Texas Independent Candidate for Governor Carole Keeton Strayhorn today announced her "Secure Texas" plan that includes putting the Texas Rangers in charge of the state's counterterrorism and security activities, including securing our state's ports, our border with Mexico, and critically-important infrastructure; improving economic conditions in poverty-stricken border communities, and expanding education opportunities to children along the border.
"We will secure our ports, borders, and critical infrastructure, and will make sure we are doing all we can to stop illegal immigration," Strayhorn said. "Texas leads the nation in the number of refineries, pipelines, and ports, all of which are highly vulnerable to multiple, al-Qaeda-style terrorist attacks. Moreover, we have an immense coastline and international border to protect. We have the resources; we just need the leadership and the will to act.
"My Texas First Agenda calls for great schools for our children, real security for our families, and responsible government for our citizens," Strayhorn said. "Security for our families means protecting Texans from threats all over Texas."
Strayhorn's Secure Texas plan will:
- Charge the Texas Rangers to coordinate and oversee state homeland security in direct coordination with the federal government and private sector organizations to provide emergency assistance in a time of crisis.
- Place the Texas Rangers in charge of counterterrorism and double the size of Texas Rangers, creating five new companies - the Rapid Response Company, the Western Border Company, the Southern Border Company, the Coastal Company, and the Special Weapons and Tactics Training Team - costing $15 million - paid for by eliminating wasteful government spending and making security a top priority.
- Require the Texas Rangers to immediately perform a comprehensive risk assessment to determine where the state is most vulnerable, in partnership with the private sector and mutual aid associations; evaluate those risks; assign adequate resources to protect them; and reassess those risks regularly.
- Create an elite Special Weapons and Tactics Training Team within the Texas Rangers to make sure local border law enforcement agencies have all the personnel and tools needed to keep our border and border communities safe and secure, enhance security during high-risk events, and at both public and private high-risk infrastructure.
- Strengthen our Rio Grande border communities through Strayhorn's Texas First agenda including improving living conditions in poverty-stricken border communities by dedicating an additional $84 million - an average of $6 million per county on the Texas-Mexico border. The funds will be used in the border communities for improving infrastructure, including water, electricity and roads, and increasing resources for colonia self-help centers.
- Implement Strayhorn's Great Schools plan, including TexasNextStep - which will allow every high school graduate to have the opportunity to attend a public technical or community college with the state picking up the cost of tuition, fees, and books
"When called to serve, the Texas Rangers have responded throughout Texas history," Strayhorn said. "As Governor, I am going to give this elite law enforcement organization the resources and responsibility to tackle one of our greatest challenges - securing our state.
"Our Gulf ports and border entry points are vulnerable," Strayhorn said. "First, we need to secure our borders and ports, assess real threats to public and private areas, and we need to protect Texas. My administration will commit whatever resources are needed to prevent attacks against Texans and our infrastructure and to help stop the flow of illegal immigration.
"With a biennial budget of $142 billion, which has increased $44 billion dollars the last six years, we have the money to pay for real security for our state. We need the will to wisely direct our resources to top priorities; real security for our families will be a top priority in a Strayhorn administration.
"The Texas border is literally the 'Center of the Americas.' Our border region and our ports are critically important to the economies of North, South, and Central America. and to the lives and livelihood of billions of people. We must have a strong, secure border, safe and secure ports and infrastructure, and a vibrant, healthy and educated workforce along the border and across Texas.
"I want Texas to have the most educated workforce in the nation. My TexasNextStep program, along with my plan for Great Schools for our kids, will provide the opportunity for high-paying, high-skilled jobs for these young adults and a real incentive not to drop out of school. We must break the cycle of poverty, strengthen our border communities, and strengthen Texas."
Strayhorn said her NextStep idea was inspired by her visit with a grandmother living in a colonia.