1. If elected, what are your top 3 priorities to work towards?
3: Rural Broadband Internet
2. If elected, how will you govern with regards to your top 3 priorities? Briefly describe your positions on these issues.
I will work to ensure that the state fully funds its responsibility to public schools. Over the last several years the state has failed to maintain its percentage of public school finance, and the burden has fallen on the local districts to make up the difference. Texas must do better. The reduction in state funds forces the local districts to raise more money and has led to rising property taxes that place an additional and often disproportionate burden on local residents. We need to get everything on the table so that we can find funds within the existing budget and find new sources of funding to solve this.
Our kids need a world-class education to prepare them to compete in a global workforce. Our graduates aren’t merely competing with their peers in their community for jobs, but with people across the globe. Additionally, reports anticipate 38% of US jobs lost to automation in the next 15 years, and we must prepare our students for that reality.
We also have to expand rural internet access. Students in our rural areas need the same educational opportunities and tools as those in areas with reliable high-speed internet, and we need to fund the infrastructure projects necessary to make it as accessible and affordable in our rural areas as it is in our larger cities. Even in areas where broadband internet is available we need to make sure that every student has access. Students without the benefit of internet access fall behind.
I’m a supporter of a universal, single-payer, Medicare-for-all healthcare system, but until we can get to that point, we need to strengthen and improve the systems we currently have. Most importantly is Medicaid expansion, and I will support any measures to get healthcare access to our underserved communities. I want to see health insurance decoupled from employment with a universal health care system so that we remove one more roadblock to innovation. A universal system allows folks to start businesses and take risks that they currently can’t because they could lose affordable health insurance.
3: RURAL BROADBAND INTERNET:
Texas needs to expand reliable, affordable high-speed internet into our rural areas for educational opportunities in new technologies and for small business development and entrepreneurship. While I would like to see more traditional jobs with higher pay reaching our rural areas, there are proven small business and career opportunities available with internet access. Even the smallest company with an internet presence has access to a global market. Our entire economy depends on reliable, high-speed internet and our rural areas deserve the same chance at success as their peers in more-connected areas. As more jobs are automated or shifted off-site, this connectivity becomes even more critical.
3. Rank the following topics in order of importance (1=MostImportant)
a. Education and Workforce Development 2
b. Economic Development 3
c. Transportation 5
d. Healthcare 1
e. Criminal Justice Reform 4
f. Taxation 6
g. Regulatory Stability and Certainty 7
4. What is your solution for the following economic competitiveness issues that impact Texas businesses?
Need for school finance reform
I will work to ensure that the state fully funds its responsibility to public schools. Over the last several years the state has failed to maintain its percentage of public school finance, and the burden has fallen on the local districts to make up the difference. Texas must do better. The reduction in state funds forces the local districts to raise more money and has led to rising property taxes that place additional and often disproportionate burden on local residents. We need to get everything on the table so that we can find funds within the existing budget and find new sources of funding to solve this. We can start by closing tax loopholes and tax subsidies and property tax abatements that give billions of tax dollars to corporations.
Our students need a world-class education because the future of Texas depends on an innovative, creative, educated workforce for a global economy.
Need to compete with other states that offer tax incentives to attract new projects and employers
I don’t think we should be offering billions in tax incentives to companies. That money could be used for public school financing and reducing the property tax burden on residents. Texas has given away billions of dollars in tax incentives that were wasted because those companies would have moved and invested in Texas anyway without the incentives.
If we’re going to incentivize companies, we should be encouraging business development and growth in our rural and underserved communities. If Texas invests in its students and infrastructure first, then companies will be drawn here for our well-educated workforce, exceptional connectivity, modern transportation options, and sustainable energy alternatives.
Need to save costs in the Texas Medicaid program by using managed care organizations to coordinate care and provide access to network providers
Privatized care using for-profit Medicaid managed care (MMC) organizations is the wrong approach. Studies show that managed care organizations don’t improve efficiency or access to care, and administrative costs increase when outsourcing to these MMCs. We’re giving our tax dollars to companies and their profits. Take out the profit motive and taxpayers can save.
Texas should have expanded Medicaid under the ACA. This neglect of not expanding Medicaid has contributed to a crisis of rural hospitals closing and created a coverage gap that must be addressed.
I support a non-profit, single-payer, universal health care system, but until we can get there we need to expand Medicaid.
Need for criminal justice reform to reduce the impact of non-violent, low level offenses on the Texas workforce to provide more skilled workers in needed occupations and improve the reintegration of ex-offenders into the workplace
Non-violent drug offenders should be allowed rehabilitation. We should offer treatment, job training, and education to low-level offenders, not jail time. Courts should consider risk-assessment for poor, non-violent and low-level offenders. Offenders should not be held in jail simply because they can’t afford bail.
We should join other states in legalizing marijuana.
Need to resolve issues that business owners impacted by Hurricane Harvey are experiencing with state and federal agencies
The state legislature won’t be back in session until 2019, which doesn’t help the immediate needs of impacted communities. Local officials are best equipped to know and understand the needs in their community, but, at the state level, I would support using some of the Rainy Day Fund to help with the community needs in impacted areas.
We saw in some areas that lax regulations in developments increased the devastation. Businesses benefited from these lenient local codes, but we need to do better moving forward. Harvey won’t be the last hurricane, so we need to prepare for the next one while we’re rebuilding. Preparing for a future disaster now will save lives, save property, and save taxpayer dollars in the long run.
5. What makes YOU the best candidate to represent the office for which you are running?
• I understand that discrimination is bad for business. We cannot allow our state to lose its competitiveness because of bad, controversial, discriminatory bills that serve only to embolden an extreme agenda.
• I recognize that without reliable broadband internet our rural areas will fall further behind. Our rural areas need reliable high-speed internet for educational opportunities, business development, and entrepreneurship.
• I realize that the future of personal income might be quite different than what we’ve historically known. As we begin to see more automation and loss of traditional jobs, we need to be preparing innovative ways to generate income and make sure that we aren’t imposing unnecessary or cumbersome regulations that discourage or prevent new ventures.
• I care about the future of Texas. I know that preparing the Texas economy for the future requires innovation, inclusion, education, and livable wages. All Texans deserve a fair shot and an economy that works for all of us.