Senator Rodríguez statement regarding State of the State Address

AUSTIN, Jan. 29, 2013 — Senator José Rodríguez today released the following statement regarding Gov. Rick Perry’s State of the state address:

“We are blessed with great abundance in this state, and our obligation as legislators is to make sure we work toward the public good while supporting individual initiative.

“How to do that is the subject of constant disagreement. This is the nature of our system, and as frustrating as it sometimes can be, it is essential to have both a diversity of opinion and an honest, robust debate.

“Greatness is part of our legacy; greatness for all is in our future. We must promote economic opportunity; provide our constitutionally mandated public education and add higher education options; expand access to health care; plan for major infrastructure needs such as water and transportation; and modernize our ports of entry to build upon Texas’ billions of dollars in trade with Mexico.

“While it was disappointing the Governor did not note the key role our border plays in the state’s commerce, I believe he is on the right track in seeking to build transportation and water infrastructure, investments necessary to the future.

“However, we must also invest in people, particularly in our education and health care infrastructure, two areas in which our state does not excel — in fact, unfortunately, quite the opposite. We have the teaching and student talent, but not yet the will to make the most of it. We must restore the cuts to public education, not give more public money to private school voucher programs and charter schools, and we must support proven programs to enhance basic literacy skills and early childhood learning. We must also expand Medicaid, which we already are paying for but under the state’s current position will not fully serve Texans, and restore the previously successful Women’s Health Program, which has been gutted by politics.

“The governor talked about separating ‘wants’ and ‘needs.’ Our leadership must understand that for many of my constituents the “wants” — especially when it comes to health care and education — are really the state’s needs. Investments in those key areas pay off in the long run.

” I believe we can do better — much better — when it comes to budget transparency and preparing for future success in the New Texas. I am ready to do my part to build upon areas of agreement with my colleagues in the Senate and House, and with state leadership.”

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