Democrat White says he'll move into mobile home if elected Texas gov., not tax-funded mansion

Most political candidates promise to start a new program or policy on their first day in office, but Bill White has different plans if elected Texas governor. The Democrat says his first bold move would be into a mobile home.

In another jab at Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who is costing taxpayers $10,000 a month by renting a mansion outside Austin, White vowed during a swing through East Texas on Wednesday to move into a trailer home if elected. The millionaire businessman and former Houston mayor currently lives in a 4,122-square-foot home appraised at $2.1 million, but said he would be the portrait of frugality the moment he took office.

"It will start when I move, on the first day that I'm sworn into office, out of that fancy rental mansion into a double-wide trailer," White said. "Where I come from, fiscal conservatism means you don't waste money on yourself."

Perry's spokesman, Mark Miner, called White's proposal a gimmick.

Costs associated with Perry's spacious rental home, including a now-expired subscription to Food & Wine Magazine, have been the subject of campaign television ads, a spoof Perry rap video on YouTube and plenty of media attention. The house has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen and three dining rooms.

With less than two weeks to go before the Nov. 2 election, White grabbed on to an idea first proposed to Perry by the AFL-CIO workers union, which bought a manufactured house in May and suggested Perry lease it for $1 per year.

Perry is living in a 6,386-square-foot mansion in a gated community in the hills outside Austin — costing the state $600,000 in the last two years, according to records obtained by The Associated Press — while the white columned, two-story governor's mansion in Austin undergoes repairs.

During an interview last week with the Texas Tribune, Perry said his rental mansion was "as cheap a place as they could find" given security demands for the state's top elected official. He said he'll move if lawmakers want him to live someplace else.

Perry initially moved into the temporary home in the fall of 2007, so the governor's mansion — built in 1856 — could be renovated. Arson damaged the house a year later, and officials said this spring that it would take another two years to finish reconstruction.

Perry has said spending at his rental property is being reduced, just like what state agencies are doing to help plug a state government budget hole of at least $18 billion.

White, who said he also would cut back on security expenses, didn't specify where he would put the trailer.

But he could get some guidance from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. As governor, the Republican moved into a triple-wide while the Arkansas Governor's Mansion was undergoing repairs several years ago.

Source: AP News

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