Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

State Senate District 17

4-year term. Must be 21 years or older, a U.S. citizen, a resident of Texas, and a resident of the district represented. Responsible for representing the citizens of the district in which he/she is elected in the Texas Senate.

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  • Joan Huffman

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    Lauren LaCount

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    Rita Lucido

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Biographical Information

What do you consider the most critical issue Texas will face over the next five years? If elected, how would you approach this issue?

School finance in Texas has generated lots of talk but little legislation in recent years. What is your philosophy on the future of public school funding?

Do you believe America has a problem with gun violence? If so, how do you plan tackle it?

Congress and the President want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and have taken steps to dismantle it. What role should the government have when it comes to health insurance?

Texas adds about a thousand people a day. This rapid growth has caused several problems. What are the top three issues the government should address because of this growth?

As a Texan, what do you believe is missing from the conversation about immigration and border security? How would your beliefs influence your approach to those policies?

Describe a unique experience from your childhood that shaped who you are today.

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Age 32
Education Business
Campaign Phone 9792487741
Website Www.LaCount4SD17.com
Facebook Facebook.com/LLLaCount
Twitter @LaurenLaCount
Property Tax Reform is the most critical issue that Texas faces. I have worked to reduce residential property taxes on the local level throughout my time in office, and I would continue that fight if elected. First and foremost, if elected, I would cut off the corporate welfare, wasteful spending and repeal unfunded mandates to the local level. This not only increases available funding for equitable contribution by the State to public education, pensions and other obligations, but also reduces operating costs on the local level. To bring new sales tax revenues to the state, I would push for decriminalization of cannabis, industrial hemp, and gambling. Currently revenues that could benefit our State are being sent to Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado and other states. Prohibition has not ended these practices, only sent the money out of state. With increased revenues, the cost of essential services can be shifted from property taxes to sales and other taxes as well as licensing fees etc.
Currently, the State has annually decreased their contribution to public education spending, causing an inequitable shift in the burden onto local level property owners. This is in addition to their perpetual underfunding of teacher's pensions and those of other public servants. The State is forbidden from charging a property tax by the Texas Constitution, but by underfunding their share of essential services, they have used a back door. If elected, I would close that door, lock it, and throw away the key. The legislature has the option to amend the Texas Constitution, repealing arbitrary and inequitable caps on pension contributions, reducing the burden on the local level and making our pension system solvent again. Texas should keep It's promises to retired teachers and public servants. Additionally, State Testing, the TEC, and unfunded mandates need to be abolished. We must reduce the cost, wasteful spending, and bureaucracy for comprehensive education reform in Texas.
I believe America has a problem with violent crime in general and that since the beginning of time people have been a violent species. Our founding fathers, and as a Christian my belief is that God himself saw this to be true, too. We have the right to self defense given by our Creator and by the Constitution and I do not believe it should be infringed upon, ever, by anyone. In 2016, an estimated 1,248,185 violent crimes occurred nationwide, an increase of 4.1 percent from the 2015 estimate. California had 174,796 cases of violent crime, 1,930 were murders with 71% (1,368) using a gun. They have some of the strictest gun legislation in the nation. In the same year Texas had 121,042 cases of violent crime, 1,459 murders and in 73% (1,066) a gun was the murder weapon. To summarize, you cannot legislate morality, but you can legislate people into victims of violent crime by taking their right to self defense away from them.
Government involvement in the insurance market and the insurance markets intervention in the free exchange of services between medical care providers and patients is the reason healthcare has become unaffordable. You cannot solve a problem created by government involvement with more government. We need to get insurance companies out of lobbying and legislating, and defund the subsidies that have made it possible for hospitals to charge $10k for a one hour visit, an I.V. and a popsicle and recieved payment for those rates. If a hospital can charge those costs and receive payment the market is saying they have that value. If we defund the egregious insurance subsidies that are forcing all of us as taxpayers to cover those costs by law or pay a penalty, and disentangle government from this corporate welfare scheme then our costs will go down. The government could afford to provide a safety net for vulnerable people at a lower cost easily afterwards at market value instead.
Texas needs to address the failing infrastructure, public education system, and property tax burden for our residents. Corporate welfare and crony capitalism in the name of economic development and special interests have brought us jobs, which have drawn a flood of people to our state. The problem is that Texas failed to spend equitably on infrastructure, like road expansions, water management, flood control, public education, and ignored the need for these people to have somewhere to live. Due to their negligence, we are experiencing a housing crisis across the state, insolvent school districts and public pensions, water rights issues, heavy traffic, and widespread flooding due to failing infrastructure. These are all issues that Texas needs to focus on. The State is so focused on working for businesses and corporations that they have forgotten their essential purpose is to provide for Texas residents. Economic development feeds the budget to provide for Texans, and it's backwards.
As a Texan who values my private property rights, I believe that facts and reality are missing from the conversation about immigration and border security. First of all, Immigration Policy is a Federal issue, and enforcement should be federally funded, and staffed by federal employees. Texas taxpayers should not be picking up the tab for federal programs. The Texas Legislature should not be supporting the federal government against locally elected Texans. We are sovereign. Secondly, a wall is an expensive and unrealistic non-solution that will allow the Federal government to utilize imminent domain to steal Texas land from Texans at the least. Anyone advocating to cut off water access to ranchers, and steal land from Texans to build a wall that the illegal immigrants will go over under and around, doesn't understand the reality at all and I do not understand how they can run and win as a Conservative or Republican. I would tell Congress to do it's job on immigration reform and funding
My entire childhood was unique, as I was blessed to be raised by the greatest generation, my grandparents. My mother and father missed the majority of their children's lives due to non-violent drug convictions. I believe that it is wrong to punish children and cripple families in pursuit of a war on drugs. My parents came back into my life having found sobriety and faith, but seperately. My father ended up caring for not only me, but my sister that he adopted and the grandparents who raised me as they aged and became ill before passing away. Their return to my life, when they were at their best, was a valuable lesson about God's plan and the role we all play in it. When my father was killed suddenly a few years later, sober, in a car accident I learned how valuable every day with him really was. My experience taught me that we all have a purpose. Now that I have three children of my own, my experience has motivated me to provide for them a better future, one that will outlive us all.
Age 61
Education BA Trinity University - 1979 JD University of Houston - 1982
Website ritalucido.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LucidoTXSD17/
Twitter @ritalucido
website ritalucido.com
Our public education crisis.

