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Missed Opportunities Characterize First Gubernatorial Debate

Fireworks flew from every direction at the first televised debate of the 2010 Texas Gubernatorial Republican primary on Jan. 14, held at the University of North Texas and broadcast live to millions around the state. Co-sponsored by AARP, the debate involving Governor Rick Perry, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and former Wharton County Republican Party chair Debra Medina was witnessed by a few AARP volunteers and staff. AARP volunteer Leonard Strub filed this report:

“The first Republican gubernatorial debate didn’t disappoint those who wanted to see an active exchange between U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, state-sovereignty advocate Debra Medina and Texas Governor Rick Perry. It was a Texas tussle.

Although the debate covered some good state issues—taxes, budget, federal issues, abortion and illegal immigration—there were some critical questions left out, such as:

  • If the U.S. Congress passes and the president signs the health care reform proposal currently moving through Congress, as governor, how do you plan to implement it?
  • The cost of housing in Texas is relatively low, yet Texas homeowners pay among the highest insurance rates in the country, second only to Florida. As governor, what would you do to reduce insurance premiums for Texas homeowners?
  • Given natural gas prices are currently low, why do Texans pay so much more for electricity than our neighboring states that are still regulated?
  • Federal law caps payday loans at 36 percent for military families while other Texans are being charged 500 percent or more for these same loans. As governor, would you support extending this same 36 percent cap to all Texans?

Although the topics discussed at the debate were important, we hope the candidates will address these critical issues affecting millions of Texans when they debate again on Jan. 29.”

Throughout the election cycle, AARP Texas will continue our call for safe and affordable health care, a fix in state law that holds payday lenders accountable, a reduction in skyrocketing insurance rates and affordable electricity services for all Texans.

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