Election Day 2010: Race for Texas

It’s the day senior history major George Dunn has been talking about for a long time.

Rick Perry has been governor of Texas for 10 years, and while the Texas economy has held strong compared to the rest of the nation, Houston mayor Bill White thinks it is time for a new face in the Austin capitol. He hopes it is his.

Dunn worked on White’s campaign for governor, but his activism didn’t end there. He used his passion for politics to spread throughout the campus.

“I got deputized to register people to vote,” he said. “I went to the tax assessor-collector office and got the registration cards for people to fill out. I think you had to be 18 and not committed a felony to be deputized.”

Dunn set up a sign at a table in Hardy and the SUB that read “Register to vote here.” He was often met with strange looks as he sat with his stack of materials, but many students took the opportunity and filled out cards. Dunn estimates that he sent in about 50 forms.

“It’s hard to find people who are even registered to vote at all,” he said. “It’s something we really take for granted. We all have the power and have a voice. I see a campus that is very apolitical and seems scared to involve itself in politics, but we have to be political if we want to be involved in what happens in our country.”

Today is Election Day, but those who aren’t registered yet won’t have a chance to cast a ballot this year. Even though it’s a midterm election and no changes will happen in the White House, seats in the House, Senate and governor’s office all up for grabs throughout the nation.

Belton lies in district 31, where Republican U.S. Representative John Carter is running for reelection against Democrat Bill Oliver.

But the main focus is the governor’s seat. Perry, who has become known nationally for his appearances on Fox News and other channels, is even rumored to be considering a bid for President if he wins in Texas again.

Former president George W. Bush hinted Perry would make an ideal presidential candidate in 2012.

Skeptics wonder how someone who discussed Texas secession last year could make a leader for the whole nation, but his intensity and Texas pride have been rally points for others.

White also has an impressive track record. According to the mayor’s website, during his service, Houston led the nation’s cities in job growth, adding more jobs than 37 states combined.

Liberty Institute’s Voter’s Guide says White agrees with his party by being in favor of laws to protect workers from being discriminated because of sexual orientation. He also is for increasing minimum wage, government-run healthcare, and sexual education that includes but is not exclusive about sexual abstinence. He is opposed to an abortion ban.

Perry is strongly for the abortion ban, while strongly opposing increasing minimum wage, new sex education and legislation to protect workers from sexual orientation discrimination.

Also running for governor is Libertarian Kathie Glass and green party candidate Deb Shafto. While these two candidates are not expected to make a serious push for the governor’s position, they may pull votes from either major party.

All the dramatics of television commercials and qualifications may be lost on college students. Even with Dunn’s campus activism, a majority of UMHB students asked aren’t even voting in the election. In fact, many were unsure who is even running.

“I probably won’t vote. I don’t know how. I did presidential voting at home,” said junior Christian ministry major Kendall Doles. “I need my mom to help me.”

But others are very vocal about their opinions.

“I’m all for Rick Perry. I like what he does. Texas has a good economy,” said sophomore mass communication/public relations major Luke Donahue. “If Texas secedes or he becomes president I’d be happy.”

To Dunn, what matters is that students just get out and vote.

“For people who aren’t registered here I’m asking them to please go out and vote.”

Author: Evan Duncan

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