Armstrong, Others Support Cancer-Funding Proposition

Using Rice Stadium as a backdrop, supporters of a state proposition that would provide $3 billion in cancer research funding to Texas institutions touted the plan as one that would benefit everyone. As Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, the challenge comes 45 years after another famous speech at Rice Stadium.

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In September of 1962, President John F. Kennedy outlined his plans for Americans to land on the moon during a speech on the field at Rice Stadium.

"Why choose this as our goal? Why climb the highest mountain? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon."

With the so-called "We choose to go to the moon" speech still echoing through the historic stadium, supporters hope some of that history looks kindly on their efforts to get voters to approve Proposition 15 in November. State Senator Jane Nelson is the proposition's author.

"This is the most important proposition that voters have to vote on in my lifetime. It is going to affect all of our lives. We can fund research that will find cures for cancer."

Probably one of the state's highest profile cancer survivors, former cyclist Lance Armstrong is part of the campaign for Proposition 15.

"Through the investment, and I stress the investment, of $3 billion over 10 years, we have a unique opportunity to do something that's never been done before. I obviously owe my life to medical research and science. I think this is a huge initiative. I encourage the people of Texas to vote yes for Proposition 15."

Houston State Representative Ellen Cohen says the cancer research funding would be paid for by issuing bonds or with money out of the state's general fund.

"It's not going to be an onerous task to raise this money and that's why we want so much for the people across the state to get it and to pass it. It's going to mean so very much and we've lost physicians and we've lost researchers to other states that are investing, to other counties that are investing and we just can't have that."

Although there is no organized opposition to the proposition yet, some say it's not fair to make Texas foot the bill for research that could eventually benefit everyone and that more funding should come from the federal level. You can find out more about Proposition 15 on our website, KUHF.org.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...