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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

DeLay shows for Candidate Forum - Need for a Real Debate

Since 2000, I have seen Mr. DeLay appear at a candidate forum a total of three times - once when I filed in 2000, once at the Clear Lake debate in 2004 -- and last Tuesday in Ft Bend at a chamber forum. It means he smells trouble in the Bayou City. Polls say that if the election were held today, he’d lose to the Democrat.

The trouble with a candidate forum is that everyone says how wonderful we each are in 2 minutes and there is little the public gets about where we are on the issues and our vision for the future. All I recall DeLay saying in his 2 minutes was how much he hated Democrats. That is a thin platformto stand on. I didn’t hear his vision for dealing with border security, runway spending, $18 billion in pork barrel earmarks, etc.
This election needs to be about our candidates’ vision for the future. Only a real debate between us before March 7 will give the public that knowledge. All the public is getting now is signs, mailings and emails saying how wonderful we each are. That is ok but not really useful to the public.

For example, if I had been in Congress the last six years, we would have already finished the Ft Bend commuter rail extension from Rosenberg to the southern terminus of Houston’s rail line. That would take 50,000 cars off the road as people went to the Medical Center and downtown. On weekends Houstonians could enjoy “day trips” at the antique shops and restaurants in historic downtown Rosenberg and Richmond. It would boost the economy and give Houston another part of history to enjoy. I’ve fought for this improvement since running for this seat in 2000.

In those six years I did not see the other two challengers out there fighting for it. They were making the big bucks certainly, and they can use them in this race, while I was out there taking a pay cut by running for office to fight for better transportation and other services for the district at a time when DeLay was diverting hundreds of millions of our federal dollars to other cities. And it took these new candidates to 2006 to get riled up about these things?

I’ve been fighting for the vets all these years as well. One vet told me how he heard Mr DeLay claim he'd close every VA hospital in the country if it were up to him. I disagree with that view. I would have voted for the vets instead of voting down $50 million for prosthesis research for our veterans returning from Iraq with missing arms and legs, as DeLay did recently. I would have voted for the vets and against the bridge to nowhere. He did the opposite.

On the teacher front, I was with them in 2004 when they got hammered on their pensions by Mr. DeLay. I would reverse what he did to teachers. By cutting their pensions he cost us to lose years of talent and our best and brightest, who were forced to retire early. I was out there with the teachers in 2004 as a candidate, fighting for them. Where were my competitors?

The public needs to know this. One lady said to me yesterday: “This is one of the most important elections of our time.” She’s right.

So why not serve the public by having a debate to talk about all these things that will impact all of us? What do YOU think?

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