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State legislator discusses funding

Brimer also analyzes Gov. Bush's presidential run

by Sally Claunch
The Shorthorn staff

A state legislator addressed a government class here Wednesday, describing the university's funding process.

Rep. Kim Brimer, R-Arlington, who came to speak to political science students Monday, also said the state's governor will maintain his lead in the presidential race and encouraged students to get involved in public service.

Allan Saxe, political science associate professor, invited Brimer to the university in hopes that he'd shed some light on the inner workings of Texas politics.

"I don't want any government class to be only a textbook experience," Saxe said. "I think it's important that all members of the Texas delegations from this area come to campus, see the classrooms, and see how the students react to them."

Brimer discussed negotiations over the university's funding in order to illustrate behind-the-scenes politics.

Brimer said the university got $10.8 million more funding than in the last session because university President Robert Witt worked with Rep. Robert Junell, D-San Angelo, and Brimer to get the money here.

"Dr. Witt did an excellent job - he was there with us in Austin a lot," Brimer said.

He said when the budget was laid out initially, the university stood to get less funding than it got last session. He said Witt called him and expressed his concern about the lack of funding. Brimer met with Witt and Junelle and worked out a plan to give the university more funding.

Brimer said the trio originally wanted funds designated for recruitment for the university to offset the money the University of North Texas was getting to start up its new South Dallas campus.

Although he was unable to get the funds specifically dedicated, the university got the extra money put into the general budget.

Witt said that he was able to accomplish most of his objective because of representatives such as Brimer.

"A large portion of credit for the progress UTA made financially rests on their outstanding commitment to the university," Witt said.

Even with this additional money, Brimer said the university missed opportunities in another area to get funding for research.

The University of Houston was sponsoring the Flagship Program, which would provide matching funds for private donations to universities involving research.

"The bill would have qualified UTA as third or fourth in funding to match funds," he said. "This would have meant $3 or $4 million more."

Brimer also spoke about Gov. George W. Bush running for president. He said Bush is definitely up to the challenge.

"Can Gov. Bush maintain this slam-dunk lead?" he said. "Yes. There is no doubt in my mind that he can take on the challenger and lead the country well."

He said Bush addresses tough issues and is well-informed in state, national and international concerns.

He added that students should participate in government and consider public service. He explained how important it is to be concerned about government and how everyone is obligated to give something back to the community.

"I am here tonight to encourage students to participate in public service," he said. "Public service is great experience, so get active contribute and put back."