Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks Regarding the Keffer Cancer Bill

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007  •  Speech

Thank you. It is a privilege to stand up here with men and women committed to finding a cure for cancer and offering renewed hope to the 95,000 people who will be diagnosed with this terrible disease this year. My thanks goes out to Chairman Keffer for authoring a bill that represents a landmark investment in the collaborative research projects that can put us on the leading edge of developing new therapies for cancer treatment. I am also grateful for Chairman Nelson’s commitment to this issue in the Senate. And I am eternally indebted to the cancer survivors and cancer victims that have lent their support to this cause to find a cure. They are the ones who bear the scars from this disease, and it is their suffering that has given birth to our pursuit of a cure.

There’s that old college saying often told to incoming freshmen that if they look to the person on their left and the person on their right, the statistics show that one of them won’t be there when they graduate. I would suggest to you that cancer is even more pervasive. Talk to any Texan and chances are that either they have fought this battle, they have suffered through it while a loved one did, or they have a close friend or colleague that was stricken with this deadly disease. Seldom are we given such an opportunity to do that which can forever change the world. This is such an initiative. By funding a ten-year cancer research plan, and pouring close to $300 million into our university and scientific labs each year, we will attract some of the brightest research minds in the world to Texas, and bring our institutions of medicine and higher learning together in a never-before-seen collaborative effort to develop groundbreaking cancer research.

And to me, how this effort is funded is not nearly as important as whether it does get funded. That’s not to say I don’t respectfully disagree with some in the legislature about the method of finance for this research, but I am comfortable with allowing the will of the legislature to work in this regard, and I know if we stay focused on the goal instead of getting lost in the morass of fine points and distinct details, we can succeed. And if we succeed, here is what it can mean. It can mean worthwhile projects that currently go unfunded today will finally be given a chance. Drugs for rare cancers that currently aren’t worth a drug company’s risk vis-à-vis the potential reward could now be funded. Studies that can help us understand why cancer cells spread, why they metastasize, could shed new light on the nature of this disease that has alluded science for so long.

I believe in this cause with all my heart. I believe there are few opportunities we are given in public service to make such a significant impact: this is one of those rare opportunities. I ask my friends in the Legislature to join me and these legislative leaders in the effort to fund a cure. Some day you will look back on this with great pride, and it may just save a loved one’s life, or even yours. Let’s use the resources available to us today to forever change the health and well-being of the Texans of tomorrow. Thank you.

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