NPT: Bill White: “No, I don’t” and other positions
Houston mayor and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bill White dropped in on Saturday’s Ray Pearson Forum and fielded questions on everything from solar energy to running a stormwater utility.
He was brought there by El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza.
White, Houston’s strong mayor for the past five years, is among a hoard of Republican and Democratic candidates going for the seat that Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison intends to leave to run for Texas governor.
He opened with a shot at Republicans, saying, “I think there’s something wrong when people hope for the failure of the administration just to score political points.”
White presides over the nation’s fourth-largest city as chief executive officer in the last city in Texas with a strong mayor form of government.
As a former deputy secretary of energy, he noted Houston has put solar panels on city buildings to reduce energy costs that El Paso is a far better place than Houston for solar power.
He said he had no idea why El Paso, and El Paso Electric Co., in particular, isn’t taking advantage of its solar power opportunities, adding that many utilities are apprehensive of allowing too much solar power, which could reduce their revenues.
Asked about immigration reform, he said, the nation cannot have open borders “but people who have been here for 20 years working shouldn’t be dragged out of their house in the middle of the night and put on a bus.”
A better solution is needed and “it’s a question of balance,” he said.
He was hawkish on the drug war, however, and advocated giving “as much support as we can to those people in Mexico who are fighting drug trafficking.”
Asked if he supported some form of national health care, he said flatly, “No, I don’t,” and said what is needed is some way of providing more group coverage to people who are uninsured.