Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks Regarding Project Imaging

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004  •  Speech

Thank you Dr. Willerson.  I am honored to be here with you and Dr. Mendohlson, representatives of two tremendous medical centers: the U.T. Health Science Center and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.   I also want to thank Wendy Harris with General Electric Medical Systems for making a tremendous commitment to health care and economic opportunity in Texas. 

For a number of years, biotechnology has stood out as the most promising frontier in the science and technology revolution in Texas.  Today we are taking a major step toward realizing the full potential of biotechnology as a growth industry for our state.  With the support of Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Craddick, today I am proud to announce that the State of Texas is investing $25 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to help bring an advanced biomedicial imaging facility to the University of Texas Research Park in Houston.  This investment coincides with a $30 million commitment by GE, and a $25 million combined investment by the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the U.T. Health Science Center.

This joint partnership between the private and public sectors will put Texas at the forefront of medical innovations that will help us fight cancer and cardiovascular disease while creating more than 2,200 highly skilled jobs.  We are leveraging the brainpower of two great medical centers, the resources of this great state, and the technology developed by a leader in medical innovations, to put Texas at the forefront of a burgeoning new field of biotechnology known as biomedical imaging.   The value of this joint venture cannot be overstated: it will put Houston in competition with cities like San Diego and Boston as the premiere location for biotechnology research, and build upon Houston’s prestigious reputation as a cluster for medical innovation.  As Dr. Mendohlson knows quite well, investments of this nature give us great cause for optimism because similar efforts have had a dramatic impact on the job climate and the healthcare sector in cities like San Diego.

Through a concerted effort connecting academia, private entrepreneurs and government leaders over more than two decades, billions of biotech dollars have flowed into the Southern California economy, and hundreds of biotechnology companies now call San Diego home.  The good news is that we’re not starting from scratch in Texas.  Our state has hundreds of biotech companies that provide thousands of jobs that pay a good wage.  Today we are taking biotechnology to the next level by anchoring this effort right next door to the Texas Medical Center.  This marks the second major announcement in less than a month that speaks well of Houston’s future economic prospects. 

By moving its corporate headquarters to Houston, Citgo reaffirmed the Bayou City’s reputation as the Energy Capital of the World.  Today, General Electric Medical Systems, in concert with two great medical centers and the State of Texas, is showing the international medical community that Houston is not just an energy leader, but a magnet for innovations in medicine and biotechnology too.  But today’s announcement is about much more than dollar and cents.  This investment will attract life-changing research to Texas that has the potential to save and extend the lives of our loved one’s, friends and neighbors, and people around the globe. 

For instance, nearly 13 million Americans over the age of 35 suffer from coronary heart disease.  It has remained the leading cause of death in the United States since the beginning of the 20th Century.  Through advanced biomedical imaging, the medical community will be able to provide a more precise assessment of a coronary patient’s risk, which has the potential to save an untold number of lives.  Biomedical imaging can also produce unparalleled scientific advances in the fight against cancer.  It will aid the development of new-generation therapies that treat cancers less invasively and more effectively, with fewer negative effects on patients.

Protecting the health and well-being of Texans, and enhancing the job climate, are two critical functions of state government.  Today Texas is taking a bold step toward creating a cluster a biotech companies that will advance the cause of modern medicine, improve our quality of life, enhance our economy, and generate new wealth for our people.

I am proud to introduce the Vice President of Oncology Americas for General Electric Medical Systems, Wendy Harris.

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