Gammage Files for Texas Governor

Democratic Candidate Vows to Attack Corrupt GOP Political Machine

For Immediate Release
December 15, 2005


Bob Gammage today filed paperwork with the Texas Democratic Party, officially becoming a candidate for Texas Governor. Below is the text of his remarks.

"Good morning. Thank you all for coming. In the weeks to come we will have a formal announcement that addresses specific issues and goals. Today I will just make a brief statement about why I am running.

"This campaign is about reform. It is about opening state policy- making to public scrutiny. It is about restoring the public trust.

"When I first entered public life as a newly minted freshman member of the Texas House some years ago, the people of Texas faced a crisis of political corruption. Our lawmaking process and our entire state government were dominated by an authoritarian system, controlled by lobbyists, special interests and power elites who ran rampant in our halls of government, and who ran roughshod over the public interest. I soon became a proud member of the Dirty 30 - a bipartisan group of 19 Democrats and 11 Republicans in the Texas House - who stood up to the power brokers and, with the help of an outraged citizenry, beat that corrupt political machine.

"Today, unfortunately, our state government has come full circle. Once again we desperately need the citizens of Texas to take charge of their state government.

"Today there is a corrupt political machine which stretches from Washington, D.C. all the way to Austin. Tom DeLay and his cronies are at one end, and Rick Perry and his pals are at the other. The money flows both ways. It has corrupted our politics, corrupted our government and, more importantly, corrupted public policy and betrayed the public trust.

"Public office is a public trust. I am running against today's corrupt political machine. I am standing up for reform. I am determined to do everything in my power to restore the public trust and the integrity of the political system. Sometimes good citizenship requires you to put your personal interests aside and just do what's right.

"In an ideal world, the governor of Texas should denounce the shenanigans of Tom DeLay and his twisted, unethical schemes. But Rick Perry is too weak and too dependent on the wealthy, powerful and ruthless special interests that both he and DeLay work for.

"The sad truth is that bad values and weak character at the top produce bad policies for the rest of us. We've seen it time and again -- a leadership that preaches character and commonly held values while practicing neither. On virtually every important issue - funding our public schools, the [[tax burden on middle-income families]], health care for our children, preserving our environment, funding for our public colleges and universities, and how we choose our elected officials -- the men at the top do not fight for the common good, but for the privileged power elite who bankroll their campaigns and keep their machine rolling.

"Today we have a governor who is just a cog in that machine. Rick Perry's been a weak governor with a failed record. He totally lacks the will and the ability to reform a system that produced him.

"There are many examples, but there's one that particularly sticks in my craw.

After two years of talk and no action, Rick Perry finally decided to tackle the most important issue facing Texas -- the public school finance mess. So what did he do? He went on a cruise. He sailed the Caribbean on a ritzy yacht with a bunch of rich supporters and came back with a school finance plan that would be good for their special interests---and to hell with everybody else.

"Here you see a picture of a yacht like the one Perry sailed on. Perry's staff says the trip was paid for by campaign contributions and private sources, but you and I, Texas taxpayers, picked up the tab for the governor's security detail.

"I say a yacht like the one Perry used, because we couldn't get a picture of the yacht they actually used. Our governor has refused to release that information. In fact he tried to keep the whole trip secret until the news media found out and blew the whistle on him. If you look close, you'll see the name of the boat is the "Phantom." We didn't put that name on there ourselves, but it sure fits, doesn't it? But for today, and for the rest of the campaign, we're going to re-christen this craft the "S.S. Perry." I personally think the boat's ensign - its flag - should be the 'Jolly Roger' - the classic pirates' skull and cross-bones, instead of our [[Stars and Stripes]].

"One of Perry's guests on this love boat cruise - the rich, radical, right-wing national power broker and lobbyist Grover Norquist - was totally unabashed about their approach to governing. According to press reports, Norquist once said, 'We are trying to change tones in the state capitols - and turn toward bitter nastiness and partisanship. . . .' Norquist is reported as actually saying,, quote: ' Bi-partisanship is another name for date rape,' unquote. Unfortunately, up to this point they've had their way.

"The S.S. Perry was a floating think tank for special interests, cruising in a tropical paradise on a sea of unregulated money.

"What did it produce? As you would expect, this corrupted process produced corrupt policy proposal -- a series of inept schemes so bad that even Perry's fellow Republicans in the Texas House and Senate laughed them off the floor of the legislature; plans that would have raised taxes on the vast majority of Texas families to pay for tax cuts and exemptions for an elite few, that would have even further weakened our public school system while protecting the tax loopholes that Perry's big shot contributors rely on.

"We don't need a state government run from yachts. Here's my first campaign promise: As governor of Texas I will make policy in the state capitol, not in the Bahamas.

"Finally. There are many fine, decent and, yes, compassionate and idealistic Texans out there who call themselves Republicans; people with conscience and heart. Many of them are also fed up with the corruption of their leadership and embarrassed by the scandals at the top of their party. Their party elite are more con artists than conservatives, and they have betrayed the trust and the values of the Republican grassroots.

"This campaign is about change. We are reaching out to every citizen who believes we need change at the top. Some of the early contributors to this campaign identify themselves as Republicans. I welcome them, and I welcome all like-minded Texans who will dedicate themselves to restoring the integrity of our political processes. We cannot change Texas without their help. Just as Republicans and Democrats joined hands many years ago to throw the rascals out and reform an out-of-control corrupt political machine and restore the public trust, together we can do it again.

"As I said, in a few weeks, at our formal announcement, we will roll out an agenda for change in Texas. I can promise you it will be interesting. You ain't heard nothing yet."

Gammage for Governor, P.O. Box 
13226, Austin, TX 78711