By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND/ODESSA - The battle for Governor is heating up, and on Friday Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Bill White wrapped up a visit to West Texas. He said when it comes to energy, education and the economy, Governor Rick Perry isn't doing enough. But not everyone agrees. On Friday, NewsWest 9 had a one-on-one interview with the former Houston Mayor.
"West Texas has challenges, but it has a great future," White explained. "This election is going to be a battle between those people who like me, think that Texas' future will be better than its past, and those who look back in the past, and want to go back."
On Friday, White visited with voters in both Midland and Odessa. Some are predicting a close race against incumbent Rick Perry this November. On Friday afternoon, White spoke with NewsWest 9 on a number of issues, and he came out right away on education saying he wants to see more high school graduates.
"Well, anybody who says our dropout rates or try and minimize the fact that even using his statistics, hundreds of thousands of people don't complete high school doesn't get it," White explained. "They're out of touch. In the global economy, if you don't have a high school diploma and an additional skill and even more, you're out of luck and that hurts us all."
White challenged Rick Perry, saying Perry is a career politician who lacks the private oil and gas business experience White brings to the table. On Friday, supporters of Rick Perry with the Ector County Republican Party hit back, saying right now, education is something Rick Perry is improving.
"He's trying to work with various government entities, trying to get teachers motivated, and trying different programs," Joshua Crawford, with the Ector County Republican Party, said. "What you do in East Texas isn't going to work in West Texas. What you do in one district isn't going to work in another district. Something done at the state level may not be good for everybody."
White also talked about energy, and how natural gas and renewable sources is the way to go to get more jobs.
"I helped fund the first big wind project in Texas. It was in West Texas," White said. "I predicted 16 years ago, that this would start a trend of wind projects, which would supplement our power supply, and be a source of employment for West Texas."
Not a lot of debate on that point, but Perry supporters said harnessing different forms of energy is something the Governor has and will continue to do.
"He has an all above strategy, whether it be nuclear, wind, bio fuels, he's going to be for anything to help out the economy," Crawford said. "Luckily for us in West Texas, nearly all of those can be done right here. No matter what form of energy it is."
The debate itself is far from over. For Bill White, he said now is time and chance to make things better.
"I'm a business person who knows how to get things done," White said. "I'm running against a career politician who's been in office for 20 years. I need people's help."
Friday's interview with Bill White, and the Republican response touched on a wide range of issues. Throughout this weekend, we'll have even more debate on the issues from both sides.