AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today renewed the proclamation declaring a liquefied petroleum gas emergency, waiving certain state licensing and permitting regulations for out-of-state carriers and operators. This waiver applies only to liquefied petroleum gas trucks and operators meeting all certification, permitting and licensing requirements of the federal government and another state whose governor has declared or declares a liquefied petroleum gas emergency. This waiver will expedite the transportation of propane to communities impacted by severe winter weather in other states.
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today appealed the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) denial of individual assistance for Central Texas counties impacted by the severe storms and flooding between October 30 and November 1.
“The communities affected by the Halloween floods have been left with devastating financial burdens,” Gov. Perry said. “Texas is utilizing all available resources to meet the needs of these families and businesses in Central Texas, but the damage is of such magnitude that federal individual assistance is necessary. I urge President Barack Obama to immediately grant the assistance that these Texans need to recover and rebuild their lives.”
Join over 100 groups in supporting Gov. Perry for re-election
HOUSTON – Today Gov. Rick Perry received the endorsement of former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush for the general election. They were joined by representatives from more than 100 organizations and hundreds of leaders who have endorsed Gov. Perry’s re-election, highlighting his diverse, statewide support, which represents millions of Texans.
“Gov. Perry’s leadership and proven track record is an essential component in keeping Texas a national leader in job creation,” said former President George H.W. Bush. “Texas has become a prime example of what happens when you mix fiscal responsibility, strong leadership and a vision of moving a state forward. It is an honor to endorse Gov. Rick Perry for the general election.”
George H.W. Bush was sworn in as president of the United States in January 1989 and served until January 1993. During his term in office, the Cold War ended; the threat of nuclear war was drastically reduced; the Soviet Union ceased to exist, replaced by a democratic Russia with the Baltic States becoming free; the Berlin Wall fell and Germany was reunified with Eastern Europe; and he put together an unprecedented international coalition to liberate Kuwait.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush is a tireless advocate of volunteerism, helping countless charities and humanitarian causes. Today she and President Bush serve as Co-Chairs of C-Change, an organization that represents more than 150 individuals and groups that fight cancer. She also enjoys reading to children at schools and hospitals across the nation.
“I am deeply honored to receive the endorsement of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush,” said Gov. Perry. “His devotion and leadership, to our country, has brought forth inspiration to us all.”
Gov. Perry’s endorsements highlight the broad-based support he has from diverse groups and industries, ranging from agriculture, health care and retail sales, to construction, law enforcement and education.
In his remarks, Gov. Perry emphasized the creation of 850,000 Texas jobs in the last ten years and the recent drop in the unemployment rate in Texas; leaving the national rate nearly two points above ours. He also touted our state’s low taxes, predictable regulatory climate, fair legal system and education efforts as crucial elements that have helped make it a national leader in exports and Fortune 1000 companies.
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local #341 for re-election in 2010.
“Fire fighters across the state have a friend in Gov. Rick Perry,” said Jeff Caynon, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341. “He has helped provide us the tools we need to make Texas safe. When Texans need help, they turn to us. When we need help, we always know we can turn to Gov. Perry. Local #341 is proud to endorse Gov. Perry for re-election.”
The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local #341 represents nearly 4,000 of Houston’s bravest men and women. The Houston Fire Department is the 3rd largest fire department in the nation.
“I am honored to have the endorsement of Houston’s firefighters and emergency responders,” said Gov. Perry. “These brave public servants put their lives on the line daily to keep Texans safe. Their dedication and courage exemplify the best of what Texas has to offer.”
“Bobby and I have worked together many times as colleagues and friends but I will never forget our efforts to protect the men and women of our respective states after coming face to face with devastating hurricanes,” said Gov. Perry. “I am proud that he supports our efforts to continue moving our state forward as families across Texas are weathering this global economic downturn. Texans know firsthand that the state needs steady leadership in these tough times.”
Jindal was sworn in as Governor of Louisiana on January 14, 2008. Jindal was born in Baton Rouge on June 10, 1971. He graduated from Baton Rouge High School in 1988 and went on to attend Brown University where he graduated with honors in biology and public policy. Following his graduation from Brown he attended Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar. In 1994, Jindal went to work for McKinsey and Company as a consultant for Fortune 500 companies before entering public service. In 1996, he was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). In 2004 he was elected to the 109th United States Congress representing the First District of Louisiana. Jindal was re-elected to Congress in 2006 with 88 percent of the vote majority. Jindal and his wife Supriya have three young children.
