Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gammage files for Governor

As of this morning, the Texas Democratic Party will have a legitimately contested gubernatorial primary in March:

Bob Gammage today filed paperwork with the Texas Democratic Party, officially becoming a candidate for Texas Governor. Below is the text of his of his remarks.

“Good morning. Thank you all for coming. In the weeks to come we will have a formal announcement that addresses specific issues and goals. Today I will just make a brief statement about why I am running.

“This campaign is about reform. It is about opening state policy-making to public scrutiny. It is about restoring the public trust.

“When I first entered public life as a newly minted freshman member of the Texas House some years ago, the people of Texas faced a crisis of political corruption. Our lawmaking process and our entire state government were dominated by an authoritarian system, controlled by lobbyists, special interests and power elites who ran rampant in our halls of government, and who ran roughshod over the public interest. I soon became a proud member of the Dirty 30 - a bipartisan group of 19 Democrats and 11 Republicans in the Texas House - who stood up to the power brokers and, with the help of an outraged citizenry, beat that corrupt political machine.

“Today, unfortunately, our state government has come full circle. Once again we desperately need the citizens of Texas to take charge of their state government.

“Today there is a corrupt political machine which stretches from Washington, D.C. all the way to Austin. Tom DeLay and his cronies are at one end, and Rick Perry and his pals are at the other. The money flows both ways. It has corrupted our politics, corrupted our government and, more importantly, corrupted public policy and betrayed the public trust.

“Public office is a public trust. I am running against today's corrupt political machine. I am standing up for reform. I am determined to do everything in my power to restore the public trust and the integrity of the political system. Sometimes good citizenship requires you to put your personal interests aside and just do what's right.

“In an ideal world, the governor of Texas should denounce the shenanigans of Tom DeLay and his twisted, unethical schemes. But Rick Perry is too weak and too dependent on the wealthy, powerful and ruthless special interests that both he and DeLay work for.

“The sad truth is that bad values and weak character at the top produce bad policies for the rest of us. We've seen it time and again -- a leadership that preaches character and commonly held values while practicing neither. On virtually every important issue - funding our public schools, the tax burden on middle-income families, health care for our children, preserving our environment, funding for our public colleges and universities, and how we choose our elected officials -- the men at the top do not fight for the common good, but for the privileged power elite who bankroll their campaigns and keep their machine rolling.

Let's hope for the sake of ridding ourselves of Rick Perry that this doesn't turn into an expensive knockdown dragout that weakens our eventual nominee. Gammage sounds capable of taking the fight to the GOP, and he offers a clear choice between old guard and New Mainstream.

To be clear: if Gammage wins the primary in March I'll gladly support him.

But I'll support my former Congressman and friend Chris Bell in the primary, and I'm still waiting for Bob -- or anyone else -- to answer some questions for me.

Update (12/16) : Yesterday morning, I e-mailed the Gammage campaign the questions I asked in the blog post linked immediately above, and last night I attended the Harris County Democratic Party holiday party, where Bob Gammage coincidentally was a late arrivee. As I made my way over to introduce myself, his associate John Effinger intercepted me and -- being familiar with my questions -- brushed them aside with a curt "There's nothing there".

Well John, in the holiday spirit I chose not to make our intial meeting confrontational, but that answer just won't wash.

I'll keep asking them, and it might be wise if you suggest that Bob consider answering them straight.

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