Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Texas House District 137

2-year term. Must be 25 years or older, a US citizen and a resident of Texas. Responsible for representing the citizens of his/her district in the US House of Representatives.

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  • Candidate picture

    Lee Sharp
    (L)

  • Gene Wu
    (Dem)

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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.

Education San Jacinto College, University of Houston, University of Texas, UTMB
Campaign Phone 346-704-4099
Website http://www.leewsharp.com
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/LeeWSharp/
contact lee@leewsharp.com
It all comes down to money. We are spending vast sums of money, and doing so inefficiently. For example, one low income housing project was given 30 million in subsidies. And these repairs will fade quickly, and the project will be ill-maintained again in a short time. But that was enough money to give every resident in the complex a down payment on a home, or to finance taking the entire complex condominium for the residents. At that point, they would have less expensive housing that they themselves have a stake in. For less tax money spent. And this is what we need, new ideas to spend our limited money (and most politicians do not realize it is actually limited) in more effective ways. Because only by lowering spending can we hope to lower taxes, or even just keep them even.
My fiancé is a teacher and has worked for public schools in three districts, and a charter school. And one of the biggest issues she faces is that the large amounts of money going to school districts never actually reaches the classrooms. We have districts spending a fortune on middle management, but have teachers spending large amounts of time on non-instructional paperwork. The biggest thing that would help is allowing our teachers to actually teach. If we can replace some middle management with teaching assistants to take some of the paperwork load off teachers, they might actually be able to do that! I also see teachers doing a lot of duplicate work creating lesson plans and teaching materials that are almost the same throughout the state. Funding a teaching aid bank for these materials would be cheap, yet free up a lot of time for teachers to teach! And that would be my focus. If it directly helps teachers in the classroom, I can support it. If not, it is a luxury for later.
In most of these cases, removing the word "gun" from the phrase makes much more sense. Yes, America has a problem with violence. The massive upsurge in protests and riots are proof of this. But there are also the individual unprovoked attacks. True, a pepper spray attack is less lethal than a gun attack, but the cause is the same. Rage has replaced debate as a way to push forward ideas. And the dehumanizing of "the other side" is frankly terrifying! If we continue along this path, the violence will only continue. The only solution is to refuse to support either side. Understand both sides (even if you do not agree) and debate rationally. And of course, being a third party, and not part of the demonization of the two major parties, can also help. I can actually be a bridge across parties, and have been among my friends and acquaintances. But restricting the tool will do nothing to change the hatred and violence.
As little as possible. It was government intervention that skewed health care in the first place! Do you see a government car insurance plan? State funded body shops? How many people have their homeowners insurance tied to their job? But we have many years of breaking health insurance and health care, and it will not be fixed quickly. One of the more interesting solutions I have seen to one issue, high prescription drug costs, is an app called GoodRX. While at the doctor, look up what he wants to prescribe you and find the cheapest cash price. If it is outrageous, ask him if there is another drug that can do the job as well. There almost always is... And he can change it while you are there to the cheaper alternative. If everyone did this, or even a significant percentage, drug prices would plummet! Pharmaceutical companies would have to consider cost of alternatives when pricing, and pharmacies would compete on price. And this is something we can do now without waiting on government.
Most of these problems are not the government's to solve. Housing problems are fixed by letting people build more housing. The only place these problems are actually government problems is when the government is the only provider. For example, the long DPS lines for a drivers license. One way to fix this is to allow some privatization of DPS functions. Most of it is paperwork only, and if we figure out our per person cost for those services, they can be outsourced almost instantly. My only requirement is that there are no long term contracts with guaranteed minimums like with the private prisons. This way the private sector can contract and expand as need demands. And things that can not be outsourced could be handled by existing resources that are freed up by the outsourcing. The best part is that the additional demand would pay for the additional services, so there would be no cost to the taxpayer!
I think both sides are ignoring the reality of immigration today. The fact is that we have many people coming here illegally and they are not destroying the economy. Yes, they take some jobs, but they also need food, housing, transportation, clothing... And other people provide these things. Immigration is good for the country. But you have others ignoring the fact that our legal system is hopelessly broken. When some people have a 30 year wait to come to the US, no one should be surprised that they look for other alternatives. When you consider the cost people are paying now to come here (Including rape and high risk of death) you will understand why our existing punishments are no deterrent. Instead, we should have a better system to allow legal immigration. It can easily be paid for by the immigrants themselves, and diverting that money from the criminal smuggling gangs has other benefits.
As a young adult while working for BMC, I had a chance to take a job in Johannesburg South Africa. I leaped at it while all of my friends and family were asking if I was crazy. The US State department website was saying that Johannesburg was the most dangerous city in the world outside of an active war zone. Carjacking was so bad that red lights were optional after dark! But I went and LOVED it! It was an amazing time, and I met so many amazing people. It was dangerious and I had to be aware, but I also had a chance to ride horseback next to zebra and giraffes! While I was there my best friend, Also at BMC went to one of his regular clients. It was a lat booking and he flew in late and was actually leaving his hotel late when he heard a noise above him. As the first plane hit the world trade center. Watching 9/11 from a foreign country was surreal and taught me a lot. Especially about the world perception of the US. But mostly, to not fear opportunity. Take precautions, but do it!
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