The Republican primary for Texas Governor takes place on March 2, but early voting in Texas begins February 16 and runs through the 26th. The momentum behind the Governor's campaign is palpable, and the campaign made this new video that you can share with your friends and neighbors to help fire up your fellow Texans about getting out and voting early for Governor Rick Perry:
Gov. Rick Perry today criticized the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for telling Texans “there is no compelling need to immediately approve” the state’s application for continued Hurricanes Ike and Dolly recovery funding.
“HUDs comment is an insult to every Texan whose home or business was destroyed or damaged by hurricanes Ike or Dolly,” Gov. Perry said. “Hurricane Ike was the costliest storm in history to strike Texas, and this process should not stand in the way of assistance for disaster victims.”
The comment came in a letter from Assistant HUD Secretary Mercedes Marquez rejecting the state's application for the second round of funding for Hurricanes Ike and Dolly recovery. Texas received $1.3 billion in Round One funding and was slated to receive $1.7 billion in Round Two.
In rejecting the state’s application for a second allotment of hurricane recovery funds, HUD faulted the state plan for not specifying how it would distribute funding to units of local government, despite the 67-page plan’s detailed description of the formula used for allocating funds to Councils of Government (COGs).
“Clearly, it is lost on HUD officials that COGs are units of local government under Texas law, and the plan the state submitted discussed the COGs’ role,” Gov. Perry said. “Like other agencies in Washington these days, HUD overlooks the important role local governments play in formulating recovery efforts."
HUD also faults the state plan because COGs have not yet held public hearings. However, these concerns were never relayed to the state when HUD approved Round One funding for Texas in March 2009, or when it approved funding for Hurricane Rita recovery.
Gov. Perry said federal officials are playing politics with the funding decision because the letter from Marquez attempts to impose new policies and requirements that were never specified in guidelines on the Ike funding published in the Federal Register. For example, HUD criticizes the state for not providing “reasonable public notice,” although Texas officials hosted eight public hearings to help formulate the post-Ike recovery funding application.
HUD’s criticism also contradicts the citizen participation waiver notice in the Federal Register that “removes the requirement at both the grantee and state grant recipient levels for public hearings or meetings as the method for dissemination of information or collecting citizen comment.”
HUD also raised concerns about the state’s proposal to use some funds for projects that focus on mitigation of future disasters rather than “core recovery needs.” Again, HUDs criticism contradicts federal guidelines that encourage the state to undertake such projects to draw down additional federal dollars from the Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund.
HUD’s letter requires Texas to submit a revised plan within 45 days, but imposes additional public hearing requirements and the development of new fair housing plans that HUD admits will take months to complete.
“The request that Texas update its fair housing plan would delay recovery, especially since the federal guidance that Texas will use to update its fair housing practices is not expected to be published before February 2010,” Gov. Perry said. “Unless this is resolved soon, it will be Texans who will ultimately bear the brunt of the costs for recovery. Therefore, I also urge our Congressional delegation to make it clear to HUD that we will not stand for weeks and months of further delay. ”
Despite a malicious denial-of-service attack on RickPerry.org today, thousands of Texans were able to participate in "Talkin' Texas" and listen to Governor Rick Perry talk about his record and vision for Texas.
Governor Perry reflected on the conservative legislative accomplishments in Texas that have positioned our state for success. If you missed it earlier, you can now watch the live portion of the video for yourself:
Governor Perry today offered several new proposals to maintain Texas’ positive momentum, including:
• A constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of the legislature to increase state taxes;
• Making permanent the recent tax cut extended to 40,000 small businesses in the last legislative session (under current law, the $1 million business margins tax exemption will expire in 2011);
• Imposing criminal penalties on employers who knowingly violate employment laws by hiring workers who are in Texas illegally; and
•Paving the way for ongoing job growth by purging unnecessary laws and regulations that stifle Texas entrepreneurs.
The event, which garnered more than 22,000 views in spite of the attack, was streamed live from the HOLT-Caterpillar facility in San Antonio. Check back at http://RickPerry.org/talkin-texas and look out for regular updates.
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today announced the state has provided $8.6 million to Bridge City Independent School District to assist in the construction of a new elementary school campus, replacing two schools badly damaged by Hurricane Ike. These funds are part of House Bill 4586, appropriated to the Trusteed Programs in the Office of the Governor as additional funding beyond the general disaster relief provisions of HB 4102.
“This community was hit hard by Ike a year ago, and I want these students, teachers and parents to know the rest of Texas is standing with them as Bridge City rebuilds,” Gov. Perry said. “We look forward to cutting the ribbon on a new school, one that will ably serve its mission of preparing our young people for the challenges of the future.”
Sims Elementary and Hatton Elementary were decimated by Ike’s storm surge, which flooded the entire Bridge City area. During the storm, Sims was under 4 feet of water, while Hatton held 2 feet of water. The schools are also both aging and do not meet several current codes and standards, making it more cost effective to build a new school, rather than simply rebuilding.
