Thursday, November 02, 2006

"They brought us NAFTA, they brought us CAFTA, and now they want to give us the 'SHAFTA.' You know I don't like it."

A Day In The Life Of Carole Keeton Strayhorn

Nov 2, 2006

Keith ElkinsReporting
CBS 42 (Austin)
Copyright 2006

Independent candidate for governor Carole Keeton Strayhorn issued a challenge to Governor Rick Perry Thursday.

Strayhorn challenged the governor to come out from what she calls political attack ads and meet her face to face on the campaign trail.

So far, Governor Perry hasn’t responded.

CBS 42 News spent Wednesday on the campaign trail with Strayhorn as she traveled to Waco and Fort Worth.

Only five days away from the election and this Independent candidate is determined to fight it out with Governor Perry till the very end.

They were members of the same political party. But don't get the wrong idea, Carole Strayhorn and Rick Perry rarely if ever agreed with each another.

As Republicans, they've been hurling attacks and insults at each other for years. And now that she calls herself an Independent, the rhetoric is heating up even more since the governor unveiled a new ad campaign calling Strayhorn a politician woman.

At 5’1” tall this 67-year old grandmother is a spitfire calling for change.

"I understand, teachers work is never done," Strayhorn said.

She was the first woman mayor of Austin, first woman elected Austin School Board president, and first female state comptroller of Texas.

"I don't believe I was the top vote getter in the state based on my good looks," Strayhorn said.

Now she is slugging it out with incumbent Governor Rick Perry hoping to take his job.

She insists education is her top priority.

"What he calls Trans Texas Corridor I call trans Texas catastrophe and as governor I will blast it off the bureaucratic books,” she said.

But everywhere she goes her toll road opposition seems to draw the biggest applause.

"It is a $184 billion boondoggle, it was negotiated behind closed doors, secret contracts all Texans didn't get to participate in that,” Strayhorn said. “All of our contractors didn't get to participate in that. And even after they made 1,600 pages public you still don't know where that route's going and you're not going to know until after Nov. 7 because that's the name of the game.”

Angry voters like Charles and marry Whitaker support Strayhorn because they believe Governor Perry is forcing them off their land.

"Certainly, we are independent people. We make our living in the dirt and they don't, " Mary Whitaker said.

"They brought us NAFTA, they brought us KAFTA, and now they want to bring us shafta you know I don't like it," Charles Whitaker said.

Strayhorn doesn't like Governor Perry’s latest political ads either, which refer to her three times as a politician woman.

"I called out the governor on these political attack ads and his response from Washington, D.C. was, 'I must be missing something',” Strayhorn said. “Well, I certainly agree with that he is missing something."

In rapid fire fashion she predicts voters agree with her and are ready for a change.

"This campaign is going off like a roman candle,” Strayhorn said. “Next Tuesday, Nov. 7, the people of Texas are going to elect the first independent governor since 1859 because they know Carole Keeton Strayhorn will shake Austin up and get things done and stop the dividing and have a united Texas.”

Hoping to win over voters like Tracy Mulgrove.

"Normally I vote Republican and I’ve been very disappointed with a lot of the Republican aspects,” Mulgrove said.

Hoping to turn that disappointment into enough independent votes for change.

Strayhorn says its going to be a very close election and spends every minute reminding voters every single vote will count.

With five candidates in this race, whoever ends up with the most votes wins even if they're not supported by a majority of Texans they represent.

Early voting ends Friday and election day is next Tuesday.

© 2006 CBS Stations Group of Texas L.P: