Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

State Representative District 52

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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    Cynthia Flores

  • Candidate picture

    James Talarico

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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 53
Education B.S. in Rehabilitation Studies from the University of North Texas.
Campaign Phone 512-431-3184
Website www.CynthiaFlores52.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/cynthiaflorestx52
Twitter www.twitter.com/floresforhd52
website www.CynthiaFlores52.com
We have to find a better way to finance our schools. We are overly-reliant on property taxes, and because of it, the state relies on a divisive revenue-sharing method. To solve this, we need to greatly increase the state share of education funding. I don’t believe it can happen overnight, but incrementally. We should also pay teachers more, and fully fund teacher retirement.
We need to increase the state share of education funding, reducing our reliance on property taxes. Local revenue sharing is divisive. The state needs to step up to the plate.
I think America has a violence problem. Clearly, it often involves weapons such as firearms, but a variety of weapons. This really requires a commitment to addressing the mental health issues that cause people to commit acts of violence. Even if one wanted to, there is no way to rid our state and nation of so many privately owned weapons, and if it were attempted, it’s the law-abiding who would be punished by it. We need to take a comprehensive look at mental health in America.
I want to encourage greater enrollment in health insurance in Texas, but I don’t think one-size-fits-all plans, that often cost a second mortgage, are the way to go. ObamaCare has centralized power in the bureaucracy, which has made plans in the individual marketplace unaffordable, narrowed doctor networks and removed patient choices. We to focus on competition, choice, and protecting the doctor-patient relationship from bureaucratic interference.
I have served on several planning boards for fast-growth Williamson County. We need a comprehensive plan to fund our transportation needs, we need to focus on preserving water resources for residential and commercial users, and plan for the strain on our electric power system caused by high heat. Each of these three issues require decisive action.
We need a basic recognition of the common humanity of all immigrants, including those who come here illegally. Efforts to dehumanize immigrants, including family separation, is simply un-American.
My family was neither wealthy or poor, but my parents taught my seven siblings and me the importance of the bonds of family. I can remember camping at state parks, as one large family, and still fondly recall a sense of stewardship that comes in managing this earth we call home, and passing along to family our sense of communal responsibility to one another.
Age 29
Education B.A. Government, The University of Texas at Austin M.A. Education Policy, Harvard University
Campaign Phone 832-764-1311
Website www.jamestalarico.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/talaricoforstaterep/
Twitter twitter.com/JamesTalarico
contact Doug Snyder 832-764-1311
The most critical issue Texas will face is one we've been dealing with for years already: reforming our unconstitutional school funding system. As a former public school teacher, I understand what goes into educating the next generation. I’ve put education front-and-center in this campaign, and will do so in the Legislature. However, partisan legislators with radical agendas have neglected to address the issue of school funding, instead trying to regulate which bathrooms Texans can use.

My first priority for education is to overhaul our unconstitutional school financing system top-to-bottom. I believe that we need to return to, at minimum, pre-2011 levels of funding for our schools. We need to incorporate more technology in our classroom, reduce our reliance on standardized testing, and ensure adequate funding to more than just core subjects, including as the arts, athletics, and extracurricular activities.
My philosophy towards public school funding is simple. Instead of slashing the state contribution level, leaving cities and counties to foot the bill, we should dedicate as much as possible to educating the next generation of Texans. I’m deeply committed to fixing our state’s broken school finance system by increasing education funding levels, revamping outdated funding formulas, and reworking our recapture system (or “Robin Hood”) to be more equitable. That means smaller classroom sizes, more technology in the classrooms, increased teacher pay, and a better future for our kids.
I do believe America has a problem with gun violence. Texans agree we need to make our communities safer through common-sense gun safety measures and greater mental health resources. This means ensuring universal background checks, restricting gun purchases for people convicted of felonies or violent misdemeanors, and closing loopholes that allow potentially dangerous individuals to quickly obtain weapons. While laws banning abusers from having weapons are codified, they are poorly enforced. The majority of violent crimes are committed by domestic abusers against people they know. These crimes can be better combated.

But, this issue is twofold. Mental health is deeply stigmatized in America and treatment is unaffordable. Mental health care must be available to every Texan, especially our students. Active measures must be taken to offer treatment to rural areas, where care is inaccessible, as well. We should pursue responsible solutions, not arm our teachers or militarize our schools.
The government's role in healthcare should be ensuring it is accessible and affordable for every Texan. Therefore, I oppose rolling back or dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

The best way to reduce our state’s high uninsured rate is by expanding Medicaid, but the Texas Legislature refuses to accept billions of our own federal tax dollars available to expand health coverage. This short-sighted, partisan decision-making has led to higher premiums for most Texans. That’s putting politics over people. Instead, we need to vastly expand preventative care, meaning ensuring yearly check-ups and basic health needs are affordable even for poorer communities.
To accommodate our population growth, we should rebuild our ailing infrastructure, safeguard local control, and learn how to compromise. Firstly, we need to invest in reducing traffic without relying on tolls. Our outdated highways threaten to slow growth and make commuting to work take longer and longer. It’s time the Legislature take seriously a high-speed rail system, robust public transportation, rebuilding Texas’ vast network of highways, toll-free. Secondly, we need to end our assault on local control. Last session, state leaders tried to overrule communities on tree ordinances, property taxes, regulating bathrooms and more. I believe we should be listening to city councils, activists, and police chiefs about what their communities need instead. Finally, we need to bring back civility to Texas politics. Radical partisanship has halted our Legislature, and too many representatives refuse to compromise to actually improve Texans’ lives. That needs to change.
What I believe is missing from the conversation is humanity. Radical legislators have spent billions on militarizing the border, and passed Senate Bill 4, the "show me your papers" bill, last session, nearly the exact same bill overturned in Arizona for its unconstitutionality, instead of passing adequate funding for our public schools or taking meaningful steps to make Texas more affordable. That's the price of partisanship.

Instead, I believe we should take conscious steps to protect Texas immigrants. That means overturning SB4, opposing attempts to deport DACA recipients, and continuing to make Texas a more welcoming place for all people.
My mother and I lived in a one-bedroom apartment near McNeil High School while I was young. She dedicated herself to ensuring I graduated from that same high school 18 years later, despite being a single mother. She worked overtime at a hotel, eventually working her way up to assistant manager. She later met and married the man I call Dad, and we moved to the house where they still live today. While my mother didn’t get a college education for herself, my parents and the selfless educators in Round Rock ISD gave me the opportunity to earn degrees from the best universities in the world. With the help of financial aid — including a scholarship from the McNeil High School PTA — I earned a bachelor’s degree in government from The University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in education policy from Harvard University. This experience shaped me into who I am by showing me the value of a strong public education, a welcoming community, and the importance of helping others.