Republican governor candidates debate issues

Republican governor candidates debate issues

The three Republican candidates for Texas governor focused on immigration, property taxes and employment at the first of the Texas Debates on Thursday night at the Murchison Performing Arts Center at the University of North Texas.

But their discussions were not without bickering.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry repeatedly corrected each other, while Debra Medina, a registered nurse from Beeville, rolled her eyes at the two.

Hutchison criticized Perry for the financial instability in the state, and Perry criticized Hutchison for inconsistency in voting.

Perry repeatedly said Texas was “the best state in America,” appealing to the fact that the state was recently ranked the third-most efficient state in which to establish a small business.

“This state is growing by 1,000 people a day because we’re not overtaxing them or over-litigating them,” Perry said. “While America was losing three million jobs, we were gaining 100,000 (in 2007-2008).”

Hutchison said Perry’s claims were inconclusive in that they did not relate to 2009.

“We lost 300,000 jobs in Texas alone this year,” Hutchison said. “The governor talks about how good things are-, and yes, Texas is the best state in America, but it will not remain the best state in America if we don’t do something.”

Perry did not respond to Hutchison’s statistic.

Medina told Perry that Texas was not focusing enough on small business.

“We lost jobs in the private sector, Governor,” Hutchison said, adding that there were only 14,000 new jobs in the private sector compared to the 156,000 new government jobs.

Medina also said Texas needs to eliminate gun registration.

“We’ve had too many recent tragedies,” Medina said. “Anytime we have that kind of tragedy, the federal government’s answer is to disarm the people.”

When debate moderator Shelley Kofler, KERA news director, asked Medina if she carried her handgun to the grocery store, Medina smiled and said, “I abide by the law; I do not take my gun to the grocery store.”

Dave Montgomery, a Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter in the panel who interviewed the candidates, questioned Hutchison on her abortion views and pointed out that she had voted against overturning Roe v. Wade.

“My record is always coming down on the side of (pro) life,” Hutchison said. “If Roe v. Wade is overturned, there will be abortion havens.”

Perry continued to question Hutchison’s consistency in Washington, D.C., particularly regarding the bank bailout.

“You stood before the people of Texas and said that you wouldn’t vote for the bailout, but turned around and voted for it,” he said. “And months later, you voted for a $20 billion bailout for the automobile industry.”

But Hutchison was prepared for Perry’s claim.
“I never said I wouldn’t vote for the bailout. I said I would never give $700 billion to anyone,” Hutchison said. “And we didn’t do it; we worked to pay less, and I still didn’t like it. I said I didn’t like it because I didn’t like it.”

Medina said the state property tax be eliminated and sales tax be increased.