A Good-News Story: “Mobile Mansion,” Spurned by Governor, Goes to Deserving Texas AFT Member

A Texas AFT member in San Antonio is thrilled to be the recipient of the mobile home that Gov. Rick Perry spurned even though it was offered to him for a dollar a year.

Hilda Cantu yesterday received the keys to the single-wide manufactured home from Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller and Secretary-Treasurer John Patrick at a news conference held at the office of Texas AFT’s San Antonio ISD affiliate, the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel.

Cantu, who works in the cafeteria at Sam Houston High School in San Antonio and is struggling financially as she puts her daughter through college, said, “Gov. Rick Perry decided he didn’t want it. Well, I’ll take it.” She called the manufactured home “a great blessing” and said, “I can’t wait to spend Christmas in it.”
Moeller described the home as the “Mobile Mansion.” The historic governor’s mansion in downtown Austin is still undergoing repair following an arson attack that destroyed most of the interior. Gov. Perry meanwhile has been living in a $9,000-a-month rental mansion in a gated community, at taxpayer expense.

Texas AFT President Linda Bridges was on hand to congratulate Cantu, a well-respected activist in the San Antonio Alliance, on receiving the manufactured home. “I think it’s a shame that Gov. Perry passed up such a great deal,” Bridges said,” but on the other hand I’m glad he did. I can think of no one who is so deserving as Hilda.”

Also present were two ministers who oversaw the selection process that screened applicants for the mobile home. Many of the entries received in that process described difficult conditions for the workers involved.

“The home symbolizes hard times for working families in America, but it was also a very real depiction of modest housing that many workers would be glad to own,” Moeller said. “While we made our point about taxpayer support of a governor to live in a luxurious gated community, we are happy to be able to help one deserving union family make ends meet in tough financial times.”

The foregoing account of yesterday’s press conference borrows extensively from the Texas AFL-CIO’s online coverage of the event. Here’s an accompanying photo published on the Texas AFL-CIO Web site (in case you can’t make it out, Hilda Cantu’s T-shirt says “YES!! I WON Gov. Rick Perry’s Mobile Mansion”:

Hilda B. Cantu, left, and Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller