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Gov. Perry Addresses the Texas Association of Broadcasters

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Gov. Perry Addresses the Texas Association of Broadcasters

Reflects on shared challenges of leadership, calls for support on transparency issues.

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.

Thank you, Danny [Baker, TAB Vice Chair] and thank you all for inviting me here today.

It is a treat to spend time with the folks who call the shots at media outlets across the state, and want to thank you for supporting my new "say nice things about the governor" bill that we're introducing in the new session.

I also want to thank you and your stations for being such a nice training ground for the spokespeople at our state agencies. You provide a wonderful public service to Texas with that effort.

Actually, I do want to start by thanking the good people of this association for stepping up in support of the public service announcement we put together to raise relief funds after Hurricane Ike.

In the same way that the greatest gift we can give someone is our time, a media outlet's most precious resource is air time. When you donate it to a worthy cause like hurricane relief, you make a huge difference.

As a result of your generosity, we were able to get the word out and gather resources that are helping local communities in the affected area recover more quickly.

That is just one example of the vital services you offer to your communities and our state. In times of disaster, you are the best source of information for our citizens, and in times of celebration, you're the best place to find out where the party is going to be.

That contribution the community is part of your profession's tradition. Some might say it's to keep the FCC happy, but I have found over the years that people are rarely drawn to your business just for a paycheck.

During my 24 years of public service, I have spent a whole lot of time with broadcasters, reporters and the people who lead them and I'd have to say your common denominator is the desire to make a difference.

In that way, I suspect you and the elected officials who have descended on Austin for another legislative session are a lot alike.

Perhaps the main difference is that we get measured by votes and you light candles to the gods of Arbitron, Nielsen and the dreaded GRPs.

We also share in common a shrinking supply of resources as we go about our life's work.

In your world, you find yourself battling the inroads that the Internet is making on your audiences and advertisers.

In mine, we're working with the Legislature to forge a balanced budget in the midst of global economic turmoil.

We both know that throwing up our hands and complaining doesn't move us in the right direction, which is why we're all examining innovative approaches to succeeding in tougher times, keeping spending down while looking to invest in those things that are proven to create forward progress.

For you, that may be investing in an expanded Web presence, email marketing and promotional partnerships.

For us, that means holding government spending down while seeking to replenish key economic development efforts like the Enterprise Fund, Emerging Technology Fund and Film Incentives.

We also share in common a little frustration with the federal government.

On our end, we have been handcuffed in our efforts to restore and rebuild from Hurricane Ike by Washington's snail-like pace on reimbursements for storm damage.

On your end, I understand the TV folks aren't too happy by the federal government's on-again, off-again approach to the HD turnover.

It's just more proof that the best answers to our problems do not come from Washington, or even from Austin, really.

The best solutions to the challenges in our state generally come from folks at the local level, who understand the unique situation at the local level and can make decisions that are best. It's our job to establish a climate for innovation then get out of the way.

I also believe that our customers: in your case viewers and listeners, in mine the citizens of our state, are a whole lot smarter than the folks in Washington or at corporate would like to believe.

The more we can do to listen and respond to their needs the better we'll be at this whole leadership thing.

That's why I'm continuing to press for more transparency in the way public entities spend taxpayer dollars.

People know that the best way to find out how things get done is to follow the money.

We have seen a positive trend in citizen involvement that has grown out of putting our state agencies' checkbooks online.

When people know how much money is going where, to whom, and for what, they do not hesitate to express their opinion, and that's a great thing in a free society.

I would like to see even more financial transparency at the local level and at our institutions of higher education.

When taxpayers can see where their dollars are going, it causes those spending the dollars to be a little more diligent, and it keeps them connected to reality a whole lot better.

I would expect that increased government transparency would be a key priority of yours. When your reporters are digging into a budget story, they should be able to see where tax dollars are going.

I hope that you'll join me in pressing for greater transparency on spending in this session to improve the trust relationship between government and the people it serves.

I appreciate your time and wish you the best in the months and years to come. Keep up your great work.

God bless you and may God bless Texas.


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