Our representatives have focused their efforts on distracting and dividing us with made-up social and moral issues that somehow never seem to get resolved. All the while our state has fallen into decline. The “Texas Miracle” is now sadly a myth. The time is right for a new brand of leadership in Texas. Let’s move beyond the trap of partisan thinking and work together to solve some of our State’s biggest challenges.
End Human Trafficking in Texas
Human trafficking is slavery. It is immoral and needs to end. The Texas Legislature needs to more aggressively put human traffickers and those who directly profit from human trafficking on notice – they will be prosecuted in Texas to the fullest extent.
In Texas there are an estimated 313,000 victims of human trafficking. Over 230,000 of these victims are laborers. Nearly 80,000 are minors who fall victim to sex trafficking. Every one of these victims, no matter where they come from or how old they are, are taken advantage of because of their dire life circumstances.
- Stop Punishing Victims of Sex Trafficking – The Texas Legislature has only paid lip service to the tragedy of modern slavery in recognizing the issue of sex trafficking but it has not done enough to provide meaningful resources to support the exploited – instead our policies tend to criminalize the victim.
- Prosecute Employers of Trafficked Labor – The Texas Legislature has turned a blind eye toward the issue of trafficked labor by refusing to hold employers and industries licensed to operate in our State accountable for their role in supporting human trafficking.
We need to aggressively put human traffickers and those who directly profit from human trafficking on notice – they will be prosecuted in Texas to the fullest extent. Human trafficking is a crime against humanity.
We need to make a rigorous commitment to quality public schools across Texas. The public education system in Texas should be our greatest economic advantage. Public education is an investment that we make to ensure that every member of our society has the opportunity to rise up and achieve their full potential based on their efforts and abilities. If we do not choose a full commitment to that investment we leave people behind and sell ourselves short.
- I Do Not Support: I do not support any effort by the Texas Legislature to undermine the viability of our public education system. I do not support vouchers. I do not think the common core curriculum or current school testing policies in Texas are effective tools to improve the education of our children.
- I Support: I support local control as the most effective method of accountability for our public education system. I also support a serious commitment to retain and recruit the best and brightest educators and to pay them competitive salaries, which reflect the importance of their job.
Border Security and Immigration
Border security and immigration policy is the Federal Government’s job. Texas has spent over $3 billion policing an international border since 2014. The border that separates Mexico and Texas is an international border. International border security and immigration policy are supposed to be the responsibility of the Federal Government. But the Federal Government continues in its struggles to effectively resolve border security and immigration issues. That bi-partisan failure at the Federal level has compelled Texas to spend over $3 billion of taxpayers money since 2014 on border security. That is over $300 per Texas household paid to secure our Nation’s border. Texas has 36 delegates in the U.S. House of Representatives and two Senators who should be working with their colleagues to set and enforce U.S. immigration policy and to fully fund efforts to secure our Nation’s international borders. The State of Texas should hold the Federal Government and our Congressional delegation accountable.
Women’s Health and Quality of Life
The Texas Legislature’s tactic of REDUCING access to medical care for pregnant women is wrong and increases the maternal and infant mortality rates in our State. We can eliminate the pressure on women to obtain abortions by improving access to medical care, counseling, and improving the quality of life and opportunity for Texas women and their families.
The Texas Legislature should focus efforts on tactics that will:
- Improve access to affordable and effective contraception,
- Improve reproductive education for young adults,
- Increase access to affordable healthcare for both women and children,
- Increase access to affordable quality daycare and pre-K programs,
- Strengthen programs that effectively reduce domestic violence against women and prosecute the backlog of domestic violence cases.
Texas healthcare must improve. Healthcare ranks high among the most important issues facing Texans, yet we rank low in healthcare effectiveness and affordability compared to other states. There are concrete actions that the Texas Legislature can take to improve healthcare for Texans:
- We need to grow our physician workforce by expanding Texas graduate medical education programs.
- We need to make sure that rural communities have access to medical care.
- We need to improve access to quality prenatal and postpartum care for women and infants.
- We need to encourage our Congressional delegation to work toward bi-partisan commitments for long-term funding of CHIP.
