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the voters that just to provide vouchers for the kids who are already in private schools in Texas, we’d have to raise taxes by $1 billion I bet the poll numbers would switch around. People don’t understand vouchers, because we don’t have anybody in leadership who is articulating both sides of these kinds of issues. It is just unconscionable to me, that I can go to national conferences and see Governor Huckabee in Arkansas, Governor Wilson in California, Governor Whitman in New Jersey, Engler in Michigan I haven’t named a Democrat yet who are doing more on children’s health than we are in the state of Texas. All we get from George Bush is, “I don’t think I want to create any more entitlements.” The federal government has put the money on the table, our tax dollars, and if we waited around for George Bush, we’d be sending that money back to Washington, and it will go to New York. It is redistributed to other states; it does not go back to the taxpayers. He can talk all the rhetoric he wants about saving tax dollars and avoiding entitlements. Either we’re going to provide for kids in Texas, or we’re going to provide for kids in California and New York. That’s our choice. All Politics Is Local Carroll Robinson, Houston City Council member You’ve got to do two things. You’ve got to show that you’re as personable as the Governor, and you’ve got to show that the policy differences you recommend show something positive for the community. It’s going to be security, law enforcement, protect and enhance neighborhoods, economic development, even transportation. Working with TxDOT to bring down the highway funds that we . need. To streamline the processes dealing with nuisances in the community, dangerous buildings before you get to these big grand ideas, government needs to take care of these basic necessities that affect the quality of life…. Right now, state folks are talking at an abstract level, which does not get down to the neighborhood level where folks live and vote. Moving Unmotivated Voters Bernard Rapoport, Chairman, American Income Life Insurance Two problems: it’s not only that Bush is a very popular Governor. But … the upper 40 or 50 percent that’s doing well in our society don’t want anything to change; and the other 50 or 60 percent that aren’t doing well, don’t give a shit. And why should they? Part of it is that at the bottom they may feel that only the federal government can provide what they’re looking for…. As for the governor’s race, there’s the argument over “having the doctor of your choice.” For me, having the doctor of my choice is one thing, because I can afford any goddamn doctor I want. I think that’s one of the areas where Garry is missing the point. The people that respond to that particular issue are already voting for Bush. If we don’t start making sure that every mother has good nutrition, and every child has good nutrition, and have Head Start programs, and the kind of things that can change a society because if we start trying to tackle the problems at the higher-education level, it’s way too late…. The following issues are the ones that are most important: to see that a newborn child, every one, has good nutrition. Here we have $1 billion in surplus [in the state budget], we distribute it, and peo ple get $100 in property tax relief, and the most serious issue in our society is that every child that doesn’t have good nutrition is going to cost us $1 million. So that’s number one. The second thing I would do: We need basic education, beginning at the elementary school level and going up from there…. The thing I really care about the most is that we face up to our real problems. How Badly Do Democrats Want It? Bill White, Texas Democratic Party Chair If the pattern of turnout looks like 1994, with Rush Limbaugh voters turning out and our folks not, then we’re in big trouble. But if we do what we did in El Paso in 1996 and in Houston during the recent mayor’s race then we’ll win not only the governorship, but lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller. A lot of it will depend on the candidates with the larger war chests, like John Sharp and Paul Hobby, and how badly they want to win. There’s a lot of consultants telling people that they need so much TV time, but we see from the results in California, that TV can’t do it all. Turnout is extremely important…. The statewide candidates are going to have to start working together and pooling resources to come up with a coordinated campaign. The first thing, that Garry can help, but is a little beyond his control, is whether by a coordinated campaign at the grassroots level, we can get out the vote. The one thing that Garry has control over is that he needs to be identified with Democratic issues which appeal to the majority of Texans. The early polls have shown that even among people who support Democrats on our issues, they may not be familiar with Garry Mauro. So if the people that are with us on our issues will vote for Mauro, that will give us a big boost. The key issues? Patient choice; improving the public schools through raising teacher pay; the vote Republicans had on the [Talmadge] Heflin amendment, to reduce the corporate franchise tax, and make it up through increased sales taxes that’s a real issue. Divided Democrats? Judge Morris Overstreet, Court of Criminal Appeals What it’s going to take is a cooperative effort from all the Democrats. Texas really has changed. It sneaks up on you; Texas was really a Democratic state, but with the growth of Texas over the last few years, the expanded population three to five million people it just so happens that a lot of those folks were used to voting Republican. Democrats still outnumber Republicans in Texas, but they don’t outvote them. Mauro needs a mainstream sort of message, to make opportunities available to all, because I think people recognize there’s a big gap between the rich and the poor. It may not be anything he himself can do it’s going to take all of the Democrats, together, and so my advice to him was to try to find a way to get all of the Democratic office-seekers on the same page. I see the Republicans cooperating with each other, and everybody bringing something to the table, so that everybody can eat, and I really don’t see the Democratic Party doing that right now. I guess we’ll find out a lot, later this month [at the Democratic state convention] in San Antonio, if there’s going to be a coming together. I’m disturbed by things I hear I heard that neither Sharp nor Hobby was willing to attend the [June 3 Houston] fundraiser with 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JUNE 19, 1998