Diverse candidates make for more options
Abortion, illegal immigration and the state’s economy are just a few of the issues that will linger in voters’ heads while they decide who to vote for in Tuesday’s gubernatorial primaries.
Republican candidates Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Gov. Rick Perry and Debra Medina, along with Democrat candidates Bill White and Farouk Shami, stand on similar platforms for some of these issues, but on others they find themselves to be like repelling magnets.
During the Republican and Democratic televised debates during the beginning of the year, each candidate was asked about their stance on abortion.
“Life begins at conception and concludes at natural death,” Medina said on her campaign Web site. “Every human life is precious and I will work to protect innocent human life.”
During his time as governor, Perry has signed parental notification and consent laws, a ban making certain that tax dollars are not used to support abortion facilities and he is working to make the process of adoption easier in hopes that the number of abortions in Texas would decrease.
Hutchison is also an advocate of limiting abortion, despite not supporting the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
During the Republican debate, Hutchison defended her choice to not overturn the Supreme Court decision.
“If it is overturned, you are going to have abortion havens,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison also said her record shows she has consistently voted to ban partial-birth abortion.
“My record is one of always coming down on the side of life,” Hutchison said during the debate. “If I am governor of Texas, I will do everything I can to lower the number of abortions in this state and promote adoption.”
White and Shami both agree that abortion is a woman’s choice and that government law should not restrict such private matters.
“It’s important that we leave important life decisions to the citizens of this state,” White said during the Democratic debate. “I think what’s really important is to do what we can in this state to cut the rate of teen pregnancy.”
Hutchison and Shami are in favor of applying the E-Verify system to businesses, a program that quickly checks the legal status of employees.
“The state of Texas doesn’t even use the E-Verify system to determine if someone is legally in our country when they apply for a job,” Hutchison said during the debate. “If I’m governor of Texas we will.”
White said he believes that E-Verify is a good system, but he doesn’t think it is right to require businesses to use it.
“I don’t think a state should be creating mandates on what private employers should do,” White said during the debate.
He also said requiring a valid ID to vote would be a burden on voters.
“I don’t think we should impose a new burden on those people who exercise their right to vote,” White said during the debate.
During the Republican debate, Perry said the state should fine anyone who hires illegal immigrants.
“That is one of the quickest ways to stop illegals from coming into Texas,” Perry said.
On her campaign’s Web site, Medina said she wanted to deploy the Texas military force to the border.
Shami is the only candidate who has said the state should embrace immigrants from Mexico. He questioned why Texas tries to separate itself from Mexico when it relies on its neighboring country so heavily for numerous economic reasons.
“We should not have a wall between us and Mexico,” Shami said during the debate. “We should build bridges.”
He wants to work with officials on both sides to slow immigration and build friendship.
“Mexico is our best neighbor,” Shami said.
Another major issue that candidates are being forced to face is how they will solve the economic situation in the state of Texas. Each candidate has his or her own solution to save Texas from an economic downfall.
White said he plans to uplift the economy by providing jobs. His plan would be to train unemployed people to develop skills that are in high demand in order to provide individuals with more job opportunities.
During the debate, Shami laid out a similar plan, emphasizing his expertise in business. He said he would resign as governor and pay the state $10 million if he does not create 100,000 new jobs in Texas during his first two years in office.
“Creating jobs and growing business is my specialty,” Shami said. “When I’m governor, everybody is going to go to work.”
Perry, on the other hand, said the economy is flourishing.
“We lead the nation in the development of jobs,” Perry said during the debate. “The simple truth is Texas is the land of opportunity.”
On her campaign site, Hutchison said she would spend less, tax less and borrow less.
“We should start cutting across the board now,” Hutchison said during the debate. “We have to do a scrubbing of our budget, which frankly has not been done in the last 10 years.”
Medina is proposing to eliminate Texas property taxes altogether and replace them with a broad-based sales tax.
“We’ve had to tighten our belts as individuals, and the government must do the same,” Medina said.