Bush pushed Texas into digital era, CIO says

Bush pushed Texas into digital era, CIO says

As governor, he promoted IT as a communications tool and a cost-effective management strategy for the state

BY WILSON P. DIZARD III | GCN STAFF

As governor of Texas, President George W. Bush was a champion of electronic-government initiatives, the state's chief information officer says.

'He was a tremendous help in our year 2000 remediation efforts,' Texas CIO Carolyn Purcell said. 'Without him, we would not have gotten the kind of cooperation we did.'

Bush touted IT as both a communications tool and a cost-effective management strategy, she said.

'He was committed to a telecommunications infrastructure in Texas that would connect every public school, library and medical facility to the Internet,' Purcell said.


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size="2" color="#FF0000">'He was committed to a telecommunications infrastructure in Texas that would connect every public school, library and medical facility to the Internet.'

'He appreciated that IT could streamline government and promoted IT's use to do just that to agency and university chief executive officers when he met with them to discuss the state's strategic plan,' she said.

Digital signature

The state's Science and Technology Committee advised the governor on economic development, work force and education issues, Purcell said.
Texas pioneered digital signature legislation under Bush, who worked with Democrats in the state Legislature to pass the measure. The state also spent more than $330 million on year 2000 readiness preparations while Bush was governor.

That work included the installation of financial accounting software from PeopleSoft Inc. to standardize state accounting systems. The software from the Pleasanton, Calif., company was a compromise between a big system and a mix of unconnected systems, state officials said.

Among the wide range of Texas software projects started under Bush were programs to help automate tax return processing, distribute funds to school districts, prevent Medicaid fraud, track minority contracting activities, speed up foster care placements and broadcast legislative sessions.

Bush routinely raised IT issues during management retreats with senior state officials and business executives, said a state employee who did not want to be identified.

As for electronic government, the Lone Star State's Web site ranked first in a 1999 Brown University survey of states.

In other industry polls, Texas consistently has ranked among the top 10 digital states. It was the first to launch a bilingual Spanish and English Web site and offers many online government services.

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