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Chad’s Morning Brief: Rick Perry Endorses Mitch McConnell, Lubbock Monorail Idea Moves Forward, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of March 17, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

Stewart F. House, Getty Images

Perry Backs McConnell

The Tea Party is out to defeat Mitch McConnell of Kentucky but it’s not going well. Rand Paul has been in McConnell’s corner and the challenger is a good 20-points down. Over the weekend another conservative lawmaker endorsed McConnell, Rick Perry. According to The Hill, Perry backed McConnell at the Lincoln, Reagan Dinner.

At a Lincoln, Reagan Dinner in Kentucky, Perry said the Kentucky Senate race and the entire midterm elections are “inextricably intertwined” with the future of the United States.

He predicted McConnell would be successful in his bid to win a sixth term in the Senate.

“I love the number six,” Perry said, according to the Associated Press. “Sam Houston was 6 foot 6 inches tall. And Mitch McConnell is going to be in his sixth term as United States senator.”

Perry, who ran for president in 2012, is considered a potential contender for the GOP nomination in 2016, along with the junior senator from Kentucky Rand Paul, who shares a close relationship with McConnell.

During McConnell’s remarks, the minority leader called Paul “an incredible and electable candidate for president of the United States.”

Perry’s endorsement comes as McConnell faces off in a primary battle against Matt Bevin in May. Polling for the race has shown McConnell with a more than 20-point lead. If he wins the primary, he will face off against Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in the general election.

Bevin, who also attended the dinner, was not allowed to speak, according to the wire service.

Perry will get cover from angry conservative groups due to Rand Paul’s backing. But what’s in this for Perry?

I believe that this is just another step in Perry separating himself from Ted Cruz for 2016. Perry isn’t as far right as Cruz, but isn’t as left as Chris Christie in the Republican Primary. Perry may be setting himself up to be the middle of the road conservative Republican. Someone that can work with all flanks of the Republican Party.

Monorail 

Texas Tech University sits just 2 miles from downtown Lubbock, yet city leaders are moving forward on a proposed monorail system. According the AJ, the McDougal Company will spend $17k on a firm that will craft a strategy for lobbyist. The hope is to get federal funding for the project.

Multiple grants are available at the federal level, and McDougal said he plans to track down every possible funding opportunity rather than turning to local tax dollars.

“I haven’t committed the city to a penny on this; the city hasn’t committed to a penny on this,” he said. “There are other avenues to get money other than the federal government, and that’s what we are looking into. There is absolutely zero commitment from anybody financially, other than, obviously, the money (spent to hire the firm) and some travel for somebody to go to Washington.”

Hance said it may be possible for the university to financially participate as well, although it would likely be on a comparatively small scale.

“We’d look at it, but it would be very limited on Tech campus, but we might do something,” he said. “But it would be limited compared to the overall plan.”

The monorail wouldn’t cover the whole city, only the area from Texas Tech to downtown.

The goal of the railway project is to link Tech students to the cultural district and ultimately bring a youthful presence back to downtown. In combination with the rail system, McDougal said plans for student housing are also in the works.

“In my opinion, with the growth we’re having, I think you’d have (3,000) to 5,000 people living downtown,” Hance said. “If that happens, you have solved your problems of vacant lots.”

When the City Council gave master downtown developer Delbert McDougal a five-year extension in December to continue his work, the contract laid out several goals for McDougal to achieve in downtown development, including increasing Tech’s presence in the district.

What Delbert McDougal envisions, he previously told A-J Media, is bold and optimistic but not out of reach and includes student housing and accommodations for several thousand people living downtown.

It’s becoming clear in my mind that the goal of downtown redevelopment isn’t to pull in people from other areas of Lubbock. Instead it seems as though the goal for downtown is student housing. That’s fine, but I don’t think that is what everyone had in mind when they jumped on the downtown bandwagon. The whole project should be renamed, Downtown Student Housing Development.

It’s possible, but highly doubtful, that the McDougal’s could secure 100% federal funds for this project. The cost of maintenance would still fall back on taxpayers though. To me the monorail system is a waste of money. It makes no sense to spend millions of dollars so Tech students won’t have to bike/walk/drive the 2 miles from downtown to campus.

Other Top Stories:

AG’s Office Issues Ruling on Public Information and NELCDC 

Cecilia Abbott Could Make History 

Dewhurst Berates Patrick as ‘Showboat’ 

Focus Now on the Pilot

White House Rejects Crimea Vote 

Paul Ryan Is Right

Rand Paul Says Republicans Must Agree to Disagree on Social Issues 

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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