Texas Senator John Whitmire visits campus
UH alum and the current longest serving state senator John Whitmire arrived on campus Tuesday to discuss his lengthy career and politics to a small group hosted by the UH Democrats.
Beginning quite informally, Whitmire began with his political history: becoming a state representative at the age of 23, and then moving on to becoming a state senator 10 years later in 1983. As the longest serving state senator, he has been granted the title, Dean of the Texas Senate.
Briefly, he addressed the tension with Student Government Association President Charles Haston over a proposed mandatory freshman housing policy, saying it was behind him and forgotten. He also talked about how from that failed proposal, the new scholarship to assist incoming students with on-campus housing came to be. Whitmire was the first to donate to the fund.
Whitmire went on to discuss former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis filibuster last year, when she strapped on her pink shoes to stop an abortion bill from going into effect.
“I was prepared to filibuster,” said Whitmire. “Wendy raised her hand and asked to be heard, and asked if she can do it.”
Whitmire also discussed Davis’ campaign; saying she should have worked closer with her Democratic colleagues in the state senate.
“Get the senators engaged and committed,” he said.
Whitmire then went on to candidly talk about his Republican counterparts, and what their victory in the midterms will mean for Texas.
“They are going to start cutting all the state agencies, all of the state universities programs,” he said. “It’s sad because I know it actually means that people will suffer and the universities won’t get the funding they need, state employees won’t get the salaries they need, our infrastructure won’t get addressed because [the Republicans] literally campaigned on reducing government.”
The event ended with a couple of questions from the audience, in which some walked away giving some serious thought in Whitmire’s words.
“[Whitmire] gave a reality check to what Texas really is,” said political science sophomore Rony Escobar.
“Whitmire had some interesting points on the rising cost of tuition and his idea to regulate it,” said economics and political science freshman Dalton Maine. “I believe in the U.S.; competition is necessary to drive down prices.”