KERA held a Republican debate this evening and here is what Governor Perry had to say afterwards:
"Tonight’s debate gave Texans the chance to hear competing visions for our state’s future while reflecting on the remarkable success story our state has written over the last several years.
"As our nation’s economy continues to struggle, our best prospects lie with maintaining our job-friendly climate, continuing to strengthen our education system, keeping our border secure and pushing back against the flood of misguided policies pouring out of Washington.
"I hope that our success has earned the confidence of Texas voters and that they will continue supporting me in leading our state with hard work, innovation and careful fiscal stewardship."
Check out gubernatorial facts, reported by our team during the debate, along with corrections to misinformation presented by the other candidates, here.
Governor Perry and his campaign are hosting a blogger and social media summit January 22-23. This exciting event is geared toward helping Governor Perry's supporters better harness the power of social media.
Panelists include some of the nation’s most renowned bloggers and social media experts like Andrew Breitbart of BigGovernment.com, conservative writer and commentator, Matt Lewis, Roger L. Simon, CEO of PJTV.com, Patrick Ruffini of Engage political media company, and Dr. Melissa Clouthier a conservative Texas blogger. Governor Perry, an avid tweeter, will also attend.
The Governor's supporters are the lynchpin of our campaign's strategy, and we hope you will attend and hone your social media skills to help the campaign as we enter the final stage of the primary. The campaign utilizes social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, and Youtube, to a degree unlike any other race across the state and recognizes it as a crucial component in the campaign effort. It ought to be a fun event, and we should finish up just in time for folks who plan to attend the Texas Rally for Life on the steps of the Capitol afterward.
We hope to see you there. Be sure to register soon, because space is limited.
By the Hon. John Jackson, Guest Columnist
(Originally published Aug. 28, 2009)
The Corsicana Daily Sun missed a golden journalistic opportunity on Thursday by merely reprinting the AP article with respect to the Cameron Todd Willingham murder case. The Daily Sun is in possession of its compete reportage of the early '90's trial and is in a much better position to examine the actual trial evidence elicited.
The Willingham trial has become a sort of cause celebre by anti-death penalty proponents because it seems to be an example of outmoded scientific techniques which led to a miscarriage of justice. In fact, the trial testimony you reported in 1991 contains overwhelming evidence of guilt completely independent of the undeniably flawed forensic report.
Always omitted from any examination of the actual trial are the following facts:
1. The event which caused the three childrens' deaths was the third attempt by Todd Willingham to kill his children established by the evidence. He had attempted to abort both pregnancies by vicious attacks on his wife in which he beat and kicked his wife with the specific intent to trigger miscarriages;
2. The “well-established burns” suffered by Willingham were so superficial as to suggest that the same were self-inflicted in an attempt to divert suspicion from himself;
3. Blood-gas analysis at Navarro Regional Hospital shortly after the homicide revealed that Willingham had not inhaled any smoke, contrary to his statement which detailed “rescue attempts;”
4. Consistent with typical Navarro County death penalty practice, Willingham was offered the opportunity to eliminate himself as a suspect by polygraph examination. Such opportunity was rejected in the most vulgar and insulting manner;
5. Willingham was a serial wife abuser, both physically and emotionally. His violent nature was further established by evidence of his vicious attacks on animals which is common to violent sociopaths;
6. Witness statements established that Willingham was overheard whispering to his deceased older daughter at the funeral home, “You're not the one who was supposed to die.” (The origin of the fire occured in the infant twins bedroom) and;
7. Any escape or rescue route from the burning house was blocked by a refrigerator which had been pushed against the back door, requring any person attempting escape to run through the conflagration at the front of the house.
Co-counsel Alan Bristol and I offered Willingham the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty in return for a sentence of life imprisonment. Such offer was rejected in an obscene and potentially violent confrontation with his defense counsel.
The Willingham case was charged as a multiple child murder, and not an arson-murder to achieve capital status. I am convinced that in the absence of any arson testimony, the outcome of the trial would have been unchanged, a fact that did not escape the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. While anti-death penalty advocates can muster some remarkably good arguments, Todd Willingham should not be anyone's poster child.
Submitted by John H. Jackson, Sr. Judge, 13th Judicial District. Jackson was one of the prosecutors for Navarro County in the Cameron Todd Willingham case.
AUSTIN – Following Gov. Rick Perry’s appointment of Appellate Justice Eva M. Guzman of Cypress as the first Hispanic female to serve on the Supreme Court of Texas, the following individuals and leaders from around the state have commented on this historic appointment:
“I was proud to support the appointment of Eva Guzman to the Texas Supreme Court. Governor Perry has elevated a conservative jurist with outstanding credentials whose achievements should inspire all Texans.”
-Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick
“With more than 10 years of experience and a strong record in both trial and appellate courts, Justice Guzman is highly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court of Texas. Her outstanding credentials and strong conservative values make her one of Texas’ brightest stars, and I am confident that she will bring a unique perspective to the bench as the first Hispanic female to serve on the court.”
-Texas State Sen. Glenn Hegar
JoanHuffman“I am very pleased by the governor’s appointment today of Justice Eva Guzman to the Texas Supreme Court. I have known Judge Guzman for many years, and am inspired by her life’s story. I commend her dedicated service to the Texas judicial system and the citizens of Texas.”
-State Sen. Joan Huffman
“I congratulate Justice Guzman on this historic appointment, and I am confident that her service to the state of Texas will encourage young Latinas to pursue opportunities to serve our beloved state with great pride and distinction as well.”
-Hope Andrade, Texas Secretary of State
OrlandoSanchezHarrisCountyTreasurer1“I’ve known Eva for many years and am incredibly proud of her accomplishments and proud of Gov. Perry’s decision to appoint her to the Texas Supreme Court. She is an honorable woman, a tremendous public servant, and will continue to selflessly serve the people of Texas moving forward.”
-Orlando Sanchez, Harris County Treasurer
“For more than a decade, Justice Guzman has brought strong values and solid convictions to the Texas judiciary. We are proud of Gov. Perry’s historic decision to appoint Eva to the Texas Supreme Court, and look forward to her ongoing service to our state and the people of Texas.”
-Carol Sims, Texas Civil Justice League Vice President
“Today’s appointment is an incredible success for Texans and a landmark achievement for the Hispanic community. Justice Guzman’s strong record of public service has earned her a position of respect and trust among her peers and her ongoing public service will keep Texas on the right track as she joins our state’s Supreme Court. Gov. Perry’s decision to appoint her proves his ongoing commitments to the Hispanic community and serves to remind Texans that we are all headed in the same direction with the common goal of keeping our state strong and prosperous well into the future.”
-Rolando Pablos, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Chairman
Last year, legislators set aside more than $147 million to be used for the rewards. More than 200 Texas school districts, including Waco ISD, volunteered for the program and then applied for the grants.
At least 60 percent of the state’s grant dollars are going to teachers, and 40 percent of the money must be used for things like recruitment and retention of teachers and master teachers and incentives to principals and other school staff who increase student performance.
In Waco ISD, 102 teach- ers received individual awards, and 13 campuses got money, which will be distributed to a total of 598 staff members.
...average math TAKS score went from 2,265 to 2,406. The average reading score climbed from 2,144 to 2,259.
Gov. Rick Perry, who came to Waco’s Cesar Chavez Middle School last year to speak about the DATE grants, said that they, along with the Texas Educator Excellence Grants program, represent the largest investment in teacher incentives of any state in the entire nation.
WASHINGTON – Gov. Rick Perry has hammered Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison time and again as a Washington-style big spender. He decries the $2.6 billion that she slipped "secretly" into the last two annual budgets.
But he doesn't know the half of it.
By Hutchison's own accounting, she has steered $8.7 billion to Texas in the last five years. And as Congress finalizes the 2010 budget, the haul will probably exceed $10 billion – a staggering sum that has never been tallied before. It ranks her among the most successful earmarkers in congressional history.
How that plays in the GOP gubernatorial primary will hinge on whether voters buy Perry's argument – that earmarks drive up deficits and reflect a culture of unbridled spending – or Hutchison's view that she deserves kudos, not insults, for taking care of the state's universities, transit systems, hospitals and cities.
"I just get constant jabbing from the governor. Why wouldn't I fight for Texas?" Hutchison said. "I'm proud of my effectiveness. To be hit for being effective for Texas is puzzling."
Earmarks refer to programs that aren't competitively bid. Critics say they sap funding from higher priority projects and invite abuse.
Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner called $10 billion "an extreme amount of money."
"It shows no restraint when it comes to spending. She's made a career based on earmarks, but when you're governor of Texas, you have to balance a budget," he said. "You have to prioritize."
At Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based watchdog group that tracks and criticizes budget "pork," president Tom Schatz said that – using Hutchison's figures – she accounts for one of every 12 earmark dollars since 2005.
The group has identified $17.2 billion in earmarks in this year's budget and $106.3 billion over the last five years.
