Oh my gosh, I am so excited. I'm excited about all the wonderful people who are here. I thank you for coming out and helping me make a very important announcement.
I want to thank Pete Winstead who has done so much for me already in my campaign. What a leader he has been for Austin. Kenny Jastrow, one of my Finance Chairmen who has done a fabulous job and what he has done for our state and for the University of Texas. Bud Shivers, my wonderful Treasurer who stepped in when nobody else was there. Yours was the first name on the line and I will never forget that. I appreciate you so much. Dick Armey, our leader.
You know Dick Armey was saying that he heard someone once say that he wanted to be paid for what he knew, not who he knew. And Dick Armey said, "Riley, well you know I was a professor and I was paid for what I knew and I was in poverty." So, Dick I think is the fountain of wisdom. And I so appreciate him.
And Congressman John Carter, a great leader, he's in the leadership and the United States Congress and a wonderful friend to be here for me. He has a great future as well. Joe and Teresa Long, I saw you earlier today. Thank you for all you're doing for me on our Finance Committee. My college roommate Mary Able here and I appreciate you and Catherine Armstrong, thank you. And Rayford Price, our former House Speaker, thank you for being here. I may not see everybody, but I just am so overwhelmed with the support that I have in this room.
And, of course, how could I be any more touched than to be at my own alma mater where I have to say I got the education and I got so much from going to the University of Texas that I knew I had to try to pay it back.
I would not be where I am today without the-- both the public education that I got in La Marque where I started my day today and then ending today where I got my college and law degree from a university that had as its mission to give our students the very best. University of Texas, of course, a tier one along with Texas A&M, both great universities and it is so important that we maintain that high standard.
And frankly I'm going to tell you something, if I'm Governor of Texas both of our two tier one public universities, the University of Texas and Texas A&M will be in the top 10 public universities in America where they should be.
I digress and say that I am here today to make the announcement that I am officially running for Governor of Texas.
So-- and it is with humility for history that I make this announcement today, because Texas is like no place else. We started this long trek for independence and a spirit that is unparalleled anywhere on March 2, 1836. That's when the men gathered at Washington on the Brazos and they declared Texas independence March 2nd. One of those men was my great-great grandfather Charles S. Taylor from Nacogdoches. Those great men signed their names on the line and they risked their lives to do it.
So, why did they? Because they yearned for freedom and they believed in Texas. So, 173 years later his great-great granddaughter is running for Governor, because I believe in Texas and I know we can do better.
I will start by saying this about Rick Perry. He is a dedicated public servant and I know he loves Texas. But, Rick Perry is trying to stay too long. Fourteen years is too long.
After 10 years of Governor Perry being in office where are we? Property taxes, highest in the country, state debt doubled, tuition skyrocketing, dropout rates among the highest, uninsured children leading the nation, private property rights at risk, 10 years is enough. We can do better.
In my administration we will tackle these challenges We will be specific and direct. We will lay out a clear, conservative vision for the future of Texas. As Governor I will focus on five areas: Fiscal responsibility, education, transportation, healthcare access and government reform.
First fiscal policy. For starters I will spend less, tax less and borrow less.
Let's start with Governor Perry's new tax on business. It's been called a job killer. More than 200,000 Texans have lost their jobs just this year. In the month of June alone Texas lost more jobs than any state besides California. And now we have the highest unemployment in our region of the country. The Governor said he was proud to sign this record tax increase. I don't call a job killing tax increase something to be proud of. I call it a tragic mistake.
Texas has had an increase in taxes and an increase in big government. Over the last 10 years Texas has added 30,000 new workers to the state payroll. And to make a political point, we turned down half a billion Federal dollars, sacrificed it to other states and now we're borrowing three times that much and sticking Texas business with the tab.
That's not conservative. That's irresponsible. It's time for results not politics.
