Perry, White focus on economy as gubernatorial election nears

The colors red and blue are dominating the landscape as the Texas gubernatorial elections between Gov. Rick Perry and Bill White approach.

Perry, a Republican, is running for his third full term. A former lieutenant governor, Perry was sworn in as the state’s 47th governor Dec. 21, 2000 after predecessor George W. Bush was elected president and was voted to his first full term in 2002.

Democratic contender White served the Houston community as mayor from 2004 until 2010. He also worked under President Bill Clinton between 1993 and 1995 as US Deputy Secretary of Energy.

“They have both been politically involved for a long time, but they are either wealthy themselves or represent the people of wealth,” history professor Robert Buzzanco said. “Either way, average Texans will still struggle for jobs, wages, health care, etc. Having said that, White clearly represents a more ‘enlightened’ capitalism and understands that people who have wages, other income and benefits can become better consumers.”

Perry has refused to debate White, claiming most voters of today aren’t concerned with debates.

“It’s a tough race this election season,” management information systems senior Mohammad Shariff said.

The issues Perry is concentrating on include economic development, increased enrollment in colleges, increased access to healthcare, promotion of pro-life agendas, strict punishment for convicts and protecting landowners’ rights in Texas.

White is also campaigning under the banner of economic growth, increased education levels, tighter border security, better transportation in Texas, energy efficiency, making healthcare affordable and programs for war veterans.

“They seem to be promising many of the same things,” consumer science and merchandising junior Ayesha Shah said. “For me, it boils down to, ‘who will actually keep their promises?’”

As Election Day draws closer, the campaigning is getting intense and forceful.

According to the CNN website, White blamed Perry for turning the campaign into a fight against President Barack Obama. He also accused Perry of failing to secure the Texas-Mexico border, being a nemesis of public schools and increasing the state’s debt.

White further compared Perry to an immature school child who does not own up to his own actions.

“Perry is a frightening figure, more than an immature child,” Buzzanco said. “Talking about secession, avidly supporting guns without restriction, playing up to the worst elements in us, making life better for corporations — especially oil companies. This should frighten average Texans.”

A spokesman from Perry’s campaign addressed White’s comments by saying that what he accused Perry of is completely false. According to the spokesman, Texas has created more jobs under Perry’s guidance, thereby bettering the economy.

According to the Houston Chronicle website, Perry insisted that White reveal his income tax returns from the time he was state Democratic Party chairman and deputy energy secretary.

Although White had revealed his income tax returns from his time as mayor, he did not reveal more.

“It’s confusing because you don’t know who’s telling the truth,” Shariff said. “Perry might remain in office or maybe White will win — anything can happen in politics.”

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