Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

U.S. Representative District 17

General Election: November 6, 2018Early Voting: October 22 - November 2, 2018

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    Peter Churchman

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    Bill Flores

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    Rick Kennedy

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Biographical Information

Explain your position on US immigration policy.

What policies, if any, would you pursue to address public safety and gun violence?

Explain the role you believe the federal government should play in addressing the cost of and access to healthcare

What other issue do you consider most important and how would you address it?

Background Peter is happily married to the mother of his 2 young children. Peter transitioned from owning a small business to a blue collar job in logistics.
Education Peter went to Texas State University where he majored in Business.
We should make immigration another tool to grow the economy. The labor market should control the inflow and outflow of immigrants. With unemployment so low, we need more people to help further expand our economy. All people who do not pose a threat to America and will not be a drain on the treasury should be allowed to come here and participate in our economy. By ending the drug war and ending federally run welfare programs we will end the perverse incentives to come here, and we will be better off for it.
The government should stop actively disarming people. Almost all of the tragic mass shootings in our country happen in gun free zones. It is time to let the American people defend themselves in any way they see fit and at all times. We also need to focus as a community on helping those with mental issues instead of stigmatizing mental illness.

The first thing our government should do is end the FDA. The FDA has increased the cost of bringing a drug to market by a factor of 6 in the last quarter century, but we have little to show for it. The rate that new drugs are taken off of the market is the same it has been for decades, the additional testing done by the FDA hasn't changed that, but it has added to the costs of prescription medication making it unaffordable for many. The FDA also prevents drugs that are safe in other countries from being imported. Drugs that are safe in Europe should also be sold in America.
The federal government grows every year, yet we are not any better off because of it; we are worse off because we have spiraling debt and our currency is losing its value. The size and scope of the federal government should be cut back to what is expressly provided for in the Constitution and nothing more. We need to cut taxes drastically and pay for it by eliminating all of the unnecessary and inefficient programs, departments, and agencies run by the federal government. Congress should pass a balanced budget that works to grow the economy and pay off the debt.
Background U.S. Representative since 2011; Businessperson with by 30+ years in the energy business; Texas Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Education BBA Accounting (Cum Laude) -- Texas A&M University; MBA -- Houston Baptist University
Secure our borders with an integrated system of barriers, personnel, sensors, airborne assets, and roads. Modify our legal immigration system to be a merit-based system. Develop a workable and efficient Temporary Worker Permit for seasonal labor needs. Develop a path for current Dreamer population to earned legal status/citizenship. Develop a path for current illegal population to acquire earned legal status through a probation/deferred adjudication process. Require use of E-Verify for all hiring by all employers. Increase the sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants.
Focus on the drivers of criminal activity – mental illness, drug activities, domestic violence, etc. Provide additional federal research funding for mental health research and treatment. Work with states to provide better treatment for mental illness. Ban Bump Stocks. Provide protocols and additional resources to states and local school districts to harden our schools to prevent criminals from entering schools including metal detectors, more secure entrances, security training, and security personnel.

Create true, free-markets for healthcare and health insurance products. Require healthcare pricing transparency by providers. Enable expanded access to more generic prescriptions. Facilitate development of an interstate health insurance market. Allow consumer health insurance associations for greater buying power. Allow state-based high-risk pools to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions and high-utilization patients, e.g. Maine. Increase federal research investments to find prevention & cure treatments for the biggest drivers of healthcare costs–Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, etc.
National Security; action items: Maintain a robust domestic diplomatic capability (State Department, USAID, etc.). Develop stronger alliances with current allies and potential allies. Provide greater manpower and funding resources for our military. Increase funding for defense research and development. Require our allies to increase their respective investments in the areas listed above. Countries with strong economic ties are not likely to engage in hostilities, so we should develop stronger trade alliances based upon free & fair trade principles including no tariffs, barriers, or subsidies.
Background Rick Kennedy is a successful software engineer who has lived in Central Texas for more than a decade. He has raised his three children here.
Education Bachelor of Science, Computer Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 1984.
Our current immigration laws reflect decades of shortsighted mismanagement and political gridlock. Given our aging workforce and historically low birth rates, we need immigration laws that address our economic needs, reflect our values, and keep our citizens safe.

I support a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants who have no criminal record and have been in the US for 5+ years.

I will work for immigration laws that allow for a mix of skills-based, familial, and compassionate immigration that varies with our ability to absorb them.
Saving American lives should not be an issue subjected to partisan bickering.

I support repealing the Dickey Amendment and appropriating funds for gun violence research. As an engineer, I want to implement policy based on facts.

I support better background checks (as do 90% of voters) and banning gun ownership for convicted domestic abusers.

I also support the Second Amendment. My goal is to reduce gun violence without infringing on Second Amendment rights of lawful gun owners.
I support universal healthcare. I believe access to healthcare is a right. Additionally, there is an economic imperative. Healthier kids make better students. Healthier adults are more productive employees.

We must provide access to healthcare for all while simultaneously driving down costs. A universal healthcare program will have the responsibility to negotiate prices and incentivize participants to take advantage of wellness and disease prevention activities.

Like public/private education, universal healthcare will not eliminate private insurance for those who choose it.
As a parent, I’m concerned about my children’s education.

There has been much discussion about converting federal funding for schools to a voucher system to allow for more choice. For the majority, there is no choice as private schools in Texas serve just over 300,000 students while public schools serve more than 5 million. We must ensure that all children have access to an education that will position them for future success.

Their success will allow TX17, Texas and our country to remain competitive in the 21st century global economy.