Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

U.S. House, District 2

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Humble) is retiring after seven terms in Congress. Poe chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade. He also serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary. Texas’ 2nd Congressional District includes portions of central Houston, the cities of Jersey Village and Humble, and much of unincorporated Harris County. The district has been growing steadily more urban and more diverse over the course of Poe’s time in office. However, most analysts still regard the district as solidly Republican.Nine Republicans and five Democrats ran in the March primary for a chance to succeed Poe. After a runoff, Republican Dan Crenshaw was chosen for his party's spot on the ballot. Crenshaw is a former U.S. Navy SEAL, medically retired as the result of a combat injury, and a former legislative aide to Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions. The Democratic candidate is Todd Litton. He's worked with the City of Houston, practiced law and worked in investing. Like his Republican challenger, Litton lists disaster recovery/flood control as one of his top priorities.However, the candidates on a wide range of other issues – notably immigration, healthcare, abortion/women’s health, and gun rights/gun safety.Also on the ballot are Libertarian candidate Patrick Gunnels and Independent Scott Cubbler.

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  • Candidate picture

    Dan Crenshaw

  • Scott Cubbler

  • Candidate picture

    Patrick Gunnels

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    Todd Litton

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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.

Age 34.
Education B.A., Tufts. M.P.A., Harvard Kennedy School
Campaign Phone (832) 834-3128
Website crenshawforcongress.com
Facebook /CrenshawforCongress/
Twitter @DanCrenshawTX
The future can hold many unforeseen issues; however, a pressing issue many Texans, and many of my future constituents face is the existential threat posed by flooding. Many residents of Texas’ Second Congressional District were devastated by Hurricane Harvey, which was just the most recent catastrophic flood. The lessons that should have been learned from the Tax Day Floods of 2016 and the Memorial Day Floods in 2015 were ignored.

Texans need immediate relief through dredging, especially along the San Jacinto River; an additional reservoir and more regional detention ponds; and more tainter gates and the expansion of spillways to better manage water release. I have outlined a very detailed plan which can be found on my webpage, crenshawforcongress.com/flood-policy/.
When it comes to education I am a firm believer in empowering parents to make the best decisions for their students. If that is public schools, charter schools, parochial schools, or homeschooling, parents should have the opportunity to ensure their child is enabled with what they need to succeed in education and life. Beyond the parent and student, decisions on education are best made at the local level.

As I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives, I am not seeking an office which should have much, if any control, over the future of public school funding in Texas.
What is often referred to as a gun violence problem is actually a much more complex problem. Life is not respected. Children are increasingly isolated, even though they live in a world that has never been so interconnected. Mental health issues aren’t being addressed.

When it comes to solutions to decrease violence, or any policy for that matter, we must separate policies that feel good - but do not do good - from policies that actually make a difference. We must also respect the rights of individuals to protect themselves, as granted by the 2nd Amendment.

Policies such as a Gun Violence Restraining Order would create a legal remedy for removing guns from those who are demonstrating violent or threatening behavior. This can be instituted without infringing on the protected rights of the majority of gun owners who only seek to protect themselves and their family.
The government should, to a large degree, step back from the health insurance market. Government interference in the market is, to a large degree, what created the need to address many of the problems the ACA sought to remedy.

To improve the health insurance market I believe we need to expand choice in coverage, increase tax free HSA contribution limit, and allow for the expansion of direct primary care. We also need to work together to reduce drug costs, and support the President’s agenda to reform the FDA and allow generic drugs to get to market quicker.
Thousands of people flock to Texas because they are voting with their feet, fleeing states with tax and spend policies which impose excessive burdens on citizens and businesses. The influx of new Texans means the Texas government should: 1) Continue our pro-market, pro-growth policies; 2) Plan for infrastructure improvement to accommodate population growth; 3) Address the problems with the current property tax system which denies true ownership of property.

From the federal perspective I will work to bring the Texas model of pro-growth, low taxes and regulation, and predictable spending to Washington.
I believe that legal immigrants often get lost in the discussion on immigration. My step mother is a legal immigrant. She cherishes her citizenship, and I welcome everyone who comes here legally and chooses to become an American by choice. I believe we can do a better job with those who come to the U.S. to study, especially in STEM fields, by extending opportunities for exceptional students to fill gaps, where there are needs, for those students to remain in the U.S. and take part in our economy. As we look to combat illegal immigration, we need to find a better solution to the problem of visa overstays, which are often overlooked or ignored, even though they are a major source of those who are currently here illegally. An last, we must fund and implement real border security solutions. Texans are on the front lines, using state funds to protect the nation’s border. This isn’t right. The federal government should do its job and put resources where they are needed: on the border.
I grew up in an oil family. My father’s work took us across the world and I was able to grow up in many places, such as Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, and Scotland. This constant movement exposed me to the rest of the world.

