Press Release - Bell on Wheels Tour Makes Stop in Lufkin
Democratic gubernatorial candidate stumps for votes, By Hina Alam, Lufkin Daily News
A crowd of about 50 people gathered just outside the Pitser Garrison Civic Center Thursday morning, braving a chilly north wind to welcome the "Bell on Wheels" bus tour of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell.
To cheers and claps, Bell told the audience, "We're closing the gap."
People held blue and white signs and sported badges supporting Bell
in his bid to unseat incumbent Gov. Rick Perry.
"This election is all about winning, not running," Bell said.
People from areas that were previously Republican strongholds are
pledging allegiance to Democrats, he said.
"Ann Richards was a trail blazer ... My administration will build on it (strength of diversity). Ours is a future worth fighting for," Bell said. The audience cheered loudly.
"People are fed up," Bell said. "The Texas that most of us see in our heart is not the Texas we see around us."
All these years of Perry being in office has led to Texas being one
of the highest-ranked state in teen pregnancies, high school dropouts and lack of healthcare for its people, he said.
"We need a change," Bell said. "We need to take our state back."
One of the strengths of Texas is diversity, Bell said. The late Gov.
Ann Richards recognized this strength, he said.
"Ann Richards was a trail blazer ... My administration will build on
it (strength of diversity). Ours is a future worth fighting for." The audience cheered loudly.
Another way to build the state is by giving children a good
education, which comes from good public schools, Bell said. There is
a lot of frustration among parents, administrators and teachers about the TAKS test, he said. "It's leading to dropouts," Bell said.
And about 80 percent of the people in prison are high school
dropouts, he said.
The TAKS test, he said, is not the sole reason for the problems with
high school dropouts.
"The high stakes nature of the situation is a problem," he said.
"Everything is based on the outcome of one test. That's absurd. It
needs to change. We can clean up the government. We can return
transparency and accountability to it."
Bell said budgets are moral documents and not just pieces of paper
with numbers on them. "They have human consequences ... they affect
everyone, and the Perry government doesn't seem to understand this."
On the controversial subject of illegal immigration, Bell said, the
number of illegal immigrants had increased 20 percent during Perry's
term, and he did not start talking about it until election time
rolled around. "We need a common sense and comprehensive approach to
Bell said he would like tighter border security and crack down on
employers who hire illegal immigrants.
"Rick Perry is an absolute miserable failure as a governor," Bell
said. "I don't talk a million miles an hour, and don't dress like a
cowboy," he said referring to his other opponents Carole Keeton
Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman.
"But I am a serious leader," Bell said "And I will make Texas a
better place to raise our children."