Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Texas Institute for Pre-clinical Studies Groundbreaking

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Friday, March 28, 2008  •  Houston, Texas  •  Speech

Thank you, Dr. Murano, for that introduction. It is clear that you have not skipped a beat in adjusting to your role as president. Dr. Fossum, congratulations to you as you begin this next step in your leadership of this worthwhile effort. There are too many members of the Texas A&M family here to recognize you all by name, but it is always a pleasure for me to be here with you as you continue to invest in the future of our state.

We are here today to mark yet another milestone in this university's advancement of knowledge with a purpose. As a graduate of this university, I can assure you that Texas A&M has never been one of those ivory tower institutions full of academic navel-gazers debating how many philosophers can dance on the head of a pin. Instead, this place has always been about knowledge with a practical application, researching and teaching ways to improve the processes and technology that underlie our economy.

People leave this school ready to make a contribution to society. Occasionally one might even end up as governor. That emphasis on practical learning is being demonstrated again today as construction begins on the Texas Institute for Pre-clinical Studies. When this place gets rolling, I have every expectation that it will be an engine for economic growth in this area and across the state, making Texas even more competitive in the global marketplace.

Now you might say, "Why work so hard? Texas is already the nation's economic leader." Well, I would agree with your statement: our economy is strong right now. We have added more than one million net new jobs over the past four years. We continue to be the nation's top exporting state. And we are consistently celebrated by publications like Forbes and Chief Executive Magazine as the best state for doing business.

But I would take issue with your question. The reason we work so hard is that we didn't attain our current economic strength by accident. We got here by setting aside outdated notions of the government's role in economic development. We got here by cutting away the chains of taxation and the tangle of red tape that so often choke the life out of innovation.

This facility is an example of our bias for looking forward, constantly asking the question "what is next and best for Texas?" Back in 2001, we asked that question and were pleased when the legislature authorized $800 million in spending for science, engineering, research, and commercialization activities. A year later, we founded the Council on Science and Biotechnology Development which recommended a new direction for our state in this rapidly growing sector of the global economy.

A key part of that new direction took shape three years later with the launch of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, which fuels efforts to move university research from the lab to the marketplace. To date, the fund has allocated nearly $109 million to Texas companies and universities, leading to 17 biotech start-up companies, and recruiting a number of high-caliber biotechnology researchers to Texas universities.

Dr. Fossum, congratulations on convincing one of those high-caliber biotechnology experts to join your team here. You're on a good track when your first hire is Dr. Duncan Maitland, a world-renowned researcher and developer of advanced therapeutic devices. For those of you who don't read things like the American Journal of Neuro-Radiology - like I do - Dr. Maitland is basically a rock star in the biotechnology world. In fact, he's here with us today.

Bringing him here will not only catapult this facility to the forefront of research in brain aneurysms, but also send out ripples into the biotech community, letting them know that Texas means business. Like you, I believe his presence will draw other researchers to our state. And I believe this facility will draw other biotech companies to this area.

Personally, I consider College Station a little piece of heaven and would gladly move here to shorten my trips to ballgames. But companies look for a little more when they think about sinking serious dollars into a relocation or expansion. Even the most visionary companies don't like to be alone. Research indicates that this unique facility has the potential to draw other ventures that could create more than 10,000 jobs in the Bryan-College Station area and more than 100,000 across our state. The growing presence of legitimate biotechnology efforts in our state are creating a critical mass that will only grow faster.

Our new Competitiveness Council exists for that very reason, to accelerate that growth. The Council is focusing on improving the mesh between what is taught in our schools and what is needed in the workplace, improving our energy strategy to ensure resources are available and affordable, and grooming our regulatory climate for the best mix of safety and economic stimulus.

With the Texas Institute for Genomic Research here in town the National Trauma Institute in San Antonio, we're seeing a growing array of biotechnology efforts in our state. That momentum is leading us to the point where brilliant ideas will go from insight, to design, to testing, to production; all within the borders of our state. With that will come more investment, more jobs, and, ultimately, more innovations that improve human life. I call that a big impact in a very worthwhile effort.

So I thank all of you for your commitment to this initiative, I congratulate you on the completion of this latest step, and I challenge you to go farther, faster as we continue our efforts to make our state more competitive in the global marketplace.

May God bless you and may He continue to bless the great State of Texas.

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