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Cornyn: Texas Came Out of BRAC Well

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The following is a transcript of the interview conducted by News 3's Steve Fullhart with John Cornyn, the republican senator from Texas.

Steve Fullhart: Base realignment is the big issue on the table right now. What are your impressions of the realignment plan?

Senator John Cornyn: Statewide, we came out of it very well. This is one of those stories that is all local, and for those communities that were most negatively impacted, this has some terrible implications at the local level. The good news is that this is just the first step. The next step will be the BRAC commission, an independent body, that will look at those recommendations and then make those to president, ultimately in November when the Congress will be able to vote on the entire package up or down. Overall, the state did pretty well.

SF: You were in Washington Wednesday when the major happening occurred. For the first time, we went to red as far the homeland security level. How do you think that was handled, and where do we go from here with this warning shot thrown off our bow?

JC: It was the second time where we've had an airplane accidentally intrude airspace over Washington, DC. The early warning system worked exactly as it should have. People evacuated the building. No one was hurt. It is a reminder of the vulnerability that we have. If it was, indeed, some bad people who were trying to kill or decapitate our government from the top down, it could have enormously serious consequences. We simply have to keep our guard up here in terms of homeland security while we take the fight to the bad guys where they live.

SF: Social security's debate remains on the table. You are a supporter of the president's plan. Talk about how the government can really bring these two sides of a very heated debate together on this very crucial topic.

JC: We all know social security is unsustainable, and young workers understand that it's simply not going to be there for them if we do nothing. The president has proposed, for people 55 and older, that they can keep the current system, but if you're younger, that you can opt for, on a voluntary basis, to use some of the payroll taxes to create a personal savings account which, through the miracle of compound interest, would generate more money. And it would owned by you, the individual, and not by the government. It could never be cut or taken away. I think that has a lot of merit.

SF: Saturday, you spoke at the Sam Houston graduation. How different are these kids' lives and these kids' worlds compared to when you graduated from Trinity University years ago?

JC: I think there's a lot more in common than there is different. But we do live in a post 9/11 world. We are, literally, at war. We've seen that we cannot simply sit back and be an isolationist and forget what happens beyond our borders. Perhaps, when I was in college years ago, we felt like we were more protected and safe. It's still a very dangerous world. It's a different kind of world in many ways. I have a lot of faith in the potential that these young people have. There are a lot of first time graduates in these families, and I feel very good about the future in their hands.