The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Strayhorn’s one tough independent

Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the self-proclaimed “Tough Grandma,” has broken party ranks to run as an independent for governor.

Strayhorn is an outspoken critic of incumbent Republican Rick Perry and isn’t afraid to tell people.

“A leader doesn’t let nine sessions go by without fixing the problems,” Strayhorn said, referring to the special legislative sessions Perry has called over the past five years.

Strayhorn said she has many plans to fix Texas’ education system.

“The first thing in a Strayhorn education plan will be to reinstate Texas school performance reviews . . . and the first people at our table will be educators,” she said.

Strayhorn also said she would further push her TexasNextStep plan.

The plan, first proposed by Strayhorn in 2002, calls for all Texas high school graduates to be eligible to attend two years of college at any public community college, technical college or two-year institution with the state picking up the tab for tuition fees and books.

“Nothing is more important than education,” she said. “Our state’s future tax base and economy is based on the education of our Texans.”

Strayhorn believes that investing in higher education will save the state money in the long run.

“For every dollar we invest in higher education, we get a $5.50 return on our investment,” Strayhorn said.

Another one of Strayhorn’s priorities is stiffening penalties for those who commit sexual crimes against children.

Strayhorn said that Texas, with a population of 22 million, only monitors 51 convicted violent sexual predators, while North Dakota, whose population is a much-smaller 642,000, currently monitors 58.

“One heinous crime violating one precious child is one too many,” Strayhorn said.

Strayhorn wants mandatory lifetime sentences or a minimum of 25 years in prison with lifetime GPS monitoring for first-time sexual predators.

“In a Strayhorn administration, I’m going to make it an emergency priority to get strict mandatory penalties [for sexual criminals],” she said.

While Strayhorn has many plans and goals for her administration, she has a long road ahead of her to win the election.

She is facing a four-way battle between Perry, fellow independent Kinky Friedman and the winner of next week’s Democratic primary, either Chris Bell of Bob Gammage.

Political pundits have been debating how things will shake up for the election, but Strayhorn’s first priority will be getting on the ballot.

Since she is running as an independent, she will have to get 45,540 signatures on a petition to get her name on the November ballot.

Registered voters in Texas who do not participate in either party’s Tuesday primary are the only people eligible to sign the petition.

Strayhorn says she has “quite an organization” set up to gather signatures, including plans to get signatures from the state’s universities.

“We’re going to blow the bar doors off the petition drive,” she said.

Strayhorn added her student campaign will include a visit to the Hilltop, where she will personally gather support for her petition drive, in the near future.

More to Discover