Saving public education in Texas is multi-faceted task. 1. State revenue needs to be contributed to the formula at a rate that meets or approaches what the school districts contribute 2. The funding formulas and the allocation adjustments thereto are antiquated and cheat urban and suburban districts from the funds needed to educate the current student population 3. The reliance on high stakes testing for all measures of a district success must be changed, especially considering the problems created by the funding inadequacies mentioned in 1 and 2 a above 4. Curb the trend in transferring public funds to private institutions.
See my answers to the question above.
Yes, absolutely.

I support sensible gun restrictions. I believe a background check should be required for every gun sale. I don’t believe that weapons of war should be readily available to any person who wants one and can find a private seller on Craigslist. I believe permitting laws, which provided some safeguards, must be strengthened, not abolished. I don’t believe that allowing guns to be possessed and carried on college campuses makes our young adults safer.
I believe health care is a human right. Our values cannot tolerate people dying because they are poor, but that is what is happening. At present many of us don't usually see it with our own eyes when a person suffers or dies for lack of the resources to obtain health care, but if we don't fix the current system we will witness it on the streets and more frequently in our own homes and families. I believe our state government must take every available opportunity to make sure each Texan has real access to health care, beginning with accepting Medicaid expansion benefits under the ACA.
Education Transportation and infrastructure health care
I don't think we talk enough about the value that immigrants bring to this state: cultural, economic and family values. Using stark numbers we should illustrate what our economy or cities and our communities would be without immigrants. For example a study in 2006 found that undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received.

I value my own immigrant past. My grandparents came here with nothing, did not speak English and through their hard work and the values they instilled in my father and 11 siblings they all became successful Americans. The door was not shut for them, they may have been vilified by some, but their contributions were recognized. We need to recognize those contributions again.

While not unique to me, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King are significant in my memories of childhood. I was a 1st grader in Catholic school in Dallas when JFK was shot and for our family his death was like losing one of our own. When I was 12 Rev. King and Bobby Kennedy were killed within 3 months of each other. These deaths were frightening and felt very personal to me. These leaders appeared so brave and so determined to do right by our country and I saw how they were essentially taken out by forces that resisted the change they worked for. I think the personal feeling I had for these men instilled in me the desire to fight for what I believe to be right. Speaking out has never been a problem for me and maybe it is because I was a witness to true bravery early on, right there in front of our television.