Politics & Government

Democrats clash on death penalty in Texas gubernatorial debate

FORT WORTH — One of the few things on which the state's two top Democratic candidates for governor agreed Monday, during their first and likely only debate, is that it's time for change in Texas.

Former Houston Mayor Bill White and Houston hair-care magnate Farouk Shami say that Republican leaders have been in charge of Texas for too long -- more than 15 years -- and that a Democrat can make vast improvements in areas that affect Texans, from jobs to education.

"I believe Texans ... are tired of strife and partisanship ... and I can provide a change," White said. "This race ... is going to be about Texas' future. We need a governor who will work for the future of all the residents of our state."

Shami said that he's not a politician but that he believes he can make the state better than it is today.

"People want a change, a major change," he said. "Thank God we finally have a president called Barack Hussein Obama. ... The state is ready for a brown governor named Farouk Shami."

The two answered questions for an hour in front of an audience of about 40 people during the KERA-produced debate, which the Star-Telegram co-sponsored. They had numerous sharp disagreements, most notably on border security and whether Texas should consider a moratorium on the death penalty.

Read the full story at star-telegram.com