Office of the Governor Rick Perry

LULAC State Convention

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thursday, June 02, 2005  •  Speech

Thank you, Roger (Rocha), for those kind words and for your leadership of a distinguished organization that is continuing to have a profound impact all across this state...
...the League of United Latino American Citizens.

I am always honored to be with men and women who are committed to building a future of unlimited opportunity for every Texan...
...where jobs are abundant...
...where families and communities are strong...
...and where every individual...
...regardless of the neighborhood they come from, or the sound of their last name...
...is empowered to control their own destiny.

Texas has come a long way in the march towards greater opportunity and empowerment in the 76 years since LULAC was founded. 

And while we have yet to reach our final destination...
...there can be no doubt that the American dream is within reach for more Texans than ever before.

The American dream is thriving in Texas because we are the number one state for job creation and employment is at an all-time. 

Homeownership levels are continuing to rise. 

A record number of young people are preparing to seize the opportunities of tomorrow by attending one of our institutions of higher learning. 

And each day, more and more people are taking a courageous leap by opening their own business.

In fact, it has been estimated that Texas will be home to as many as 450,000 Hispanic-owned businesses by 2007...
...nearly double what it was just a few short years ago. 

I’m proud of that record and you should be too! 

What’s important about that projection is not just that it signals sustained economic growth...
...but that Texas is continuing to break down barriers to opportunity.

But if you’ve ever run your own business, you know that the challenges don’t stop when you hang the sign outside your door or make your first sell. 

That’s why my office is launching a new series of educational summits around the state to help equip more small business owners with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in the long run...
...the first of which will be held in El Paso on June 15th, followed by one in San Antonio in July.

Experienced business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs alike can get help securing start-up or growth capital...
...learn how to qualify for tax credits...
...and find out about bidding opportunities with Fortune 500 companies. 

There will even be some state contracts up for bid at each seminar...
...and we may even award contracts on site.

As someone who has signed the front side of a paycheck...
...and not just the back side...
...I care passionately about helping employers grow and create jobs. 

Jobs are a source of wealth for our families, and a generator of tax revenue for our communities.

I say the best way to fund education long-term is to create good jobs that generate needed revenue.
I am proud that Texas enhanced its commitment to job creation in the recent legislative session. 

We reformed the workers’ compensation system to provide increased benefits and better care for those hurt in the workplace...
...while freeing employers to create new jobs with the savings they will ultimately see on their workers’ comp bill.

We authorized $100 million more for job creation and technology initiatives...
...which will help us attract growth today and build a strong foundation for future prosperity. 

And lawmakers answered my call to increase funding for workforce training so that more Texans can gain the advanced skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

I have made job creation a cornerstone of my administration because jobs are an important source of hope for Texas families...
...and I believe that one of government’s most important obligations is to help every human being find hope for tomorrow.

Our obligation especially applies to those who have lost hope...
...especially our most vulnerable citizens who are at risk for abuse or neglect.
The heartbreaking stories we have all read over the past year of children being abused and seniors being mistreated are an assault on our common human dignity...
...and a tragedy we must not tolerate as a society.

Children being starved...
...infants being beaten...
...seniors living in homes that have become heaps of trash...
...every instance of abuse...
...every instance of neglect breaks my heart and saddens my soul.

And of the many bills that passed this legislative session, I am perhaps most proud of the action we took to protect some of our most vulnerable Texans by reforming Child and Adult Protective Services.

I declared this issue a legislative emergency. 

I also put forward a strong blueprint for reform. 

But a governor alone can’t make change...
...it takes dedicated legislators with drive and determination to end grave injustices to change Texas. 

And I found such a leader from right here in San Antonio...
...a real guardian for vulnerable children and frail adults...
...State Representative Carlos Uresti.

Along with Senator Jane Nelson and Representative Suzanna Hupp, Carlos joined me in doing what was right to revive a dysfunctional state agency...
...and turn it into a strong advocate for Texans at risk of harm.

Our reform bill puts 2,500 new employees on the job...
...including hundreds of investigators on the front lines of this life and death issue. 

They will spend less time mired in paperwork...
...more time visiting with families...
...and with fewer cases per investigator so they can do more to help those in need.

We are investing in new technologies that will improve case management...
...providing more clerical support staff...
...and paying these hardworking caseworkers more as they work to save lives and restore dignity.

I tell you what... in just a few days I relish the opportunity to sign this reform bill, and to do so along strong legislative leaders like Carlos Uresti.
I am proud of the legislature’s work on the protective services bill and many others that are on their way to my desk because they will make the future brighter for millions of Texans.

But at the same time, I cannot hide the fact that I am disappointed that legislators did not act on another piece of legislation that would have made the future brighter for millions of schoolchildren...
...millions of taxpayers drowning in rising property tax bills...
...and every employer that depends on an educated workforce.

I believe that the need for comprehensive education and tax reform did not expire with the previous legislation session...
...and I know there are many legislators who feel the same way. 

Time may have run out on the session, but time hasn’t run out on the need for more money for education and property tax relief for hardworking Texans.

And I for one will not be satisfied until we pass a plan that is good for Texas schoolchildren, teachers, property taxpayers and employers.

That is why I continue to push for an agreement among legislators so I can call them back in a special session and ensure Texans get the best schools possible.

Education is the great social equalizer:...
...it gives hope and opportunity to the first generation immigrant...
...the child living in the barrios...
...the son of a tenant farmer.

I’m not throwing in the towel on this issue because our children deserve better.  You deserve better too. 

Please join me in sending a message to legislators of both parties...
...both houses...
...that you want education reform...
...that you want property tax relief...
...and that you want it now!

(pause)

As the members of this organization well know, the road to greater opportunity is never a downhill slope...
...and it often contains many twists and turns.

But the march to progress must always go forward.

This Texas we love is a state big enough for every dream...
...a state that welcomes all and includes all...
...a state that recognizes no class or creed but the hopes and aspirations of every citizen.

Progress begins in the classroom, where tomorrow’s leaders are today being taught. 

I ask for your help in writing the final chapter of this story...
...one that concludes with an historic investment in our classrooms...
...and historic reforms that ensure we realize the goal of academic excellence for children all across Texas.

Thank you so much, and may God bless you.

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