I will clarify my differences with Governor Richards. They are many. As I do so, I will treat the Governor and office she holds with respect. She is an interesting, entertaining person who has tried her best. Our disagreement is not personal: it’s with her views, her record, her liberal philosophy and her failure to lead. First, let’s discuss educating our children. Education should be our state’s number-one priority. It has not been under Governor Richards. Governor Richards insisted on Robin Hood I. When Texans overwhelmingly rejected her plan, she retaliated with Robin Hood II. I strongly disagree with her approach. This isn’t a plan that robs from the rich and gives to the poor. It’s a plan that robs Texas of its future by making the whole state poor. We do it backwards in Texas. We fund our schools locally and we govern centrally. And that’s not right. I will hold the per-pupil cost of education the same and increase the state’s share of educational funding so as to provide property taxes relief. But the issue in education isn’t strictly money. The issue is also how to govern our schools. Governor Richards’ answer is to centralize power, to increase the rules from TEA and the paperwork required from our districts. Her definition of local control is 3,000 waivers to rules and regulations. We’ve tried one-size-fits-all education and it doesn’t work. I will encourage educational entrepreneurship by empowering parents, teachers, administrators, and local school boards to design the programs that best fit the needs of every local community. I have proposed what’s called “home rule education districts.” By a vote of the people, districts will be able to declare their independence from the TEA’ s dictates. If we teach democracy in our schools, let’s practice democracy in running our schools. Welfare is another big area of disagreement between the Governor and me. For four years, she’s done nothing to change welfare. Here’s what I believe. I want people to accept responsibility for their lives. I want to free people from dependency on government. Welfare must not be a way of lifeI will limit the able-bodied to two years on welfare and no more. Welfare must not be a handoutpeople on welfare must to work, learn or train in return for their checks. To put it bluntly, get off your duff or get off the dole. Welfare must not encourage illegitimacyno additional money for having more kids while on welfare. Finally, Texas must get tough on those parents who do not uphold their responsibility to their families. I will insist that Texas suspend any license of any parent who does not provide child support for their children…drivers license, hunting license, doctor’s license, lawyer’s license, fishing license. People must be held responsible for what they do. I will take these tough steps because I care about people. We must change the welfare system now or we’ll condemn another generation to a life of dependency and I will stand for that. What about crime? Let me tell you a story. A little girl goes with her class to visit the local sheriff’s office. She sees the wanted posters on the wall and asks the sheriff who they are. He explains they are dangerous, wanted criminals and to be on the look-out of them. She asks “why didn’t you keep them there when you took their picture?” Well, I want to keep them there when we take their picture. Governor Richards says crime is down and people should feel safer, bur you and I know violent crime is up and criminals are getting younger and meaner. I will end paroles for murderers, rapists and child molesters. I will end the mandatory early release of criminals from prison. The Governor’s office says the people getting out on early release aren’t really dangerous. You can’t tell that to the family I met in the Houston area. One December day, four men invaded their home and forced the family to lie on the living room floor. When the mother, a beautiful Little League mom, lifted her head to comfort a crying child, one of the thugs placed a shotgun next to her face and blew it off. The thug had just been let out of prison under mandatory early release, even after the parole board had denied parole, even though he’d been arrested for cocaine trafficking, making a terroristic threat, and 6 JULY 1, 1994
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