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Political Report

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The Legislative Report
By SHEILAH PEPPER
The Gazette Staff
Austin: The Republican primary contest for the governorship has focused primarily on the best well-known candidates, long-time Gov. Rick Perry and the senior U.S. Senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison.
But there is a little known candidate, Debra Medina. She is an outspoken GOP activist with strong libertarian views. She is a registered nurse from Wharton, Texas, which is just south of Houston and has home-schooled two children.
She wants to abolish property taxes and replace them with an expanded sales tax. Like the governor, the federal government has been her favorite target. She believes Washington is encroaching too much into citizens' lives and is overstepping its constitutional limits on spending, health care, and the environment. She said she would defend Texas "sovereignty" by fighting the Feds with executive orders and legal action.
Medina tends to go after Gov. Perry on several issues rather than Sen. Hutchison.
Polls have shown Medina to be in the single digits, but her recent appearance in the television debate may help her out.
Meanwhile, Gov. Perry continued his push against Washington. He proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to require Congress to balance the federal budget. On January 7th, Perry said federal spending is out of control, and unless it is reined in, it will ruin the country.
Additionally, in an appearance earlier this month, Perry made some proposals that would make it more difficult for the Texas Legislature to raise taxes and would put limits of how much state spending could grow.
Some insiders are scratching their heads at a TV ad run by Senator Hutchison's campaign. The ad ran during the BCS championship game between Texas and Alabama.. It focused on Gov. Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor proposal for a network of toll roads and heavy traffic transportation across the state. However, the Governor shelved the project, for the time being, after facing opposition in 2007. So people are wondering if this was the right message at the right time.
A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released in November asked, "What would you say is the most important problem facing the state of Texas today?"
The four top answers were: Immigration, 19 percent; unemployment/jobs, 15 percent; the economy, 13 percent; and border security, 13 percent. Next on the list were health care, political corruption/leadership; crime/drugs, and education.
The percentage of people who said "transportation" was one percent.
The restoration of the Texas Governor's Mansion appears to be moving forward. Under the direction of the Texas Historical Commission, the Preservation Board will likely seek permits by the end of this month for plans it has in hand.
In Addition to restoring the original space, the plan calls for a 3,000 square-foot addition and garden/landscape improvements.
Lawmakers appropriated $22 million last year to restore the mansion. Another $4 million has been privately raised to fund the addition, plus the landscaping work and other improvements.
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 January 2010 00:29