Education: As Governor I will help create an education system that prepares our young people for the jobs of the future. To begin, we will no longer accept one of the highest dropout rates in the country. Our students deserve quality teachers who are well educated and trained and schools where bad teachers aren't just transferred, they move on. But, good teachers should be rewarded. They should have continuing opportunities for professional development. I will propose incentives for math and science teachers in middle and high school to earn a degree in what they teach.
In Texas discussion of basic education should no longer be K through 12. It should be pre-K through 14. [applause] We have to look for ways to support early childhood education on the front end and every child should be encouraged and supported to go to college.
But, those who don't, we have an obligation to them to give them a marketable skill so they can get the good jobs where they can support a family. That is what we must do. Ignoring these fundamental challenges will result in mediocrity or worse, failure. We can do better and our future depends on it. [Applause]
Transportation, TxDOT is the most arrogant agency in the history of Texas. I will reform and expand the commission. It should be more representative of more areas of the state and it should seek and embrace local input. It is time to return to our tradition of free quality highways and roads in our state. And then there is the Trans-Texas Corridor, the biggest land grab in the history of Texas. And the Governor wanted to turn it over to a foreign company to build toll roads. Well, they can call it the Trans-Texas Corridor. They can call it something different. I'll tell you what I'm going to call it when I raise my hand for the oath of office, dead, buried, history. [applause] We can do better.
Healthcare, we must build a healthcare system that brings people into the system that gives healthcare options to our uninsured and assistance to business owners so they can afford to provide it. And know this, while I am in the Senate I will spend every moment trying to stop the massive government takeover of our healthcare system. [Applause]
If you want to know what healthcare is going to look like in Texas when I'm governor think the opposite of what is going through Congress today. We will offer carrots and not sticks. We will offer help not fines. Government reform, there's another reality in Texas. Too often our state is doing what it shouldn't and not doing what it should.
When we have systemic abuse in the Texas Youth Commission, fight clubs in our state schools for the disabled, the last thing we need is government mandating vaccines for sixth grade girls or playing politics with a great university like Texas A&M. [Applause] we need results not politics and that starts with term limits for Texas Governor. [Applause]
For any Governor eight years is enough. We can't afford 14 years of one person appointing every member of every board, every commission and every agency in Texas. It invites patronage. It temps cronyism and it has to stop now. [Applause]
As Governor I will give our agencies a top to bottom scrubbing, which has not been done in 10 years. I will appoint a commission 2025, respected educators, business, and agricultural representatives, community leaders, elected officials to look at Texas state governance. We should decide now for our future what should be kept, what should be changed, what should go.
And finally, I want to talk to every Republican. For the last decade, for the 10 years of Governor Perry the Republican Party in Texas has been shrinking. We're losing elections that we have won. In Austin we have gone from 88 to 76 in the Texas House of Representatives, two away from losing it. As Republicans we can continue down this road. We can continue to shrink our majorities or we can inspire. We can unite and we can grow our party. We can rebuild it from the bottom up and reach out to Texans and say if you believe in smaller government, limited government, lower taxes, more self-determination if you believe in that come and join us.
Let's build our party. Let's be worthy of governing this great state. That's what I want the Republican Party to represent and if I am at the top of the ticket in 2010 that's what we will do. We will be worthy to govern Texas. [Applause]
It's time for a Governor for all Texans. Join me and together we will make the Texas of tomorrow for our children for what they deserve.
This is a special time, a time for principled leadership, a time for reform, a time for results. This is a time when we can take the next step for our state that we can do better, that we will address the issues head on, and that we will not tread water. We will not stand for mediocrity. We must build our state for the future.
We are not doing it today and that's why I am running for Governor of Texas. I can do more in Texas than I can do in Washington and this is where I want to be to make Texas what it can be for our children. We have grown up. Look at this university that we have. We've grown up with the best.
Our forefathers and mothers sacrificed to make sure that we would have a tier one education at the University of Texas. We must give that opportunity to our children and that is what I will promise you if I am governor of Texas and we can do no less. Help me and we will do it for our children and grandchildren. We will not let them down.
Thank you very much, thank you for being here and thank you for helping me, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
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