Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White criticized Gov. Rick Perry for failing to find the funds to pay for an additional 1,000 local law enforcement officers and 250 state troopers near the border -- part of White's six-point plan for border security. Speaking this morning at the Hyatt Regency with Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez by his side, White estimated the cost of his plan at $75 million to $95 million annually, which he stressed represents just one tenth of one percent of the annual state budget.
"You can't figure out how to do that in order to fund one of the highest priorities in the state?" he said, with state Rep. Rafael Anchía, a fellow Democrat and supporter, watching from behind the TV cameras. "That's a reason why we need a new governor in this state."
White, whose people escorted a Perry operative (Dwayne Horner) from the room, also reiterated a complaint from March when he attacked Perry for claiming that his administration cut crime along the border by 65 percent.
"That's not what the crime statistics say by any means," he said.
Valdez, also a fellow Democrat, voiced her support of White's plan, which includes using state appropriations more effectively, revamping the Department of Public Safety and establishing partnerships between local and federal law enforcement. Even though Dallas is far from the Texas-Mexico border, she said "a lot of traffic comes through this area" and White's plan makes Dallas County a "more secure community."
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As expected, the questions afterward were all over the map. One woman asked White to comment on whether he hadn't paid his taxes in 1995, to which he replied, "That's ridiculous."
But then there was the guy who pointed out that the Stonewall Democrats announced last night that White will be appearing in the Dallas Gay Pride parade on September 19.
"Tell me something about why you thought it was important to do that," the reporter said.
"I think parades are great," White said. "I've been to many parades, and when people show up, people are entitled to meet the people that are trying to work for them."