Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"My campaign is not the joke. It's the Texas Legislature that's a joke."

Kinky sees Legislature as the joke

Candidate speaks at local music store

June 28, 2005

By Jaime Powell
Corpus Christi Caller-Times Copyright 2005

Kinky Friedman took time out from signing copies of his latest book at Surf Club Records on Monday to make a case for why he should be elected governor. Wearing a black, fringed leather vest, cowboy hat and Wranglers, he looked anything but a politician as he discussed what was wrong with Texas politics.

"My campaign is not the joke," he said, his trademark cigar hanging from his lips. "It's the Texas Legislature that's a joke. I think it's an easy job, and it's one that's not being done the way it should be."

Friedman, a humorist, performer, mystery writer and Texas Monthly columnist, chatted with the more than 60 people who filed through the Water Street store while he signed copies of his new book, "Texas Hold 'Em."

"We love this guy," said Corpus Christi resident Earlene Caldwell. "He's the official spokesman for Texas. He speaks plain English and makes perfect sense."

In the evening, he raised funds for his gubernatorial race at Nuevo Cafe, telling supporters he wants to revamp education in Texas, starting with no more teaching to standardized tests.

To pay for it, he wants to legalize casino gambling in an initiative he is calling "slots for tots."

He also wants to re-examine the death penalty and appoint people such as teachers and police officers to cabinet positions, he said. Other initiatives he has advocated in his gubernatorial bid as an independent include abolishing political correctness and outlawing the de-clawing of cats.

Friedman, 60, says he is not a bureaucrat or a politician, but a writer of fiction who speaks the truth.

It will be an uphill battle for Friedman to get on the ballot because Texas election laws make it nearly impossible for a candidate not tied to a political party to get there, he said.

He will need signatures from 50,000 registered voters to get on the ballot, none of whom plans to vote in either local or state primary elections during the upcoming election cycle.

"The current system is the way career politicians in Texas have kept a stranglehold on the electorate," he said.

If Friedman gets on the ballot, he will face the winner of what is expected to be a fight between Republican Gov. Rick Perry and State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who has announced she will run in the Republican primary.

Contact Jaime Powell at 886-3716or powellj@caller.com

Corpus Christi Caller-Times