Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

State Representative District 96

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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  • Stephen Parmer
    (L)

  • Candidate picture

    Ryan E. Ray
    (Dem)

  • Bill Zedler
    (Rep)

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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 35
Education HS Diploma - Crowley High School BA in Political Science - Washington & Jefferson College JD (Law degree) - Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now A&M)
Website voteryanray.com
Facebook facebook.com/voteryanray
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website voteryanray.com
contact ryan@voteryanray.com
Hands down the biggest issue we face is Public Education funding. Whether you have kids in public school or not, a successful public school system helps everyone and a failing public school system hurts everyone. When we fail kids in our public schools we don't have the skilled workforce we need to grow the economy and rates of criminal activity skyrocket - impacting every single Texan in one shape or form.

We must prioritize public education and make the investments necessary to make sure that all our kids get the world class education they deserve while our teachers get the benefits they were promised and worked for.
In 2006 when the Legislature forced School Districts to slash tax rates, they made a promise that they would contribute at least 50% of the cost of educating our public school kids. In 2019 the State will be contributing approximately one third of the cost of educating our public school kids. The fact is that legislature kept it's promise - in 2008 - and has broken it.

The results of that failed promise are property taxes that have risen astronomically, schools that are some of the worst funded in the nation, an absolute crisis when it comes to meeting the needs our special needs, and a system that continuously squeezes teachers while State employee's continue to enjoy lost cost healthcare and pension increases.

My philosophy is pretty simple, we need to make public education a priority again and keep our promises. The State should endeavor to create a more fair system of allocating funds and at the same significantly increase the states contribution.

It is a sad reality that barely a week goes by without another mass shooting with a high powered military style assault weapon. Yes, gun violence is a problem and we must confront it. That means re-examining the assault weapons ban, looking at regulating clip size, making certain that whenever someone buys a gun that a background check is conducted, and instituting red flag laws to help prevent the mentally unstable and domestic abusers from getting their hands on a firearm.

The easy access to weapons of war is a serious problem but so is the deplorable state our mental health services throughout the nation and particularly in Texas. The largest provider of mental health services in Texas is our jail system, because too often people who need mental health services simply don't receive those services until it's too late. This goes hand in hand with our failure in the area o healthcare, expanding Medicaid would bring hundreds of millions for mental health care. We must expand Medicaid.
Every developed nation in the world, as well as many developing nations, has made providing access to affordable health care a high priority. Most have some universal healthcare scheme and every one of them spends less per person on healthcare than the United States. Our Federal and State governments are responsible for making certain that everyone has access to affordable high quality healthcare. The Affordable Car Act was an attempt at fulfilling that responsibility, unfortunately due in large part to hyper-partisan attacks on the program it has not had the hoped for impact. States like Texas chose not to expand Medicaid, to forgo billions on federal aid which would have not only likely helped to prevent thousands of deaths over the last several years but also bring billions into the Texas economy. I can't answer national question of how to fix healthcare, but I can say Texas must take the billions offered by the Federal government to expand Medicaid sooner rather than later.
With relation to growth the biggest issue is our infrastructure, Texas must dedicate the necessary resources to maintain and upgrade our roads and bridges while not siphoning funds from other important services.

We've already talked about education but of those 1,000 people a day about a quarter are children who will end up in our public schools. Each year Texas is adding over 80,000 students in our public schools and funding for public education must keep pace. Over the past 10 years inflation adjusted funding per pupil has dropped significantly according go the Legislative Budget Board's most recent report - we must have a legislature that prioritizes funding our public schools and does so in a way that keeps up with our phenomenal population growth.

With more people we are consuming more and more energy. We certainly have the resources in Texas to handle the demand, but we need to start focusing on bringing more green energy solutions online to handle the ever increasing demand.
We need secure borders, we all know that drugs are streaming in from the southern border while American guns are being smuggled south to fuel the gang violence in Mexico. It's an untenable situation, however the problem is only compounded by our outdated immigration policies that don't properly take into account the economics of immigration. We need comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level to greatly expand the number of Mexican and central American nationals we allow into the country while at the same time making certain that we vet those folks, tax and keep track of them. If we make the immigration system more workable, then our border security will have more resources to focus on the gangs and drug smugglers. People fleeing violence in central america or coming here from Mexico to make a better life for their families aren't the problem, they are part of the reason that Texas and the USA are flourishing, but we have to manage the immigration process better.
My time on the Debate team at Crowley High School really changed the way I viewed the world. It taught me how to think critically about far ranging subjects from poverty, public education, and nuclear policy to heavy philosophical concepts. I think my time as a debater, where one must examine and argue both sides of every issue has helped me to be able to step back and try to think about problems from every angle. Too often, particularly in politics, people see things from just one narrow perspective and rather than trying to broaden that perspective they would prefer to fight to prove their perspective is the right one. I think we need more folks in Austin (and DC for that matter) willing to take a board look at the issues and try to craft solutions rather than merely arguments.
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