Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why I'm supporting Dr. Alma Aguado for Texas governor

Many of my Texas Progressive Alliance colleagues are behind the presumptive nominee, but I am not. I have previously stated my reasons for not supporting Bill White in the primary; if you need to be reminded why I am not, you can go here, here, and here. Ultimately it comes down to my clear understanding that Bill White simply doesn't steadfastly represent anything that I believe important, outside of defeating Rick Perry and cleaning up Houston's air a bit.

Ted also states some of the best reasons for voting for someone else in the Democratic primary. White just isn't representative of what we feel a Democratic candidate should be. He's much too close for my comfort to being a moderate Republican -- here, take the quiz and see for yourself.

I also took a long look at Farouk Shami, who pays for the ad at the top right corner here. While being a successful businessman and displaying what I initially considered a somewhat endearing personality, Shami has -- to put it mildly -- exhibited a remarkable, even amazing, lack of political acumen.

So my attention turned to the group of people that the Texas Tribune referred to as The Unmentionables. And what I found was a true progressive candidate. A San Antonio physician, single mother, and amateur artist who was born into abject poverty in Mexico, Dr. Alma Aguado understands the inexorable trends in Texas. She has a sharp focus on the neglect of the welfare of children, but the acute and critical nature of that neglect on Hispanic children. Here's a brief excerpt from her introduction (I've taken the liberty of fixing some of the troublesome syntax, for clarity's sake):

In the year 2000 under Republican administration, Medicaid and CHIP funds were redirected favoring the Texas Enterprise Fund. In the year 2005 Medicaid and CHIP funds were restored only to have funds diverted towards the $200 million Emerging Technology Fund. In 2009 we have a total of 1.5 million uninsured children in Texas.

The state's own Comptroller of Public Accounts points out that from the 1984-1985 state budget through 2000-2001, the state increased real public safety and corrections spending by 258 percent, but increased real public and higher education spending by only 82 and 39 percent respectively. In 2007, 28 percent of the (Texas) adult population has no high school diploma. Texas only spends $6.8 million for adult education, as opposed to Florida which spends $277 million. Due to budgeting decisions in the best interest of corporate welfare, we now have an uneducated unskilled workforce ... this is what I call "backward vision".

Go on, read for yourself. Read also her very comprehensive stance on the other issues beyond health care and education.

To paraphrase Michael J. Fox's character in The American President, people -- in this case Texas Democrats -- want a winner, and "they're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

Bill White looks like a winner to Texas Democrats because they are mighty thirsty these days. I do not discount the premise that White could very possibly win. But I believe that will occur only if White executes a flawless campaign strategy from March (or April, if he's in a run-off) to November and gets a little help from a circumstance or two outside of his control that knocks Rick Perry down a few notches.

I'll happily support Bill Caucasian Milquetoast White in the general election as the Democratic nominee for governor of Texas. But in the primary, it's about democratic and progressive principles. Dr. Alma Aguado has them.

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