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    If Kinky Friedman were elected governor of Texas he would appoint Willie Nelson as state energy advisor.

    UTSA students chuckled at Friedman’s comment last Thursday in a filled auditorium in the University Center when he called Nelson the “Hillbilly Dali Lama.”

    Friedman said that Nelson would push Texans to use bio-diesel fuel. Bio-diesel is considered a cheaper alternative to gasoline.

    ”This is the only way to stop us from being slaves to the Mid-East,” Friedman said. “The Saudis are playing the jukebox, and the Americans are just dancing to the tune.”

    According to Friedman, bio-diesel will be the next big thing for energy instead of gasoline. Friedman believes Willie Nelson will be an excellent advisor since he drives a bio-diesel van on vegetable oil.

    ”If Willie Nelson can drive that van and get across America and pay less than we do,” Friedman said, “what the hell are we doing? It’s worth a shot.”

    Richard Friedman, affectionately known as “Kinky,” was invited by the College Democrats, who insisted that they were only giving a chance for all gubernatorial candidates to speak on campus.

    Friedman spoke informally to the large audience, discussing the famed picture of him drinking in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Austin.

    ”I admit to drinking the Guinness,” Friedman joked, “but I didn’t swallow.”

    A country music singer turned novelist, Friedman has become a Texas pop-culture icon with his sassy attitude and quick one-liners. At 61 years old, Friedman has decided to run for Texas governor as an independent.

    Friedman received a standing ovation when he stepped on the stage wearing his trademark black cowboy hat and holding an unlit cigar. He complained that he couldn’t light it indoors, but he kept it in his hand throughout his speech.

    ”We’re in the business of changing the world one governor at a time,” Friedman said.

    He warned the audience against trusting career politicians, people who make a business of being in power.

    ”The longer you are in politics, the worse you get,” he said.

    Kinky identified himself as the safest choice for governor since he is the only candidate that has no political experience whatsoever.

    ”I have more good human experience than political experience,” he said.

    He is not affiliated with any political party and said he was above party politics.

    ”The Republicans and Democrats-the Crips and the Bloods-only get off their asses to attack each other.”

    Like many of Governor Rick Perry’s opponents, disgust against the current education system led Friedman’s concerns for Texas.

    ”Education needs to be the centerpiece of Texas,” Friedman said. “The great teachers in Texas are bailing out.”

    Friedman also talked about how teaching used to be considered a great profession. Children who admit that they want to become teachers are now being encouraged otherwise because of low teacher salaries and less job security.

    ”In order to leave no teacher behind, we have to leave one governor behind,” Friedman said.

    On his plan to improve education, Friedman wants to get rid of the TASK test since he believes it diverts students from more important class lessons. He also wants to appoint teachers and others with school experience to the Texas education advisory.

    ”I want to appoint people who’ve seen the inside of a classroom,” he said.

    Friedman admitted that he wanted to make other changes in schools, such as instituting the Texas Peace Corps so that retired professionals can volunteer teach. He also wants to bring prayer into the classroom.

    ”What’s wrong with kids believing in something?” he asked, complaining that Texans have let the politically correct liberals run amok. “Political correctness is the enemy of liberty. They make us feel embarrassed about saying Merry Christmas. We invented Texas Hold’em and we can’t even play it here.”

    Gambling is something Friedman wants to legalize. States such as Louisiana and Mississippi are getting rich off casinos, and so can Texas. He showed the audience his ring with the face of an American Indian to remind him of all the Native American nations in Texas who want to open casinos.

    Friedman also admitted that he is for gay marriage.

    ”They [gays] have every right to be as miserable as the rest of us,” he said.

    According to Friedman, Proposition 2, which made gay marriage illegal in Texas, was a direct attempt to divert attention from more pressing concerns, such as education and the Texas border.

    The main problem Friedman sees with both education and the border is neglect.

    ”The good news is that Rick Perry has recently discovered that Texas has a border with Mexico,” he joked.

    ”I’d fill the board of regents with young people,” Friedman said, calling the current board of regents a “bunch of old farts” who are out of touch with the rest of Texas. Throughout his speech, he showed optimism for young Texans to improve the state.

    He didn’t hesitate to tell the audience what he thought about the current governor and all the things wrong with Texas.

    ”Jewish Cowboys speak the truth,” he said.

    According to Friedman, Perry and other Texas politicians don’t work for Texas anymore since they accept so much money from lobbyists and private enterprises that have been paying them under the table. With assurance, Friedman said to the audience, “I’ll never listen to a lobbyist.”

    With all the problems affecting Texas, Friedman said that there is good reason for people to want a change of governor.

    ”The older people in Texas are mad as hell. The younger people are inspired,” he said. “If the young people of Texas rise up, they will run Texas.”

    A young woman in the audience asked Friedman if he was underestimating the responsibility of Texas’ governor.

    ”Being governor is not that big of a deal,” Friedman responded. “Being governor is like being judge of a chili cook off.”

    Friedman’s ideology for running Texas is that the experienced should hold office.

    ”We need veterans running the veteran’s deal; we need teachers running education,” he said. “I’ll appoint the very best people to do the job simply because they are the very best people, and I’ll get the hell out of their way and let them do their job.”

    Friedman pushed students and other voters to turn out to the polls come November.

    ”A small turnout will mean Rick Perry will be governor,” he said. “A big turnout will mean I’ll be governor.

    ”It’s been 147 years since an independent-Sam Houston-has been on the ballot,” Friedman said, “and that’s too long.”

    Friedman closed his speech by saying “ask not if you’re proud of Texas; ask if you’ve made Texas proud of you.”

 

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