This week, the Texas AFL-CIO held a press conference to offer Gov. Rick Perry, and the First Lady of Texas, use of a “single-wide” manufactured home they had hauled to their parking lot and placed on cinder blocks in downtown Austin. While reasonable people may disagree on the type of accommodations Governor and Mrs. Perry should occupy while the historic Governor’s Mansion is being rebuilt, this publicity stunt should be an insult to all Texans.

When reading the proposal, one can’t help but almost feel the disdain the union has for those that choose to live in such homes. While perhaps a perfectly good place to live and sleep, I think many Texans would acknowledge that the duties and responsibilities of being governor extend past a physical office, and are often brought home.

Even Paul Burka of Texas Monthly, who’s been overtly hostile to Governor Perry’s re-election campaign, criticized Democrat Bill White’s attempt to make this a campaign issue last month, and recognized that “the governor of Texas should occupy a dwelling where he can host visitors and special events and affairs of state.”

Apparently not realizing that this is a loser of an issue, the union bosses are now bringing it up, and want to have the governor “lease” a home from them for $1 per year. Even if the offer were taken at face value, would it be legal? Furthermore, were union membership dues spent on, or did the rank-and-file members approve of, this scheme?

Is this just a gimmick to attack Gov. Perry, or will the Texas AFL-CIO take a stand on whether other state officials should be given a per diem for living expenses while they’re in Austin conducting official business? Maybe our state legislators should just pitch tents on the Capitol grounds like they did back in the 1800s?

This joke is an expensive distraction from the serious issues confronting Texans, and is an insult to the Office of the Governor, regardless of who holds the position.

If this is a legitimate offer, perhaps Bill White will accept it as an in-kind contribution and live there throughout the remainder of the campaign.


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