It's funny. I've always enjoyed talking about religion and politics with almost anyone. That's usually not encouraged in "polite conversation" and it makes some people so uncomfortable that they are visibly disturbed when they think they might be ensnared in such a discussion.
Conversely, when you run for elected office, everyone wants to know what you think about everything. I would never claim to have considered all sides of any argument, but I do have plenty of stances to share with you. Maybe you agree - and maybe you don't. Either way, I'd love to hear what you think and why.
Because Texas values like hard work, honesty, and neighborly kindness are core to our success and pursuit of happiness, I believe every Texan should…
- Have access to quality public education, training, and work.
- Be able to get and stay well, with access to reasonably priced medical services and prescription drugs.
- Be treated with respect and dignity.
- Know that raising their voice matters in their community.
Education: Quality Pathways to Success
Every Texan should have access to high-quality public education that will enable them to reach their desired potential. Appropriate education and training is the surest path to both individual success and the success of Texas.
- Provide adequate operating capital while decreasing the burden on property tax payers. This will require remodeling Texas’ broken school finance system so the State and local school districts return to their previous 50:50 funding partnership for public schools. This will also require closing corporate loopholes now being used to extract funds from our limited State school budget.
- Keep public tax dollars in public schools.
- Protect public school teacher retirement.
- Support local control, allowing School Boards and Administrations to set the goals and metrics to effectively measure achievement.
- Encourage school/business internships to promote career excitement and exploration.
- Increase civic awareness by offering internships with local governmental bodies.
- Empower teachers to inspire and challenge students in the classroom, and reduce the emphasis on costly, ineffective, high-stakes testing.
- Ensure that each school is a safe and respectful learning environment for every student.
- Broaden educational opportunities for Texans beyond traditional university by improving access to community colleges, trade schools, certification programs, nanodegrees and internships.
- Allow Texans who commit to high-demand fields and underserved communities the opportunity to graduate without debt.
- Emphasize civics education that fully informs young voters about their voting rights, how to access them, why they are crucial to the survival of our democracy, and how to become informed engaged voters.
Economy: Benefiting All
Fair transparent markets allow Texans the opportunity to participate and prosper. All workers should benefit from the economic progress they help generate.
- Encourage businesses to leverage their resources locally through Strategic Community Investments. By supporting the development and transfer of skills, and access to social services--especially where levels of poverty and social risk are high--businesses can help field a more ready adaptable workforce.
- Support stronger health, safety and wage regulations that protect workers; and deceptive trade practice regulations to protect consumers.
Government: By and For the People
Government should reflect and answer to the people it represents and serves.
- Maintain local control for cities and counties that allows the voices of voters to be heard and acted upon in their neighborhoods.
- Bring in fresh perspectives by imposing term limits for members of the Texas House and Senate.
- End gerrymandering that create districts aligned by ethnicity, language, or political party.
- Improve transparency and oversight of state agencies to ensure Texans are getting the most value for their dollars.
- Encourage engaged citizens to run for office by allowing publicly-funded elections and limiting incoming and outgoing PAC dollars.
Healthcare: Quality Access for All
Texans have the right to be healthy. Millions of Texans--including far too many children--can’t afford to see a doctor for preventive medicine or minor illness. When forced to treatment, due to illness or accident, Emergency Room options have exorbitant costs and often poor outcomes.
- Provide affordable access to the basic healthcare Texans require and deserve.
- Provide alternatives to addictive pain medications, including physician-approved access to medical marijuana.
Energy and the Environment: Optimize and Protect
- Texas energy policies should optimize the use of existing energy sources while incenting safe new and renewable ones.
- Support Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s land-use proposal to “Practice, Encourage, and Enable Science-based Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources.”
Immigration: Maximize Our Potential
Much of Texas’ economy hinges on the immigrants who have always contributed to our society.
- True immigration reform must be implemented at the federal level, but as Texans, we should treat all our neighbors with respect and offer a helping hand to those fleeing violence, authoritarian rule, or other atrocities.
- The safety of all Texans is improved when any parent is able to call 911 for help without fear of ICE agents asking neighbors to prove their citizenship/legal status. When an undocumented mother cannot call 911 to protect her daughter who is a US citizen, our laws are broken.
Jobs: Full Employment in Good Jobs
Every Texan who is willing to work and has a chance to do so should benefit from the state’s economic growth.
- Invest in training, certification, and registered apprenticeship and internship programs to allow Texans--especially those without college degrees–to fill the demand for increasingly specialized professions.
Criminal Justice: Fair and Unbiased
Texas sends large numbers of minority offenders to prison for nonviolent offenses every year. Effective rehabilitation can improve safety in our communities at a much lower cost, while creating opportunities for young people to achieve their potential, instead of entering criminal training in prison.
- A “therapeutic” approach to corrections has potential to reduce reincarceration by helping offenders acquire problem-solving and coping skills needed to overcome the shortfalls that originally put them at risk of criminal conduct.
- End state incarceration for marijuana possession not intended for sale.
- Expand access to mental health services in prisons to diagnose and treat mental health illnesses that drive reoffense rates.
- Reform the bail system that unfairly targets poor offenders. Redeploy public dollars to community safety, and not waste resources jailing those who are not public safety risks.
- End the practice of costly for-profit prisons with the perverse motivation to keep more people jailed longer, and have demonstrably higher levels of violence as reported by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Women’s Health and Services: Our Mothers Deserve Better
Texas has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the developed world, which directly affects our communities of color. Improve women’s access to affordable and quality healthcare.
- Support policies that guarantee a woman’s access to birth control and emergency contraception.
- Ensure a woman’s right to choose is not impeded with limited access to safe and legal family planning.
- Help bring justice to victims of rape in Texas by mandating and funding testing of all rape kits.
- Protect and expand Texas Health and Human Services such as Medicaid, CHIP (healthcare), SNAP (food benefits), TANF (cash help) and others (family violence, pregnancy support, etc.) that ensure millions of low-income Texas women can afford access to reproductive health services, such as cervical and breast cancer screenings and well-woman exams.