- We need to expand the reach and effectiveness of mental and behavioral health programs.
Reduce Violent Death in Texas
Responsible gun ownership is protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Legal and responsible gun ownership in Texas is not an issue. The issue that the Texas Legislature should be focused on is reducing the rising occurrence of violent death (murder and suicide) in our State. To reduce violent deaths and to help protect the public and law enforcement officials we need:
- More support for mental health programs,
- More support for suicide prevention,
- Sustained, serious commitment to aggressively prosecute domestic violence cases and to protect the victims of domestic violence,
- Closed loopholes to legal access to guns by criminals (including perpetrators of domestic violence) and people with documented mental health issues.
Environment and Climate
See the world as a gift from your Creator to be taken care of, not poisoned and destroyed. Texans are blessed with an abundance of natural resources which have been protected by generations before us for our benefit. For our health, our public safety, and for the benefit of future generations, I believe that it is mankind’s duty to act as good stewards of the environment.
- Common sense policies to protect our water, land, and air can move us toward a more sustainable environment and preserve our natural resources for future generations.
- Good business sense demands a better understanding of our changing climate in order to better prepare to protect our people and critical infrastructure from intensifying storms and flooding.
Energy and Electric Reliability
Tomorrow’s energy policy starts today. I understand the power and economic impacts of the oil and gas industry in Texas. But even the giants in the oil and gas industry know that renewable energy is the future of our economy. This change does not happen overnight, but it is happening faster than many of us realize.
The Texas Legislature needs to:
- Facilitate a more rapid adoption of truly clean energy alternatives such as wind and solar,
- Improve energy storage policy,
- Ramp up our workforce to lead the energy infrastructure of our future,
- Increases our power grid reliability (where we rank 50th compared to other states).
We are uniquely positioned to lead and benefit economically from the emerging clean energy economy, but we need leadership to get there.
Redistricting and Gerrymandering
Put an end to gerrymandering of political districts in Texas. Texas voters, no matter their party affiliation, disapprove of unfair gerrymandering of political districts. The Texas Legislature should establish an independent commission to oversee redistricting so that we can have a more honest and competitive political system in our state.
Corruption, Cronyism, Waste, and High Taxes
There is a relationship between political corruption, cronyism, waste, and high taxes. Corruption, cronyism, and waste are inefficiencies that bring Texas down. These inefficiencies take a nasty toll on people and businesses over time. It is a literal toll in the form of taxes. Taxes are a necessary duty of citizens in order to fund our public safety, infrastructure, educational system, and to enhance the quality of life we enjoy. But inefficiencies in spending over time unnecessarily inflate taxes at all levels of government. Transparency, accountability, goals, measurement, rigorous testing and questioning are hard and uncomfortable for people, departments, agencies, and organizations that are not used to them. But they are a vital component of good government. The people of Texas and Senate District 30 deserve good government. The people of Senate District 30 deserve to know that their tax dollars are being used effectively and efficiently and that the spending that occurs will have quantitative and qualitative measures in place to show that we are improving our public safety, infrastructure, and overall quality of life.
Social tolerance and fairness is as simple as following the Golden Rule. I believe that the Texas Legislature should stop involving itself in private behavior that does not affect the broader public and that it should not enact laws or policies that discriminate against individuals or segments of our society based on race, ethnicity, religion, income, age, sex, or sexual preference.
Bathroom legislation is a waste of time. Like most Texans, I believe that this topic took up entirely too much time and attention in the last legislative session. This is a completely manufactured social issue designed to divide us. Heavy-handed attempts by our state to legislate such issues weaken our national and global economic competitiveness.
Keep the State out of local issues. The government that is closest to the people works the best for the people. The State’s demonization of municipal government is an attempt to limit the right of individual citizens to exercise their greatest influence on what happens within their community and in their day-to-day lives. Texas is a large and diverse state. District 30 is likewise large and diverse. What works for Archer City may not work for Sherman. What works in Stephenville may not be right for Denton. What works for Gainesville may not be right for Aledo. So long as constitutional rights are not being violated, citizens should have the right to elect local officials who will lead their community in such a way that reflects the values of that community.