With 535 senators and House members, Hutchison's take is "an extraordinarily large percentage," Schatz said, adding that he's surprised a politician would be so unabashed about it. "Taxpayers are making their views quite well known about all of the overspending in Washington. Candidates in both parties would want to portray themselves as fiscally prudent and conservative."
Defenders of the congressional prerogative to direct some spending, without regard to pre-set formulas or priorities set by government agencies, say the "power of the purse" granted Congress by the Constitution would be meaningless if bureaucrats made all the decisions.
Like many lawmakers – especially those with coveted slots on the appropriations committees that control billions each year – Hutchison routinely issues news releases boasting of projects she has funded for folks back home. On Tuesday, for instance, she touted $3 million for a University of North Texas engineering institute to simulate construction of military aircraft and $2 million to help engineers at Southern Methodist University develop cameras tiny enough for soldiers to wear into battle.
Hutchison argues that if she hadn't secured the funds, lawmakers from other states would have. Congress had already agreed to spend the money; it was just a matter of how the pie would be divided.
"I don't force agencies to spend money that they don't want to spend," she said.
Until the last two years, Congress didn't require members to attach their names to individual spending requests, making it difficult to attach a name to a project in many cases. At Hutchison's instruction, her aides went back several years to provide The Dallas Morning News a far more thorough accounting than would have been possible otherwise.
Earmarks account for a tiny fraction of the $3.6 trillion budget.
And Hutchison's take pales beside those of legendary earmarkers such as Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, whose "bridge to nowhere" became an emblem of waste.
Fiscal watchdogs don't consider earmarks innocuous. The Houston Ship Channel may well need dredging, Schatz argued – Hutchison has secured tens of millions to protect the area's economic engine – but there are also ports in New York, New Orleans, Baltimore, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Miami that have needs.
"It may be valuable to the state, but it's a national government," Schatz said.
During Hutchison's 16 years in the Senate, a few of her earmarks have drawn special attention from fiscal watchdog groups as especially egregious examples of pork.
She has caught flak for a $2 million visitors center at the Palo Alto Battlefield in Brownsville; $200,000 for a Temple performing arts center; $200,000 to renovate Nacogdoches' historic Fredonia Hotel; and $400,000 for the Women's Museum in Dallas.
Some fellow Republicans have grumbled at the $6.8 million she has guided in the last four years to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin.
Even some of the military construction has drawn criticism.
In 2003, Schatz's group said Hutchison had "fought like Davy Crockett" and other Alamo defenders for low-priority items like a $13.6 million fitness center at Randolph Air Force Base and an $8.7 million child development center at Lackland Air Force Base.
The senator is the senior Republican on the appropriations committee than handles military construction. So about 75 percent of the Hutchison earmarks have gone to military installations in Texas – a target range here, new barracks there, runways, health clinics, day care centers.
Big chunks have also gone to dredge the port of Houston. She has found money to help Lufkin purchase buses and for research on anything from nanotechnology to the DNA of goats.
Senator defends use
Legislation that sets next year's federal spending includes another 162 items requested by Hutchison, worth $1.6 billion. Her requests range from $143,000 to study flooding at an El Paso colonia called Sparks Arroyo to $93 million for a new inspection station at one of that city's international bridges.
Dallas stands to get $39.4 million for the Trinity River project and $86 million to build Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Green Line.
Hutchison alleges a degree of hypocrisy on the governor's part. After all, he names university regents and leaders of state agencies, and each has sought and received funding through her efforts.
She insists that all of her earmarks have gone only to meritorious projects and can't be blamed for driving up federal spending because Congress sets a cap on how much it will spend each year in certain areas. Earmarks help decide how to divide that.
"The mayors come, and the county judges, and the chambers of commerce come here on annual visits. They tell me their priorities," Hutchison said. No area gets everything it wants, "but I do get their priorities. I don't set their priorities."
Houston judge Eva Guzman will be named today by Gov. Rick Perry to replace Scott Brister on the Texas Supreme Court.
Though the court has had several women and several Hispanic judges, Guzman, the daughter of immigrants, is the first Hispanic woman to take that bench.
Guzman sits on the Houston-based Texas 14th Court of Appeals. Perry made her the first Hispanic woman on that court in 2001. She was elected to the bench in 2002 and 2004. Her opinions have been on a range of topics, and she writes often for the court on family law issues.
She is also a former Harris County Family Court judge, appointed in 1999 by then-Gov. George W. Bush and elected to the position subsequently.