I was only 10 years old when I lost my mother to cancer. I watched her fight. I saw her bravery, her courage, and her resolve. Those lessons made me who I am today.
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Age 42
Education BA Mathematics, UT Austin
Campaign Phone 832-253-7460
Twitter www.twitter.com/pgunnels
The only issue I care about right now is ridding Washington of the systemic corruption that has debased the FBI and Department of Justice. This is the only issue that everyone in all fifty states should be worried about. Until these criminals are rooted out and brought to justice, we effectively don't have a functioning government.
All public school funding should be taken completely off of the federal level. The Federal government has no place in any education system. We should abolish the Department of Education. We should return the task of educating our youth to the states and communities where they live.
I think gun control causes greater gun violence. You'll notice that the highest concentration of gun crime in the US is located where the gun control laws are the strictest. I will fight to lessen federal gun restrictions at every turn.
Government should act only as a referee between large corporations and the individual - only to make sure that the individual isn't being abused by anticompetitive or monopolistic practices. The Affordable Care Act should be abolished, insurance companies must be allowed to compete across state lines, and federal involvement in health care should be brought to an absolute minimum.
As I am running for federal office, I don't feel that this question applies to me.
Any nation, in order to survive, must have control over its borders. I have no problem with legal immigration, so long as those coming here make our country better, not worse. I want a wall, and I want it yesterday.
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Age 48
Education Duke University (BA), University of Texas (JD), Rice University (MBA)
Website www.toddlitton.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/toddlittonforcongress
Twitter https://twitter.com/toddlitton
Currently, the most critical issue Texas is facing and will continue to face is access to quality and affordable healthcare. Our state’s decision to not expand Medicaid has left more than 4.3 million Texans uninsured—many of them children. Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate, not just of any state, but of any country in the developed world.

This is unacceptable, and health care prices continue to rise. In Congress, I will work hard to propose solutions that will allow us to lower health care costs and increase access to high quality and affordable health care. I'll work to reduce the cost of prescription drugs by passing legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate better prices with drug companies. I'll also work to protect the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions - we cannot go back to the days when people with a pre-existing condition were denied insurance or critical care.
Investing in our people starts with education, and my vision for education in our country is centered on a pipeline of lifelong learning. I believe creating strong public educational opportunities for all people is crucial to making the promise of America real for everyone. We need to invest first and foremost in our people.

I will focus on the “out-of-school” time space – early childhood, afterschool, and summer – by expanding access to quality early childhood education and 21st century community learning centers. Expanding national service and AmeriCorps is part of my plan to provide support for educational opportunity and to reweave our national fabric by allowing young people to serve in different parts of our country while helping pay for higher education costs.
Common Sense gun safety legislation is long overdue in America. The horrific acts of gun violence can be stopped or reduced with simple, effective background checks that keep guns out of the hands of violent people.

In June of 2017, the Pew Research Center surveyed both Democrats and Republicans on issues of gun safety and over 75% of respondents in both parties supported the following legislation: • Barring those who are mentally ill from purchasing firearms • Barring those who are on either a terrorist watch or no-fly list from purchasing firearms • Employing background checks for guns bought at private sales and gun shows

None of these proposals are about taking away anyone’s guns. I support the Second Amendment. We need representatives who are not afraid to stand up to the NRA and special interest groups, and who will instead work towards bipartisan, common sense gun safety legislation that makes America safer for us all.
Access to health care is a fundamental human right, and we need to make it affordable. Far too many people in our country cannot access the health care they need.

We need to lower health care costs, and improve the quality of treatment. We need to stabilize the current health care system, drive down drug costs, and start expanding access to CHIP, Medicare, and Medicaid so that all people have access to the preventive health care they need to lead healthy and productive lives.

Common Sense health care that works for our people includes coverage of preventive care, protections for those with pre-existing conditions, mental health care, lowering the costs of medication, and coverage for those confronting addiction. That means coverage for birth control, women’s health issues and ensuring women are in charge of their own reproductive choices.
Health Care: Across the district, access to health care and the rising costs of prescription medication is a major concern. I'll work to reduce the cost of prescription drugs by passing legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate better prices and to protect the millions of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions who currently receive affordable health insurance.

Flooding: Flooding has had a severe impact on our people and property in TX-02 and across the region. I've lived in Houston through Allison, Ike, Memorial Day, Tax Day, and Harvey. I will fight for the resources and action we need to rebuild the infrastructure we need to protect our community from future flooding.

Education: We need to support families with children by providing paid parental leave and access to high-quality early childhood education. I'll work to create and expand partnerships between colleges, unions, businesses and the military to ensure people can get the education and training they need.
America is a nation of immigrants. We need to protect our borders and our immigration procedures, but building a wall at great cost with little effect and deporting productive, law-abiding members of society lacks Common Sense and Common Decency. We need to ensure that law-abiding immigrants don’t live under constant threat of being split from their families. It is harmful to our communities and our country as a whole.

I will make comprehensive immigration reform a priority. This reform won’t allow people who arrived or stayed here illegally to leapfrog others lawfully going through the immigration process, but it will provide a path to citizenship for many law-abiding people who are contributing to our communities and our country.

As we experienced during Harvey, what makes our community truly exceptional is our people – all of our people – no exceptions. During the floods it didn’t matter how you look, how you pray, how you love, or how you vote. It was just, “Get in the boat.”
I was born and raised in Houston and grew up in a home where my mom is a yellow dog Democrat, and my dad a common-sense Republican. Discussions got a little heated around the kitchen table, but we grew up understanding you can disagree politically and still love and respect one another.

I am not a partisan politician and have no desire to become one. While I'm a Democrat, I'm also proud to have served as an intern in the White House for President George H.W. Bush in college. I'll work with both sides to get things done for our district and our country, and I won't adopt partisan talking points or extreme views like the Freedom Caucus or Tea Party on one side, or Socialists on the other.