In these tough economic times for our nation, it is important to acknowledge that ideas still matter. It is not arbitrary that Texas has an unemployment rate nearly 2% below the national rate, or that California's unemployment rate is roughly 4% higher than it is in Texas. Our state didn't create more jobs in 2008 than the other 49 states combined by accident. It is no fluke that Texas is the #1 exporting state in the nation for several years running.
On Fox Business News, Governor Perry spoke at length with host David Asman about the relative economic and fiscal strength of Texas, even in these tough times. Governor Perry reiterated his five keys to success, including:
1. Don't spend all the money.
2. Keep the taxes low.
3. Make sure the regulatory climate is fair and predictable.
4. Tort reform to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
5. Fund an accountable education system to produce a skilled workforce.
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.
WASHINGTON—Health care reform may be Priority No. 1 in Congress and at the White House, but for the 1,825 religious conservatives who gathered for the annual Values Voter Summit, the subject was barely on their radar screen.
“To me, there are so many more important issues than health care right now,” said John Leaman, a retired yacht builder from Lancaster, Pa. Added his wife Linda, a waitress: “I don’t think it’s as urgent as Obama’s making it out to be.” The real problem, she said, is illegal immigrants “cluttering up our emergency rooms.”
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, speaks with Esther Fleece, director of Millennial Studies, at the 2009 Values Voter Summit in Washington. Health care reform was largely absent from the agenda and was not a factor in voters’ choices in a straw poll of possible 2012 GOP presidential candidates. (RNS PHOTO/Nick Kirkpatrick)
Indeed, among the dozen issues that summit participants cited in casting their votes in a straw poll for possible 2012 Republican presidential candidates, health care never made the list. The top three issues were abortion, protecting religious liberty and opposing same-sex marriage.
“It’s up to us to help each other; it’s not the government’s job to take care of us,” said Texan Karen Marsalis, a retired teacher from Deadwood, whose shirt, like her husband’s, featured stars and stripes and images of the Statue of Liberty.
Just days before the summit got underway, a report by the University of Akron and the liberal-leaning group Public Religion Research found that conservative and progressive activists don’t just disagree on hot-button issues on the public agenda, they can’t agree on the agenda itself.
Conservative activists—typified by the “values voters” who rallied in Washington— picked abortion (83 percent) and same-sex marriage (65 percent) as their top two issues; just 6 percent cited health care. Progressives, meanwhile, cited poverty (74 percent) and health care (67 percent).
The only organized attention that health care received at the two-day summit was a panel discussion on “ObamaCare: Rationing Your Life Away.”
Participants booed at any mention of “Obamacare,” and cheered Texas Gov. Rick Perry when he decried a government that “has its hands too far in our pockets and its nose too deep in our business.”
Many participants drew a distinction between access to health care and health care reform. Anyone who needs treatment, they said, can get the care they need. How they pay for it is their problem, no one else’s.
“Personal responsibility is not something people want to do anymore,” said Debbie Michael of Mount Airy, Md. “We expect the government to do it all.”
Still, some at the summit said there is room for improvement. Lorie Watson, a nurse from Simpsonville, S.C., works for an insurance company administrating third-party claims and worries about the high costs of drugs and tests. She said Washington could have “a limited role in reform, but not in providing health care.”
Gov. Rick Perry stopped at the coffee shop area in the Market Street at 50th and Indiana shortly after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Nearly 200 people waited to show their support for Perry who wants to stay Texas governor for a third term.
"People are going to decide by virtue of the policies we put in place. I've always been a believer in public policy makes good politics," says Perry. But Perry has some competition. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced earlier this month she wanted to be the republican on the 2010 gubernatorial ballot.
Yesterday afternoon, Governor Perry went on the radio with Senator Dan Patrick, who was filling in for Lou Dobbs on his national radio program.
You can listen to the entire 12-minute segment here:
Governor Perry with Dan Patrick
The two discussed how Washington should follow the Texas model, not the other way around, addressing issues like Obamacare and the town halls, how to attract business, and the real meaning of the United States Constitution's 10th Amendment.
As our first lady - or as I often refer to my wife, Anita, our "first nurse" (she received her nursing degree from West Texas State University) - will tell you, nursing is a fantastic and vastly rewarding career that touches almost every family in Texas, and many candidates are eager to undergo the education necessary to join their ranks.
Yet Texas faces a continued shortage of nurses that will get worse without additional, decisive action.
What's the problem? Most pressing is a continuing demand for instructors at nursing schools. In 2008, Texas schools of nursing had to turn away 42 percent of interested, qualified applicants. That's close to 9,000 capable Texans sitting on the sidelines instead of getting the training they need to start easing the burden on strained staffs and ailing patients.
Nursing schools say they'll need 265 full-time and 159 part-time faculty members, along with 93 clinical assistants, to increase enrollment by 20 percent. And all this is unfolding amidst reports that demand for nurses is expected to increase by 86 percent by 2020.
Fortunately, Texas isn't the kind of state that waits around for someone else to solve our problems. Eight years ago we began taking deliberate steps to alleviate the worst of this crisis by creating the Professional Nursing Shortage Reduction Program and the Nursing Innovation Grant Program. In 2007, the Hospital-Based Nursing Education Partnership Grant Program was established to expand the state's education capacity through partnerships between academic institutions and hospitals.
Over the years, these programs have combined to make a significant difference. In fact, in 2008, Texas nursing schools produced 7,689 new registered nurses, representing a 69.7 percent increase over the number of nurses who graduated in 2001.
We're improving, but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels in the face of an aging population and nursing schools that struggle to find and fund sufficient faculty.
The number of doctors applying to practice medicine in Texas has skyrocketed by 57 percent. In 2008, the Texas Medical Board received 4,023 licensure applications and issued a record 3,621 new licenses.
In all, in just the first five years after reforms passed, 14,498 doctors either returned to practice in Texas or began practicing here for the first time.
And our reforms finally brought critical specialties to underserved areas. The number of obstetricians practicing in rural Texas is up by 27 percent, and 12 counties that previously had no obstetricians now have at least one. The statistics show major gains in fields like orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, neurosurgery and emergency medicine.
The Rio Grande Valley has seen an 18 percent growth in applications to practice medicine, adding about 200 doctors to this critically underserved area.
And what about the money that used to go to defending all those frivolous lawsuits? You can find it in budgets for upgraded equipment, expanded emergency rooms, patient safety programs and improved primary and charity care.
Principled, conservative leadership involves more than having an 'R' by your name, and successful policymaking is about more than incessantly sloganeering about results, not politics without any meaningful results to show for yourself. Leadership is about tackling difficult problems and standing up to entrenched special interests, even when it means you face a backlash for doing what is right. Being an effective Governor and advancing important reforms does not happen by treating the job as a popularity contest.
As Teddy Roosevelt famously said, "credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..."
Achieving tort reform in Texas was not a walk in the park, and it wouldn't have happened without the dedication of many individuals and organizations-- including Governor Perry-- comprising a determined conservative movement, who put themselves in the arena and achieved real results. Tort reform in Texas is one of America's great policy success stories over the past decade, and it's hard to deny those kind of results.