Houston Democrat candidates for governor Farouk Shami and Bill White met in Fort Worth Monday night for their first debate before next month's primary. Each, naturally, declared the debate ended in their favor. To read a complete recap of the debate from NBC DFW's Omar Villafranca's Live Debate Blog, click here.
Highlights of the debate include hair care businessman Farouk Shami vowing he'd create 100,000 jobs, available to everyone, if he's elected governor, or he'd resign and pay the state $10 million. He also offered free electricity (through solar farms) and said he would enact a moratorium on the death penalty.
The outspoken Shami also said the state of Texas is ready for a governor with a brown name and that a day without Mexicans is like a day without sunshine (in reference to legal immigration and work visas easier to aquire). It's worth noting here that Shami is not of Mexican descent, however. He is a Palestinian-American who came to the United States in 1965 on a scholarship.
Three-term former Houston Mayor Bill White, endorsed Monday by the Austin American-Statesman, focused on GOP incumbent Gov. Rick Perry and the ability of Texans to be able to enter the workforce with the skills they need to stay employed.
White said the way to create jobs is to retrain unemployed people and ensure they have a job at the end of the training.
The question of a death penalty moratorium was a major item of disagreement, with Shami declaring "a lot of innocent people" have been put to death in Texas. White said a blanket suspension wouldn't work and that it would disrespect juries, victims and criminal justice where there is no question ... about the evidence.
The primary is March 2.