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Volume 72, Issue 28, Thursday, September 28, 2006

News

Friedman, Ventura encourage students to get to polls

by Justin Knapp
The Daily Cougar

Kinky Friedman, an independent Texas gubernatorial candidate, came to UH on Wednesday to stress the importance of young people voting.

Friedman's visit to the University was part of his college campaign tour.

Dressed in his trademark black cowboy hat and holding his cigar, Friedman spoke to students in the University Center's Houston Room. He opened his speech by defining politics.

"‘Poli' means ‘many,' and tics are blood sucking parasites, and that is what is running our state. I'm 61 years old. That's too young for Medicare and too old for women to care," Friedman said.

Friedman boasts that he has never held a political office. He believes that a non-politician would be better suited for public office than a lifetime politician.

Friedman addressed his ideas for alternative fuels. If elected, he said he would switch all school buses and state fleet vehicles to biodiesel fuel.

"If its good enough for Willie Nelson's tour bus, it's good enough for us," Friedman said.

Friedman said he would give Houston $100 million to hire more police. He claimed that this amount would hire 1,000 more officers.

"Houston's crime rate is growing and (Governor Rick) Perry has done nothing to help. I will give Houston $100 million to be spend on hiring and training more cops," Friedman said.

A key issue for Friedman is education reform. He said he plans on discontinuing the TAKS test and is calling for all teachers to have their salaries increased.

"The state has been playing Mickey Mouse games with the teachers' salaries and I am sick of it," Friedman said.

The student group Coogs For Kinky hosted Friedman's visit to UH. The group had a voter registration booth at the speech.

"We had a way better turnout from the students than we had expected," said James Lancaster, president of Coogs for Kinky.

After Friedman spoke, Jesse Ventura, former independent governor of Minnesota, made a speech. He is backing Friedman's campaign. Friedman's campaign manager is Dean Barkley, who also served as Jesse Ventura's campaign manager in the 1998 Minnesota gubernatorial election. 

"We only have two choices in this country and this State. Two choices gives us one more choice than Communist Russia," Ventura said.

Ventura's election win was partly because of support from young voters. He told students Wednesday that politicians do not listen to them because they do not vote.

"There are people out in this world right now who are willing to give their life for a chance to vote. Voting is a right here in America and everyone needs to get out there," Ventura said. "Don't bitch if you don't vote. Get out there and vote because Jesse ‘The Body' Ventura says so."

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