Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

U.S. House, District 21

Texas' 21st congressional district, held by Republican Rep. Lamar Smith since 1987, spans northern San Antonio, the Hill Country, New Braunfels and parts of Austin. Smith's retirement sparked fierce contests of succession in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Ultimately, Republican Chip Roy won his party's spot on the ballot. He's a first-time candidate, with experience in Austin working for state elected officials and the Texas Public Policy Foundation think tank. The Democratic candidates is Joseph Kopser, an Austin-based Army veteran and businessman.Listen to Texas Public Radio radio forum with candidates Joseph Kopser and Chip Roy here.

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  • Candidate picture

    Joseph Kopser
    (Dem)

  • Chip Roy
    (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.

Age 47
Education United States Military Academy at West Point, B.S. in Aerospace Engineering '93 Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, MPA in Campaigns, Elections, and Special Advocacy '02
Campaign Phone 7378084150
Website kopserforcongress.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KopserforCongress/
Twitter https://twitter.com/Kopser4Congress
website Website: http://www.kopserforcongress.com
Preparing our workforce for the 21st century economy will be critically important over the next five years. Texas is currently running a deficit in producing the talent we need, especially among minority communities. To fill the gap, we must seek new approaches to education, recruitment, inclusion, and building infrastructure for new industries--particularly renewable energy. This will require a new commitment to coalition building and innovation at the state and federal levels. If elected, I’ll introduce a bipartisan 21st Century Jobs Act to address this challenge.

I’ll add that Texas can never take it’s eye off mitigating the impact of climate change and the ongoing water challenges our state faces. Expanding our sustainable energy industry and related workforce will alleviate both the education and environmental challenges.

Although public schools are currently funded by local communities, state governments, and the federal government, this funding is not equitable and is not structured to provide a quality K–12 education for every child. I believe that every student, regardless of their family’s income or zip code, deserves an education that serves their needs and will prepare them for 21st-century careers. Equity in education requires supporting public schools and expanding opportunities for all children, rather than subsidizing opportunities for a limited number of students to attend private schools.

Public education is supposed to be “the great equalizer,” and yet many students receive better or worse educations based on their parents’ and community’s affluence. Education should be local, but its funding doesn’t have to be. For all our nation’s students to have an opportunity to succeed in our changing world, public school funding must be connected to their needs—not tied to their community’s wealth.
America is facing a gun violence epidemic. This epidemic is the direct result of the easy access to guns for those who should not have them, an access protected by gun manufacturers and the leadership of the NRA. This is the unacceptable reality for the growing number of victims of gun violence. I have proposed some common sense gun safety reforms to help curb gun violence, including the implementation of an assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines, establish a no-fly, no-buy list, and protect state laws that have banned open or concealed carry.
As a proud veteran, my family and I are covered under Tricare. The vast majority of others in this country are not so lucky and, before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), faced insurmountable financial obstacles to lifesaving routine checkups and preventative screenings. A doctor’s visit was a luxury for far too many hard-working Americans. For the millions who couldn’t afford it, this could mean prolonged illness or preventable death. I believe that the to way to solve America’s health care quagmire is to ensure all Americans are covered, regardless of employment status or income level. I’ll fight for health care coverage for all, and I’ll work to close the disparities in both the system’s costs relative to the quality of care Americans receive and the vast gulf in coverage that separates the wealthiest Americans from everyday, hard-working middle-class citizens.
Texas is home to three of the top ten fastest growing cities in the country. This population growth can cause significant strain on some of our most necessary institutions, specifically our healthcare and education systems, as well as our public infrastructure. That’s why I’ll make these issues my priorities in office.
First of all, we need to stop ripping families apart. It should be that simple--when it comes to DREAMers, we made a promise to those kids, who are here through no fault of their own. We need to protect DACA recipients, who have worked hard to fulfil their part of the bargain. But unfortunately, immigration is a controversial position. One way I like to frame it to Republicans is from a financial perspective. We want to support innovative, entrepreneurial ideas--but unless we add more people to the workforce, we won’t have enough workers to support these businesses. If we continue to add new Americans to the workforce we will be able to grow our economy as well as providing a path for legal status and one day citizenship for more new Americans.
When I was just a skinny twelve year old, Mrs. Audrey Grevious was my teacher. Before teaching our sixth grade class, she had been a civil rights icon in the 50’s and 60’s. She had consistently challenged “separate but equal” rules and fearlessly led protests for civil rights. In the classroom, she led with a mantra that touched us all: when you see a problem, go and fix it. That motto has inspired my life’s work, from the decision to join the military to founding a business that helped people get to work on time to returning to public service now by running for office. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from Audrey Grevious, and I was thrilled to learn recently that she is being honored with a school in her name.
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