Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks at the Proposition 15 Event - San Antonio

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, October 15, 2007  •  Speech

Thank you for joining us today. We are gathered here to signify our unity in a fierce battle against a common enemy: cancer. This disease is the number one cause of death for Americans under the age of 85, and kills more than 37,000 Texans every year. Cancer doesn’t care where you live, what you earn or when you were born. It simply invades, weakens and destroys. Sadly, it has become a curse that touches every life, either by direct affliction or personal relationship. In my family, my mother and my sister have both battled cancer. Over the years, so many people I know have had their lives turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis. When it attacks a loved one, there is nothing we wouldn’t do to take away their pain. We would give anything to bring back those we have lost, to enjoy with them the lives cut so cruelly short. Not a day goes by in our state without one of our fellow citizens losing their lives to this ruthless killer. Because we have all been touched by this disease, we all long for the day when it has been eradicated from our lives.

In a few short weeks, the people of Texas will have the opportunity to strike a blow in the battle against cancer. I am calling on every Texan of voting age to drive a nail into the coffin of this disease by voting “yes” on Proposition 15. Because I truly believe in the good hearts of Texans, I do not say “if,” but when this amendment passes, it will do several key things. It will create the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas which will be dedicated to funding research and finding cures. It will allow the Institute to issue $3 billion in bonds over the span of ten years, directing $300 million per year toward a cure. These Institute will carefully invest these dollars in cancer research, clinical trials, and the construction of laboratory facilities throughout the state.

As home to cancer-fighting organizations like this remarkable facility, UT Southwestern in Dallas, and M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas is already known as a leader in the treatment of cancer. With additional funding, we can bring these institutions, and the brightest cancer research minds from around the world, into a coordinated chase for the cure. These dollars will also provide research grants to promising projects that often can’t find funding. The money will be allocated by a committee of experts whose only interest is the tireless pursuit of a cure. One cannot put a price tag on a human life, but, with their vote on November 6th, Texans can invest in a full decade of cancer research. It is my hope that more research will lead to more answers, provide more cures, and, ultimately, save more lives.

As I said earlier, this disease does care where you live, what you make or when you were born. It also doesn’t care how about your political party and, in this instance, nor should we. For that reason, I am pleased to welcome a friend from across the aisle, John Sharp. A proud Democrat, he has served our state well as comptroller. John, would you share your thoughts on this proposition?

Thank you, John. I would now like to introduce to you a woman who has devoted her career to battling cancer. She is a skilled researcher, an inspiring leader and president & CEO of this remarkable research & treatment center. Dr. Karen Fields. Karen?

Thank you, Karen. I would also like to point out a good friend of this initiative here in San Antonio, Jon Gary Herrera of Time Warner Cable. Jon Gary, wave to everybody. Jon Gary and his people have committed significant resources to get the word out on this important measure. You have now heard from a governor, a former comptroller and a subject matter expert. But you need to hear a personal perspective. And so, I would now like to introduce you to Martha Arredondo, a young woman who has bravely battled cancer. They tell me that Martha has kept her spirits high during this fight, that she has made close friends here at the center, and that her optimism inspires everyone she meets. And that last month, your fellow fighter, Heather Hermstad, flew in to be with you before your major surgery and you stayed up most of the night before, talking and doing each other’s hair. You are a reminder that what we are not just talking about numbers and statistics, but human lives. Martha, would you share your story?

Thank you, Martha, for your courage in battling this disease and your willingness to share your story with us today. You are inspiration to everyone here and, hopefully, to the people of Texas. In your honor, and in honor of all those we know whose lives have been forever changed by this disease, I challenge the people of Texas to vote their conscience on Proposition 15. And don’t go alone. When you go to your polling place on November 6th, take people with you. Invite your family, your neighbors, and your coworkers to join with you in bringing about the end of this dreadful disease. We will now be glad to answer any questions you may have about this pending proposition.

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