2006.07.31: July 31, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Humor: Election2006 - Friedman: Waxahachie Daily Light: Kinky Friedman calls himself "a compassionate redneck"

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malaysia: Special Report: Author, Humorist and Malaysia RPCV Kinky Friedman: February 9, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: RPCV Kinky Friedman (Malaysia) : 2006.07.31: July 31, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Humor: Election2006 - Friedman: Waxahachie Daily Light: Kinky Friedman calls himself "a compassionate redneck"

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Kinky Friedman calls himself "a compassionate redneck"

Kinky Friedman  calls himself a compassionate redneck

“I’m too young for Medicare and too old for women to care,” he said, drawing the first of many laughs from the crowd. He pointed out he’s a newcomer to the political scene, unlike three of his opponents - incumbent Gov. Rick Perry, independent Carole Strayhorn and Democrat Chris Bell - who he described as “three little people with 88 years of political life” between themselves. Author, Musician, and candidate for Governor of Texas, Kinky Friedman served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia in the 1960's.

Kinky Friedman calls himself "a compassionate redneck"

On the trail with Kinky

By JOANN LIVINGSTON Daily Light Managing Editor
Monday, July 31, 2006 1:11 PM CDT

ROUND ROCK - Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman continues to take his message - both the humorous and serious sides - across the state and to a variety of audiences.

The author, entertainer and former Texas Monthly columnist was a featured speaker during the recent sixth annual Equity Center and Schwartz & Eichelbaum, P.C., Seminar on School Finance and Legal Issues in Round Rock. Friedman was the only gubernatorial candidate invited to speak at the conference.

Wearing his trademark all-black attire and holding one of his signature cigars, the 61-year-old Friedman described himself to the almost 200 superintendents and other administrative officials in attendance as “a compassionate redneck.”

“I’m too young for Medicare and too old for women to care,” he said, drawing the first of many laughs from the crowd. He pointed out he’s a newcomer to the political scene, unlike three of his opponents - incumbent Gov. Rick Perry, independent Carole Strayhorn and Democrat Chris Bell - who he described as “three little people with 88 years of political life” between themselves.

“That’s not how our founding fathers would have wanted it,” said Freidman, who presents his newness to politics - and sense of humor - as strengths that allow him to see matters with an outsider’s objectivity and ideas.

“Frankly, I think we need to have a little more fun in politics, and get the politicians out of politics,” he said, saying the other candidates seemed to have “humor bypasses.”

“I think Texas is ready for a non-politician,” he said. “Your accidental candidates are often the good ones.”

Vision for the state

Interspersing ideas and plans with his humor, Friedman talked about his vision for the state if elected governor. He said he intends to put Texas singer Willie Nelson, who has been opening bio-diesel facilities in the state, in charge of energy issues. Friedman said he’s also receiving support from singer Jimmy Buffet, who although a Florida resident, has expressed interest in helping him with his campaign.

Musicians may not be the first to get up in the morning, “but we’re honest and we’ll work late into the night,” he said.

Texas needs to be No. 1 again in areas that count, such as education and health care, Friedman said.

“While the governor (Perry) has zealously been banning gay marriage - and I’m sure that’s affected all of you - we’ve dropped to 50th in education,” Friedman said, “and now, Guam and Samoa are sneaking up on us.

“I would so love to be No. 1 in something besides executions, toll roads and property taxes,” he said.

As a way to bring new revenues in, Friedman said he’ll push for the legalization of gambling, saying it’s foolish economy-wise to allow other states - such as Oklahoma and Louisiana - to build their economies on Texas dollars.

He criticized the state lottery, saying, “What has six balls and screws Texas? The lottery. This is no little secret, we all know this.”

The state of Georgia provides college education benefits for children with its state lottery, he said. “In Texas, what have we got? Every time a bell rings, another lobbyist gets his wings.”

As governor, Friedman said he would not meet with lobbyists - the same stance he said taken by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura when he was in office.

