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with a $103 million deficit. [This number is disputed by White and city officials, who say there is no deficit.] So if a man could not run a city, how could he run a state? My record speaks for itself. I’m a successful businessman. His record speaks for him as a politician and as a failure. He served only the special-interest groups who helped him get elected. He’s for the rich and famous. He’s not for the people. I challenge him: What did he do for minorities? I think people would point to his environmental record in Houston. What did he do for the environment? Well, he tried to crack down on refineries. We’re still the most polluted city. What did he do? Talk is cheap. I think he struck agreements with polluters to reduce emissions. Well, one of the most polluted cities in the United States of America is still Houston. OK? So he talks. People are tired of talk. People want action, and he’s definitely not a man of action. In terms of policy, are there areas where you twoyou and Bill Whitereally disagree? I don’t know what his issues are. I hear him talking about education. Why didn’t he do something about it as mayor? He’s talking about jobs. Why didn’t he create jobs as mayor? Talking about health care. Why didn’t he do something about that? Energywhy didn’t he do something about it? He had an opportunity of six years, so on his report card, he gets an “F” on almost everything. And I’m speaking as a citizen of Houston myself. Did you vote for him for mayor? I’m out of the city [in Harris County]. for jobs to this state, and that’s something that he didn’t. Unless he’s talking about jobs that I created. So I really don’t feel that Bill White is my competition. Who’s your competition? Rick Perry. Bill White is just in the way. If he didn’t flip, then I would have won the nomination without a [contested] primary. I read [in the Austin American-Statesman] that you were quoted saying you pray every day, but … I meditate. Meditate … OK, but you wouldn’t classify yourself as being part of any organized religion. Is that right? You know, I always tell people I was born in the land of Abraham, the father of all religion. So I believe in Moses, I believe in Jesus, I believe in Muhammad, and we all believe in one god. Religion is the art of living. Religion is between a person and his god. And I’m running for governor, not a religious position. Some observers have speculated that you’re running to help promote your company and your products. What’s your response to that? I don’t work at the company. I’ve made enough money at the company…. I’m finished with the company, and governor or no governor, I’m not going back to the company. So I’m not promoting the company. My company is already the No.1 company in the beauty business in the United States of America. And we export to 114 countries. So it’s a very successful business, and my children run my company. My company is already very well promoted. You will find my product in approximately 90 percent of the homes in Texas. My company does not need promotion. I don’t need to spend my money in an election to promote my company. Did you think about stopping your campaign when Bill White decided to run for governor? I’m a man of determination, not like him. He’s the one who can’t make up his mind. I make up my mind, and I stay on it. Bill White is well known in the Democratic Party and in Houston. That’s about it. I’m much more known. People know me and my name, know that I’ve brought billions of dollars to this state. I’ve brought thousands So right now you don’t have an active role in running the company? Your children run it? Well, for example, this week I called them to tell them to donate $1 million worth of shampoo and body cleansers for Haiti. That’s, this week, my only involvement. When the earthquake happened, I jumped in to help. But that was my only involvement with the company. I’m dedicated to the governorship. BILL WHITE: THE CONTENDER? TEXAS OBSERVER: We’re in a time when there’s a lot of antiObama backlash and a lot of anti government sentiment. Clearly you are running on a good-government message, which hasn’t always worked in Texas, to say the least. How are you going to sell people on competent governance? BILL WHITE: You know, Texas will be a poorer state without an economic future that’s as much as it can be. We lead the nation in the percentage of adults without a high school diploma. Texas is unusual among American states and countries on Earth of having the younger generations having a lower percentage of college degrees than older Texans. We will not have a solid economic future unless we invest in the people of this state and have people who are productive, that can save and invest in small businesses, that can purchase consumer goods. And I think Texans understand this. We need to move our state forward. We’ve had too much of the wedge politics issues in the past. And I think that most Texans are ready for somebody just to work for the people of Texas on solutions. I think what you’re seeing a backlash against is what people consider to be a lot of political theater in Washington. There’s a lot of hype and rhetoric. When you have two wars going on, when you’re in a global and economic recession, and we’re in a state that is last in a lot of things we ought to be first in, then people are ready for some new leadership. You’ll be running against a likely general election opponent who will be trumpeting the greatness of 2010 PRIMARIES “I’m not going to live in the governor’s mansion. I would like to put an orphanage there.” SEE BILL WHITE’S announcement speech at 10 1 THE TEXAS OBSERVER WWW.TEXASOBSERVER.ORG