Thursday, July 28, 2005

It's Official

From Chris Bell, Democratic candidate for Governor of Texas:

Dear Friend,
Over the past half year, I have traveled all over Texas, literally exploring the race for governor. You have indulged me in this process as I sought the answers to some important questions, some personal (and Alison's doing better every day, thanks) and some of them public: Can a Texas Democrat win? Are Texas Democrats ready to try something different? Do people see what is happening in Texas the same way that I do?

Well, I have my answers, and today I am proud to share the news that I've decided to run for governor.

If you ever want people to question your sanity, explore running for statewide office as a Democrat in Texas. When this started, I had no clue as to how people might respond. I have not been that nervous about getting on the phone since running for Houston City Council the first time. Everyone agreed that it would be a tough road for any Democrat but, interestingly, the overwhelming majority of people with whom I spoke could also see that Rick Perry is creating a huge opportunity for a Democrat. They also agreed it wasn't enough for me to be right about Rick Perry being wrong; it would take a positive message that could unite all Texans.

As I've traveled the state, I've been talking about the "New Mainstream," the disaffected majority of Texans who know that Rick Perry couldn't lead a silent prayer. I've been talking about how budgets are moral documents that have both a fiscal impact as well as a human cost. And, as a public school parent, I've learned that parents and teachers across Texas share my frustrations with Enron-style accountability that encourages dropouts and systematic fraud by teaching our kids nothing as much as how to take yet another standardized test.

The best part of the exploration phase has been watching as people came out of their seats to cheer. Some memories have really stuck with me: the young college student who approached me in Brazos County, with tears in her eyes, telling me how inspired she was by what I had said; the pastor in Mount Pleasant who told me he would be with me all the way; the County Chair in Lubbock starting the chant, "Run Chris, run!" I won't pretend that people were responding to me so much as to hearing someone talk about the world the way it is, and not just the way it polls.

The one remaining question was whether my wife, Alison, would be up for the fight. I am happy to tell you that the prognosis after chemotherapy is as good as it can get. Ali has been my rock ever since we've been together, and there's no way I would embark on something as challenging as a race for governor without her feeling up to it. As everyone knows, she's every bit the fighter I am, and she feels strong enough to join me in this battle.

We're launching our campaign for governor on Sunday afternoon, August 14th, at 2PM in Austin, and Alison and I want you to join us there. If you would like to help organize participants from your city, please let us know. Information about the launch rally is available here.

We are going in with eyes wide open, aware not only of the odds but also of the possibilities to achieve great things for Texas. I look forward to seeing you in Austin and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendship and support.



P.S. Ironically, as I was writing this letter, I received a "thought for today" email from a friend. It was a quote from Anatole France that says, "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." I couldn't have said it better myself. I dream of a better state and believe we can build it together.

We all know who that chair is.


At 4:49 PM, Blogger johnnie said...

I thought you might find it interesting that KFYO AM radio called about Chris Bell's Lubbock comment. They actually ran the following story and posted it on their website. Maybe Lubbock is beginning to see the damage done by the current Texas administration.

The story follows: (I was afraid the link would only be up for a day or so.)

Former Houston Congressman Announces Gubernatorial Bid
Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 7:05pm

Former Houston Congressman Chris Bell announced his candidacy for the governor's office Thursday. He will seek the democratic nomination.

Bell served one term as a U.S. Represenative for the Houston area before losing to fellow Democrat Al Green after the redrawing of his district.

Bell made the announcement via e-mail to supporters, stating "I'm in."

He stated in the email Lubbock County Democratic Chair Johnnie Jones was a source of motivation, following a rally in Lubbock during his exploration of his option to run.

Both Bell and Jones pointed to the struggle of school finance reform as an issue to run on.

"It could not be more obvious that at a state level, the Republicans either do not know how to govern or they are choosing not to govern," Jones told KFYO News. "You can't have control of the Senate, the House of Represenatives and the Governor's Mansion and have anyone to blame other than yourself for not getting the job done."

Bell said in the e-mail the overwhelming majoity of people he has spoken with could see that Rick Perry is creating a huge opportunity for a Democrat.

County Chair Jones spoke to the same topic.

"I think this is the best it has looked in a very long time," Jones said. "The state is in dismal shape. We are tired of being last or near last in every ranking."

Jones said there needs to be overhaul of the education system. She said Texas students rank 48th nationally on SAT scores.

Bell will launch his campaign August 14 in Austin.

There are already three candiates for Texas Governor as on the Republican side, Governor Rick Perry (who will be running for reelection) and Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn have thrown their hats in the ring. Independent Kinky Freedman has also announced his candidacy for Governor.


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