Guzman earned her law degree from South Texas College of Law in 1989 and practiced family and civil law for 10 years before taking the bench.
She was born in Chicago but grew up in Houston. Guzman is the fourth of seven children and the daughter of Mexican immigrants with only some elementary school education. Her mother worked mostly as a cleaning woman.
An adjunct faculty member of the University of Houston Law Center, Guzman has received good marks in judicial polls and is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a former board member of the Garland Walker American Inns of Court.
Guzman is married to a Houston police sergeant and the two often make society columns for appearances at charity events. Guzman was named one of Houston's best dressed women in 2003 as well.
The Hispanic National Bar Association named Guzman “Latina Judge of the Year” and the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas Foundation awarded her the “2009 Judge of the Year” award.
Law enforcement organizations, P.O.L.I.C.E. Inc. and Houston Police Officers Union, have previously named her “Appellate Judge of the Year.”
Guzman, who has a bachelor's degree from the University of Houston, has served boards for the Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates, The Escape Center, Wesley Community Center, The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Houston and the Greater Houston Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Perry can now appoint someone to take over her intermediate appellate court bench. Her term there expires in 2010.
Brister, also a former Houston-area judge, resigned from the high court in September to return to private practice.
“For years now, we have spent more money than we have taken in. You can't spend more than you earn. It is a very unbusinesslike approach to running things.”
- Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Houston Chronicle, March 11, 2010
Bill White Hiding His Taxes and Denying His Trial Lawyer Background
Former Houston Mayor Bill White continues to refuse to release his tax returns, but the truth about the first part of his hidden fortune is already public knowledge: he got rich as a trial lawyer.
“Bill White is trying to prevent the public from learning the truth about his multi-million dollar fortune, but no matter how long he hides his taxes, the fact remains that he first became rich as a trial lawyer,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner.
Statement from Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner:
“Bill White has a tax problem – he won’t rule out raising taxes for Texans and refuses to release his own tax returns. His opposition to transparency raises questions about what he is afraid of and what he is hiding regarding his own personal fortune and how he may have profited during his six years as Houston’s mayor.”
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of the Automotive Parts and Services Association for re-election in 2010.
“The Automotive Parts and Services Association (APSA) is pleased to announce our endorsement of Rick Perry for the office of governor of the state of Texas,” said Jim Quinten, president of APSA. “Governor Perry has steadfastly fought for an environment supportive of small and independent businesses. Through his actions to bring meaningful tort reform, proactive economic development, job creation and conservative fiscal management, Texas has remained the number one business climate in the nation. The automotive aftermarket here continues to thrive due to the governor’s leadership.”
The Automotive Parts and Services Association was founded in 1932 as the Automotive Wholesalers of Texas. APSA serves over 600 Texas members with approximately 1200 locations throughout the state. Members include independent auto parts retailers, machine shops, engine rebuilders, paint stores, service and collision repair shops. APSA members average eight employees per location.
“I am honored to have the endorsement of the Automotive Parts and Services Association,” said Gov. Perry. “Small business owners are the backbone of the Texas economy. I look forward to continuing our work together to keep the tax burden low and a predictable regulatory climate available for those who continue to risk their capital in the Lone Star State.”
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of the Texas Travel Industry Association for re-election in 2010.
“Here in Texas, we are fortunate to know that we live in a state that is the envy of the nation,” said David Dunham, Chairman of the Texas Travel Industry Association’s Legislative Affairs Committee. “Not only do our citizens recognize how fortunate we are because of low taxes and opportunity, but people from across the world are rushing to visit Texas and see what our greatness is all about. From promoting our film industry to attracting the Super Bowl, from business development to maintaining public safety, Gov. Perry has been on the forefront of making Texas a premier, global travel destination. The Texas Travel Industry Association passionately supports Gov. Perry for re-election.”
The Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) is a nonprofit organization made up of over 800 businesses, organizations, associations and individuals dedicated to developing Texas tourism to its fullest potential. TTIA and its members work together to meet this goal in several ways: by building a strong, on-going program of work to support tourism initiatives across the state; by linking with affiliated groups to assist in their tourism activities; and by charting a course for the future of the tourism industry to ensure its preeminence as a powerful, positive force. TTIA's purpose is to help ensure the most effective tourism program possible, by complementing and maximizing the results of promotional efforts of private businesses, city and regional organizations and the State of Texas.
“It’s no secret that people vote with their feet when they come to Texas,” said Gov. Perry. “We are committed to keeping Texas a top destination for tourists and ensuring our travel industry continues to excel by highlighting what our great state has to offer.”