The state amount covers a shortfall between what insurance and FEMA will pay to construct a new school. Total construction costs are estimated at $20.7 million.
“I am grateful to Governor Perry for working with the South East Texas delegation and the community of Bridge City to secure this needed funding,” Sen. Tommy Williams said. “These dollars will help ensure the children of Bridge City will have a safe learning environment and help them to return to their normal lives after experiencing the devastation of Hurricane Ike.”
“These funds are important to the Bridge City community, giving parents peace of mind that their children will have a safe and productive learning environment while at school,” Rep. Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton said. “During these difficult times, I am extremely pleased that these schools will be rebuilt without raising taxes or needing any additional bond revenue.”
The Texas Education Agency has opened a second HB 4102 application process period. Districts were previously only able to apply for funds relating to qualifying unreimbursed physical damage. Now, districts can also apply for funding to replace revenue lost related to declining property values or lost enrollment due to disaster.
What happened when Hurricane Ike tore into the Texas coast is best known as a story of loss and tragedy, but it is also an ongoing tale of courage and dedication, caring and commitment.
A year after Ike, the resilience of Texans is on display in rebuilt homes and community centers, reopened businesses and restaurants, all measured in miles of blacktop and across spans of bridges reconnecting people with the mainland.
People continue to pitch in as a sense of normalcy has returned. And yet, still, nothing is exactly the same. Nothing ever will be.
Ike was that kind of monster.
In the early hours of Sept. 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike exploded across the area, turning residents out of their homes while rapidly and viciously redrawing the coast of Texas with a haphazard hand.
Despite how awful it was, however, it could have been even worse. Texas has seen its fair share of bad storms over the years, and the lessons we've learned helped us improve our response time, and more quickly and efficiently move people to safety, provide shelter and distribute much-needed food and water.
Those lessons were all called into play as Ike roared into the Gulf. An unpredictable force even as it closed in on land, its projected path changed five times in the 30 hours before it finally came ashore, with targets ranging from the Rio Grande Valley all the way to the Louisiana border.
For a state that puts a premium on strategically positioning its resources at the point of attack, Ike worked us pretty hard. Nonetheless, by the time Ike had zeroed in on the Galveston area, we had search-and-rescue teams in place, ready to help. In the darkest hours of the night, as the worst of the storm made its way ashore, 634 Texans were plucked from the most imperiled areas. Those 634 people almost assuredly would have perished without the intervention of brave men and women willing to risk their own lives for their fellow Texans.
It was an amazing display of the best of the human spirit, and I continue to marvel at the dedication of these fine individuals. Over the course of the storm, our first responders, including Texas Task Forces 1 and 2, as well as Texas Military Forces, rescued 3,540 people and conducted welfare checks on nearly 6,000 other citizens in the impacted area.
As we've come to expect, they performed amazing jobs under the most difficult of circumstances.
As the storm moved in and then moved on, we shifted our focus from search and rescue to caring and comfort. Across the state, in a display of the proud Texas tradition of “neighbor helping neighbor,” 305 shelters took in 51,000 Texans. As workers labored around the clock to restore basic utilities to afflicted areas, we distributed nearly a million ready-to-eat meals, more than 26 million bottles of water and more than 50 million pounds of ice.
Not to suggest there weren't challenges, but I'm proud of the efforts we put forward in the aftermath of the storm.
However, discussions about what worked in the wake of a disaster go only so far in consoling those who lost their homes, priceless heirlooms, a cherished pet or a loved one. We owe it to all Texans to continue improving the system.
To that end, we've initiated changes, ranging from the creation of state resource staging areas to the streamlining of our command structure. We've enhanced our continuous training and exercise programs; reviewed our system for distributing food and water; consolidated communications; and expanded the use of new technology, such as GPS tracking, to manage key resources.
The 81st Legislature funded much-needed repairs to schools afflicted by the storm and also gave the state leeway in funding of school districts disrupted by future storms. It also responded to my call to improve the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, passing a bill that incorporates sound business practices and broadens the association's options to pay for incurred losses, keeping insurance coverage available to Texans living along the coast.
In all, the Legislature allocated more than $425 million to rebuilding areas of Texas touched by disaster. Of this amount, $150 million was dedicated to getting the University of Texas Medical Branch and its critical trauma center back up and running. A $62 million disaster fund will enable us to respond even more quickly in the future.
Currently, agencies like the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of Rural Affairs and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs are working with local authorities in affected areas, distributing federal funding to restore devastated communities.
Ike will never be forgotten, but neither will the bravery and dedication of the proud people of Texas.