Monday, September 05, 2005

Needing to step up to the plate

The other day I wrote about being proud of how Texans are pitching in to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. I am truly proud of all we have done in our state. Texas has taken in almost 250,000 refugees. Austin alone has taken in 4,000. This includes people at the centers as well as others staying at motels and friends and family.

Other neighboring states have taken their fair share. Small states (talking economics and population) have really opened their hearts. Arkansas has taken in 70,000 refugees. More than 10,000 people are in Memphis. Mississippi and Alabama are also taking in Louisiana refugees, despite the fact that they are struggling with their own hurricane victims.

I think it's time for other states to step up to our plate. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called for other states to help. Right now there are more refugees in Austin than there are in California, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona and Illinois combined. And Austin doesn't have the facilities to handle this, unlike the larger cities of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio; I can't even imagine how those cities are handling it. Texans are always glad to help, and let's face it, it's the right thing to do. But we are struggling with our own economic problems -- we couldn't even pass education funding during the summer's legislative session. What happened in New Orleans was not a Louisiana disaster, it wasn't a southern disaster, it was an American disaster and I think it's time for some other states to pitch in and help.

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