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President Obama Touches Down In Texas

Joey Palacios

Texas Matters: President Obama visited Austin on Thursday to promote his jobs and middle class growth strategy. Also on this show: Latino unemployment in Texas, the Boquillas border crossing opens in Big Bend and the last night to pass bills out of the Texas House.

A Lone Star state of mind

President Barack Obama was in Austin to promote his jobs plan and a big part of that plan is an investment in education. The president underscored that point while stopping to address students at the Manor New Tech high School.

While in Austin the President also toured the Capital Factory downtown, a headquarters for small business software startups, and he then went on to visit the Applied Materials semiconductor manufacturing campus.

"Everyday you are pushing the limits of technology a little bit further and you are not alone because somewhere over at the Capitol Factory there's an entrepreneur mapping out a new product on a white board that may be the next big thing. Somewhere over at Manor New Tech High School theres a kid scribbling down an idea for a new invention that one day may turn into  an entirely new industry. That's America."

The president and the governor

When Obama landed in Austin he was warmly greeted by Gov. Rick Perry. In the past the two have not seen eye to eye on most issues, but on this occasion the two shook hands and appeared to have a friendly chat.

With audio courtesy of the Texas Tribune, here’s Perry talking to reporters about the exchange and his take on the president coming to Texas on a jobs tour.

"The president's probably got some good ideas, the president's got some things that philosophically I'm not going to support. He believes the government needs to be the generator of the dollars that flow into the economy, I don't. I think it's the private sector that needs to be freed up from over taxation, over regulation and we have a philosophical disagreement, but the results are what really matter."

KUT’s Ben Philpot was there covering the whirlwind day.

"The White House put out a release early Thursday morning saying that the federal government was going to fund an additional three "manufacturing innovation institutes." There was a pilot program earlier in Youngstown, Ohio. He's now saying, 'Look, we're going to put out three more bids for three new areas,' and of course maybe Austin could be one of them because he talked about the idea of a town where the large university and business community would get this bid."

Also on this edition of Texas Matters:

Latinos may need more than a 'miracle' to prosper in Texas

When it comes to jobs in Austin or anywhere else all is not equal, which is especially apparent for Latinos in Texas. Latino unemployment in the U.S. is higher than the national average, though in Texas Latinos may have more low-wage opportunities.

KUT reporter Veronica Zaragovia takes a look at how Latinos are doing when it comes to finding work in the home of the "Texas miracle."

Are government economic development dollars helping Boquillas?

A new border crossing with Mexico opened a few weeks ago linking a remote Mexican village with Big Bend National Park in West Texas. 

The U.S. government, along with Mexican and Canadian partners, is financing a sustainable tourism project in the area under terms of the NAFTA free trade agreement. But some locals are skeptical about the need for outside help. From Marfa Public Radio, Lorne Matalon reports.

Running out of time

On Thursday night at the stroke of midnight about one hundred bills in Austin turned into pumpkins and won’t become laws.

It’s one of the many deadlines that make up the legislative process in Texas, the last night for state representatives to pass their own bills out of the Texas House.

There is now less than three weeks before the close of the session on May 27. To help us figure out what bills still have the mojo to make it to law – Harvey Kronberg is one the line from the Quorum Report.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi