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Select Commission on Higher Education and Global Competitiveness

Interview with Bill White

Bill White

Bill White

Today we begin my interview series for the 2010 Democratic primary, and we begin it with the man who has helped get so many of us excited about the 2010 elections in Texas, former Houston Mayor Bill White, who is running for Governor. I don’t think a whole lot of introduction is required here, but White has been a very successful businessman, an Undersecretary of Energy in the Clinton administration, a past Chair of the Texas Democratic Party, and of course a three-term Mayor of the City of Houston. Without further ado, here is the interview:

Download the MP3 file

One thing to add: In the interview, White refers to a report by the Select Commission on Higher Education and Global Competitiveness, which apparently isn’t available on Governor Perry’s website even though he appointed five of its members. (Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and then-Speaker Tom Craddick appointed the other members.) White provided a copy of the report to me, which you can get here. It’s long and detailed, but the Executive Summary, which begins as follows, gives you a good taste of what it’s about.

The Select Commission on Higher Education and Global Competitiveness envisioned for Texas a dynamic economy that is competitive with the best economies in the world and that ensures opportunity for a high quality of life for all citizens of the state. This vision can be accomplished only if Texas commits to:

• Educating a highly skilled workforce capable of functioning effectively in a global economy.
• Developing an expanding and innovating economy that can take full advantage of the skills of this workforce.

Texas is not globally competitive. The state faces a downward spiral in both quality of life and economic competitiveness if it fails to educate more of its growing population (both youth and adults) to higher levels of attainment, knowledge and skills. The rate at which educational capital is currently being developed is woefully inadequate. Texas also needs an innovation-based economy in all the state’s regions that can fully employ a more capable workforce. It must generate more external research funding, and commercialize ideas and intellectual property at a volume substantially greater than currently taking place.

So there you have it. I will maintain a list of the interviews I do on the 2010 Election page. As always, feedback is appreciated.