“I cannot be bought,” he said.

Acknowledging he doesn’t have a lot of answers nor has he taken a stand on every issue at this point, Friedman said that one stand he has taken is to see prayer allowed back into the schools.

“A spiritual climate is very important in our schools,” he said, adding, “May the god of your choice bless you.”

Mixing humor and seriousness, Friedman drew yet another laugh when he added, “Education is, I think, the noblest profession of all … (pause) although it’s not the oldest.”

Recent moves by Perry have resulted in “a crumb” being thrown at public education, Freidman said, saying that the legalization of gambling in Texas would bring in from $6 to $8 billion a year as a permanent revenue stream, money that now flows out of Texas to five other states.

“There’s a far religious right and a far left (movement), and these people are holding back the great state of Texas,” he said.

Friedman also supports the privatization of student athletics, saying this would allow more corporate sponsorship and outside funding of those programs, which in turn would free up additional dollars for academics. He also supports a surcharge on “big oil.”

Involving more people

To involve more people in public education, Friedman has plans for a Texas Peace Corps that would bring people with “wisdom and love to give” into the schools to share their life’s work in such areas as art and music as well as their experiences.

Under the current system, though, that wouldn’t be feasible, he said, saying, “If you did that today, though, you’d be in a heap of trouble, because it’s not on the test.”

Friedman said that with the exception of Perry, all of the gubernatorial candidates want to see the TAKS test “go.”

“Who wants to be a Stepford wife teaching the same crap?” he said, describing the flight of teachers from public education as a tragedy. “We need to get rid of this overpowering concept that gives everybody a nervous breakdown and doesn’t generate revenue.

“It seems clear to me (that the current political climate) wouldn’t mind if public schools cratered in Texas,” he said. “We’re the first in dropouts and the last in kids getting into college.”

With more than 3,000 appointments to be made by a governor, Friedman said he and his staff would focus on putting “the brightest and the best” people into positions such as the commissioner of education.

“My plan is to appoint the very best people that I can find and get out of their way and let them do their job. I want people who have a passion about Texas and who care about her and who will do the right thing,” he said. “It’s a plan that’s never been tried here before.”

Friedman, who has described the Republican and Democratic parties as the Crips and Bloods of politics, is trying to become the first independent candidate since Sam Houston in 1859 to become governor.

“I’m a conservative,” he said, saying Austin is out of touch with the populace and that his recommendation is to never re-elect anyone. “I believe in limited, efficient government - and that’s the opposite we’re getting from the Republican Party. … It’s time for a change and a fundamental change.”

A key focus for Friedman during his campaign is to change voter apathy at the polls. Criticizing Perry for driving 71 percent of the voters away during the last gubernatorial election, Friedman said he’s reaching out to people in a grass roots campaign that is seeing him travel the main roads and back roads of Texas. He’s also involving young people, he said, saying, “I think young people can run Texas and I think we should let them.”


Thriving on one-on-one contact, Friedman spends as much time as possible at every stop, signing autographs and T-shirts, taking photographs and visiting with people.

“I’ll sign anything except bad legislation,” he told the Equity Center’s conference crowd.

More than an hour later, he was still signing and visiting as he worked his way through the long line of people, listening to their concerns and answering questions. Many of those also met with his longtime sidekick and campaign organizer, Little Jewford, to schedule a Friedman appearance in their area.

“This is about Kinky Friedman against apathy,” Friedman said. “I want prayer in schools and politicians out of politics. It’s a dual message, and if we add into that clean energy and clean government, I think we can reach our stars.

“I think the train of Texas is in a ditch, and I don’t think the people presiding over her can put her right. They can’t put her right,” he said. “All of the passengers on that train are the residents of Texas and, come Nov. 7, those residents are going to put her right again.”

When this story was posted in August 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Waxahachie Daily Light

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Malaysia; Writing - Malaysia; Humor; Election2006 - Friedman


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