Chris Bell is the main challenger to GOP Governor Rick Perry in the upcoming November 7th election. He is running on a platform of transparent government, proper education of children rather than teaching them to fill in bubbles on a standardized test, and bringing hope to the disenfranchised. His message is that even things as seemingly mundane as budgets are indeed moral documents that tell us what our government stands for. The current administration, in this vein, appears to believe that partisan politics trump the children of Texas, those with deep pocketbooks should have a seat at the table while the Texans who carry the system on their backs should be propping up the table upon which the fat cats meet. Chris has stood up and said no to all of this - the GOP should not be winning on issues of "morals" while they cut spending on the very poorest of Texas and attempt to give tax cuts to the very richest. The GOP's "moral" values are no more than "gimme". After this long in power, it is time to clean house (and senate).
Bell is a former Congressman from Houston who is best known for standing up to Tom DeLay and breaking the so-called ethics "truce" between the two parties in Washington in his short time there. He wishes to bring the "New Mainstream" to the forefront of Texas politics, in which we find bipartisan solutions for the problems that haunt the state - he constantly criticizes the polarizing policies that Perry and his allies have inflicted on the state, in many cases ranking Texas 49th in the country in many vital areas, such as education and healthcare. Chris says that the Republican Party of Texas should be better known as the "Thank God for Mississippi" committee, in reference to the typical number 50 on the same charts.
As a city councilman in Houston, Bell was known for his efforts to limit soft money in municipal government, along with helping pass a large property tax rollback with the cooperation of council conservatives. He established his credibility on ethics there, helping to create initiatives that made local government more transparent and more easily accessible for citizens.
In a more personal connection to politics, Chris is a proponent of stem-cell research. The husband of a cancer survivor, he believes that anything that could help cure diseases and allow people to live longer, healthier lives should be looked into. As he puts it, Jesus never said "heal the sick, unless politics gets in the way". He also points out that GOP governors of New York and California have called for funding of stem-cell research; as Texas is the location of a couple of world class medical centers that research and cure disease, we are letting a potential breakthrough slip through our fingers.
Also in the budget (or rather, not in it) is the state of disrepair of our parks. The Republican administration has allowed our parks to deteriorate to the point that some have been sold in order for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to make ends meet. Chris pointed out that the Battleship Texas, a part of Texas's rich heritage and history, is held together with duct tape and glue because Perry did not fund it, instead prefering the money to go to his friends in the insurance industry.
Budgets are moral documents and government can bring hope rather than simply despair. Chris wants a "moonshot" on education in Texas - instead of the vampiric voucher programs of Dr. Leininger and fellow right-wing cronies that would suck our public education system dry, Bell wants to improve our schools to the point where they could compete with any in the nation. He is pro-choice and has the endorsement of NARAL and many other reproductive rights organizations in the staet. Instead of certain Independent candidates who hem and haw around actual issues and try to create glib soundbites ("pro football", anyone?), Chris has a well-articulated message that can be found at his website. He wants to have a real debate on the future of our state and allow all Texans a seat at the table, not just those who paid to play.
This is why I support Chris Bell for Governor of the state of Texas, and I urge any and all to do the same, or at least to hear him out.