Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Community Leaders Reception- Sulphur Springs

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, November 26, 2001  •  Speech

Thank you.  It is good to be back in God’s country: northeast Texas.

I’ll keep it short, because I really came here to listen to you, and hear your ideas.

And as the people in the oil business like to say, if you haven’t struck it rich in 3 minutes, stop boring!

It is a great honor to serve as your governor.  This office affords a unique platform to make a difference for all of our people: young and old, 1st generation or 5th generationurban dwellers, suburbanites, and folks from our smaller and, quieter towns.

I believe that the foundation for success for all Texans is education.  An educated Texan is an unlimited Texan.  What they dream they are empowered to do through a good education. 

Education is also critical to a thriving workforce with increased opportunities for more Texans.

We have focused on improving student performance, and the results so far have been good.  Texas has received national recognition for its system of accountability and student assessment.  TAAS scores have improved in every category, and among differing parts of our population.

We have seen improvement in childhood reading, and our fourth grade math results are above the national average.  These are good signs, but we must not be content.

I advocated a new math initiative because too many students are falling behind after fourth grade and entering high school unprepared, frustrated, and too likely to drop out.  We continued to increase funding for reading, while also passing record teacher pay raises, and a new teacher health insurance program over the last two sessions.

We must continue to make strides in public schools while doing better to convince more high school graduates to set their sights on college.  We are making it easier for Texans of limited financial means to attend college because of the $300 million we dedicated to the TEXAS Grant Program.

Texans of the most modest means should not be limited to modest dreams.

The son of two tenant farmers who never had the chance to attend college, I can’t tell you where I would be if I didn’t have the chance to attend Texas A&M.  But I will tell you this: I wouldn’t stand here today as your governor.

Every Texan with a fertile mind and strong resolve should be given that chance, and that will be my passion as long as I have the honor of serving you.

I believe we must also continue to work to insure more children, and provide them with the preventative and routine health care they need.  For a child to succeed, they must not only be educated, but healthy.

And I will tell you this: I am committed to getting traffic moving in Texas.  Why does that matter to you here?  Because we want to preserve your quality of life, and if folks get sick of being stuck in traffic in Houston or Dallas, more of them just might be moving your direction.  And if we don’t fund more projects, vital needs in smaller areas, like the widening of highways 19 and 24, tend to take a back seat to the larger cities.

A Texas with strong public schools, excellent colleges and universities, better health care, and needed transportation infrastructure is my vision for the future.  I hope you share it.  I am delighted to be with you today, and look forward to visiting with you more.  Thank you, and God bless you.

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