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Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2002 12:00 am

Sanchez hits on campaign finance

BY EMMA PEREZ-TREVIO

The Brownsville Herald

Texas gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez on Friday had strong words for the

current governor, his opponent, and campaigns financed by big-money donors.

At the second of three South Texas stops this week, Sanchez spoke to

supporters at the opening of his campaign headquarters at 1325 Palm Blvd. in

Brownsville.

What Texans need is a lobbyist, he said. A governor should lobby for the

people because they dont have a lobbyist.

(Gov. Rick Perry) is very sensitive to the big HMOs and big insurance

companies, but when it comes to the people of Texas who need him the most, he

is not there.

Sanchez also took jabs at former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales. Morales

and Sanchez are both seeking a nod from Democrats in the March 12 primary.

Sanchez hinted Friday that Morales is behind the circulation of a memo

suggesting that Sanchez shares blame for the failure of his Laredo-based

Tesoro Savings and Loan and the federal bailout that reportedly cost taxpayers

more than $150 million.

Mr. Morales knows (the allegations) are false and he still keeps distributing

it, Sanchez said.

He keeps slinging mud at me but, you know, I certainly cant stop him but

thats not the way to conduct yourself in a campaign.

On the subject of running a campaign, Sanchez explained his thoughts on

campaign finance and the laws regulating it.

Were going to have to take a hard look at campaign finance reform, he said,

touching on concerns about hefty political contributions made by companies

that do business with the state.

When we get big companies coming in and contributing so much, we need to

understand the relationships and we need to understand the reasons why that is

happening, he said.

Sanchez again called on Gov. Perry to return more than $200,000 in political

contributions received from executives at Houston-based oil giant Enron, now

bankrupt and the subject of a federal investigation.

Hes been given ample opportunity and I think its a mistake not to return

that money, Sanchez said. I think its wrong. I think he should return it.

Sanchez pointed to legislation introduced by State Rep. Pete Gallego,

D-Alpine, as a step in the right direction for advocates of campaign finance

reform. Gallegos bill called for contribution limits and addresses corporate

contributions but has not found support among state legislators.

Its got a lot of good ideas that Ive been talking to Mr. Gallego about,

Sanchez said.

Depending on the wording, I think Im going to be quite supportive of that,

he added.

Moving on to transportation, Sanchez commented on Perrys proposed $175

billion transportation initiative, the Trans Texas Corridor.

Noting that he has not had time to study the proposal in detail, Sanchez said,

What I dont like about it is that its a 50-year plan.

That bothers me because I dont think you or I are going to be here 50 years

from now, he said.

He does, however, foresee concerns about those who stand to gain from the

proposal.

That is going to be an issue, Sanchez said. That is going to be a major,

major issue because I know he is talking about billions and billions of

dollars and you have to be very careful about that.

For now, Sanchez is concentrating on the task at hand the election.

Im not kidding myself; I know this is going to be a very tough and hard

campaign, so I will ask all of you, please help us, Sanchez told supporters

at the opening of his headquarters.

His daughter Ana Lee will stay in the Rio Grande Valley through the March

primary to assist supporters in campaign fieldwork and other areas.

The 23-year-old worked on the successful campaigns of Virginia Gov. Mark

Warner and New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey.

My wife, my children and I are sacrificing a lot, he said, and I would

respectfully ask you, please sacrifice some of your time.

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