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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King -- message for the world

Remembering Coretta Scott King

We have lost another visionary leader. Many people do not know that Coretta Scott King was the strength and encourage behind Martin Luther King’s message of social change by non-violence. She often filled in at speeches when he could not be there.

As a child she had to walk five miles to school -- while white kids passed by riding in buses. How could an American society treat people so differently? We must not let it happen again. The world will miss her drive for justice and activism for equal rights for all people. That is what this country is about.

On TV this morning I saw Sen. Frist announce that a Museum of African American history will be built in the Washington mall. I endorse this long overdue project.

We really need to apply MLK’s message on a global scale – social change without violence and terrorism.

Compare Al Qaida’s bombings and kidnappings to what MLK achieved with only the sound of his voice, when he declared people judge others “by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.” Our own peace corps and Habitat for Humanity have built far more goodwill worldwide than any weapon we have produced or used.

In my travels in over 50 countries I have learned that no one has a monopoly on good or bad. I have seen mostly good, and some bad, in all places.

That is the message we should remember on his sad day with the loss of Coretta Scott King.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Remembering Challenger

Remembering Challenger

It was 20 years ago that Challenger blew up in 1986. I still remember it as vividly as I recall what I was doing when President Kennedy was shot and on the day of 9 11. I sat in front of the TV nearly all day, watching it, hoping all of them somehow escaped in the crew module, knowing it wasn't likely.

At the Bay Area GOP candidate forum a few nights ago I heard the incumbent’s representative say how DeLay had “saved” NASA by adding $1.1 billion to its budget recently. What he didn’t say was that it was DeLay who has continually cut NASA’s budget over the years, usually right after beating me in a primary. Is that commitment?

Do you want to trust him again?

Funding for NASA in the budget is NOT going up – for the next 5 years it will be flat. Any Congress rep can manage to do that. Twenty five years ago I went to China on pollution control technology negotiations and was nearly run down by millions of bicycles. Now, even China has put people in space and preparing its own space missions. India, Japan and others are not far behind. Meanwhile, our astronauts wait years for a mission. What a sad waste of valuable, high tech talent. They should be flying not waiting.

We can do better to honor our fallen space heroes. Our Congress has done little to give our space program a replacement Shuttle before the old ones failed. Our astronaut's have not been getting the funds needed to be a space pioneer as the world’ largest superpower. Barbara Morgan, our backup "teacher in space" has had to wait 20 years since Challenger's loss.

At the present rate, others will pass our achievements unless Congress energizes NASA and encourages private space entrepreneurs. These losses could have been avoided with a little vision in Congress, etc.

In memory of the astronauts lost on Challenger and Columbia, I think we can do much better. As a pilot and space enthusiast for decades, I will make it a key focus if elected to represent District 22.

How? I’d cut all of the $13 billion in pork projects such as the “bridge to nowhere” and transfer at least half of it to NASA and other programs we need.

NASA is too important to be left struggling with minimal budgets in the 21st Century. It is a key asset in District 22 and deserves far better than it has fared the last 20 years under the incumbent.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bulgaria MP's and a Buzz of District Voters

Yesterday the whole day was a whirl of handshaking and meeting the voters of District 22. The Bay Area Transportation Group was buzzing with smiling faces for breakfast. What a great, passionate group of proactive and concerned citizens!
In the afternoon I met with a delegation of newly elected Parliament members from Bulgaria - who are here to see how U.S. democracy works. I introduced them to historic Richmond with its old world charm. While Bulgaria has been free of communist rule for quite some time, these delegates were from the Parliament just formed in May 2005. They have at least a dozen parties to our two primary parties. All but one of the new Bulgarian Congress are women - there was only one man in the group today. All of them seemed very intelligent and dedicated. We discussed the need for economic development in Bulgaria and discussed the potential for tourism, high tech, and the need for health care workers for their aging population. Naturally, they were curious about elected officials, indictments, and what to expect from recent scandals. However, question closest to their hearts was about the international kidnapping > negotiations I was involved in the Middle East. It turns out Bulgaria has 6 people being held in Libya. I offered what comfort and insight I could and promised to help in any way possible. Their democracy seems vibrant, young at heart, and refreshingly idealistic. Sometimes it is hard to keep hope alive in a democracy. The Bulgarian delegates’ enthusiasm was contagious. I shall carry it with me for some time. I was proud to represent Texas and District 22 in such a positive light. You can be sure we made a good impression and bolstered our international relations with this coalition partner. The IIE does such a fantastic job of arranging these visits. This is truly growing democracy around the world.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Sharon and the Future of the Middle East

The news about Israel's Prime Minister Sharon having a major stroke could not come at a more delicate time.

Sharon has been the guiding figure in a major transformation in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Without him, the future of the Middle East peace process is uncertain at best. Now, even Palestinians worry about the future without Mr. Sharon, as broadcast on Houston TV last night.

We hope that his legacy will carry through the peace process if he is unable to return to work. I have spent time in the Middle East since I was a young negotiator in the late 1970's. I was in Cairo, Egypt, in 1979 when the first visit by an American President established the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country (Egypt). In fact, my room was used for the Presidential delegation (I went to private home). I was privileged to give up my residence for such a historic event.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Sharon, the Middle East, and the world. All of whom deserve peace and stability.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Face Time

I am always surprised when I am the only candidate to show up at a GOP event. I guess everyone else is too busy to meet with local leadership. For me, keeping in touch with the people is best done face to face.

Last night I went to the Harris County GOP party for the close of nominations and the Galveston County GOP party. I saw none of the other three candidates.

Someone said that the incumbent had sent a “representative” to Galveston, apparently not willing to go himself. Personally, I Galveston even more last night when I saw their BBQ table – all Harris County served was fancy cheese and crackers.

People I met are concerned about cronyism and the image of the party

Today I was the only GOP Congress candidate who bothered to turn up at the City of Houston swearing in ceremony for Houston’s first woman-majority council that is about equally split between GOP and Democrats.

But I did bump into Democrat Rep. Al Green --as I was going up the line shaking hands with the new council, I noticed that he was coming down the line from the other end. We met in the middle. Then we both kept going. It was good for a laugh.

We need a return to the bipartisan working relationship to resolve community problems and issues that Judge Eckels and Mayor White demonstrated as true leaders during Katrina…