Oral Roberts University
The most critical concern I hear about Congress is that Washington is broken. We need leaders who will stand firm against the D.C. culture of corruption. Since my election, I have met with countless residents and local officials to develop real solutions to our district’s challenges. I voted to restore our national defense and against legislation that continued excessive spending in other areas. I led a successful effort to remove harmful tariffs on Barite, a vital component of oil/gas production, which is critical to job creation here. And I cosponsored a congressional term limits bill, an important safeguard against corruption. I did not go to Congress just to vote the right way but to be the proactive leader our district deserves.
As the father of three children and husband of a public school teacher, I certainly understand our urgent need to provide a quality education for all of our nation’s students. Our bureaucratic, top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to education is failing our students. I am committed to returning more control over education to parents and to state and local governments. We need to free teachers to teach and provide parents greater input in educational choices for their children. I will actively work to reduce Washington’s encroachment into our local schools.
The Constitutional right to keep and bear arms is essential to defend ourselves not only from others but also from tyranny. Although Americans are safer today from gun crime than at any time since the 1960s, there is still much work to be done. As a father of three students and the husband of a public school teacher, I am especially aware of the need to improve school safety, but data shows that many gun control “solutions” would only make our families less safe. A few areas to focus on are more armed security, counseling, mental health, enforcement of laws to keep guns out of the hands of children, and rethinking policies that have led to the breakdown of the family. At the root of violence is a disrespect of human life, and that is where we need to also focus our attention – respecting all human life.
Obamacare has not only increased healthcare costs but has also restricted our freedom to choose our healthcare options. Today, premiums are so expensive that even for those who can afford the insurance premiums, many can not afford to use the health care that’s covered because the deductibles are too high. Obamacare must be repealed. We should encourage an approach that lowers costs and increases access to care — rather than inflating insurance rolls. We should allow Americans to choose a health plan that meets their needs rather than one designed by bureaucrats. Limiting lawsuit abuse and preventing Medicare fraud, which costs the average American household $500/year, would also lower costs. Restoring accountability and free market principles will increase access to affordable, quality care.
One challenge is improving infrastructure to keep up with the growing population. I will continue to work to eliminate federal red tape and secure funding for our district’s ports and the completion of I-69 and other projects that are vital to economic growth in our region.
A growing population also worsens the challenge of ensuring that our district has the clean, affordable water resources we need. I will not attempt to force federal, top-down approaches on a primarily state and local issue, but I will work to ensure our communities receive federal funding with fewer costly federal strings attached.
A third challenge is affordable housing. Although this is also primarily a state and local issue, I will work to ensure our district receives its share of federal funding. Government regulations account for about 25% of the cost of building a home ($20-40,000 for the average home). Reducing unnecessary red tape will reduce costs and increase availability of affordable housing.
Our immigration system is broken. An unwillingness to enforce the law over the past several decades has favored those who choose to break the law rather than go through the legal process. And Congress has been negligent in finding a solution to this serious problem. The first step in any immigration policy must be border security and enforcement, and Congress should pursue an “all of the above” approach, including building a wall where it makes sense and providing our Border Patrol with the personnel and equipment they need to do their job.
When I was eight years old, my dad graduated from college. This opened doors for us, allowing my dad to get a job building nuclear attack submarines, which provided a better life for our family and took us around the country, seemingly always in the shadow of a military base. My mom had worked to put my dad through college, as a living example of the value of hard work. My parents’ perseverance and commitment to education shaped who I am today.
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Communications Studies, BA
Partisanship at every level of government is stopping us from solving the vast majority of issues that are affecting us all, regardless of our party affiliation. Access to affordable quality healthcare, decent paying jobs, and affordable higher education are not democratic or republican issues, but issues that effect each one of us and our families. Solutions are well within reach if we as a country can come together to the table and talk to our neighbors to build legislation and policy that work for all Americans.
As a candidate I’ve hosted six public town halls across the district and visited every county multiple times to hear directly from the people and what they face in their day to day lives. As congressman, I intend to continue being as transparent as possible and hold myself accountable to the people of the district through more open conversations where every constituent has a seat at the table.
Public school funds should stay accountable to the people and not be funneled to unaccountable private corporations. While our neighborhood schools continue to be underfunded by our state and federal legislators, our teachers are paying more and more of pocket every year for supplies and their pay stagnates. Federal grants and programs can aid schools that are struggling to make ends meet and free up funds for schools to use to offer competitive salaries and give public schools the tools they need to provide quality education to every student, no matter their zip code.
On May 18th 10 students lost their lives in the Santa Fe High School shooting, just over an hour from CD27, joining the 7,000 students that have died from gun violence since Sandy Hook. As a Texan, I understand the role that firearms play in our history and culture. While I respect the 2nd amendment, I also recognize the fact that we as a society need to take real action to protect our young people. Common sense firearm legislation like universal background checks for all firearm purchases have had bipartisan support and are the first step in making sure firearms are sold only to responsible gun owners.
As I’ve traveled across the thirteen counties that make up Texas’ 27th Congressional District, access to affordable quality healthcare has been the concern of Texans from every walk of life in every county. Whether it’s a young person aging out of their parents healthcare plan or retirees choosing between the medicines they need and putting food on the table, Texan’s of all ages are feeling the pressure from the skyrocketing cost of healthcare. I believe in a single payer healthcare system that works for everyone, holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for the outrageous costs of prescription drugs, and reigning in copays that are making too many go without the care they desperately need. As the wealthiest nation in the world, we must take steps to ensure that affordable and quality healthcare is available to everyone, not just those who can afford it.
Access to sustainable water sources are already an issue for many parts of the state. As our population increases, we must secure additional and diverse water supply sources to meet our growing public and industrial needs.
Additionally, infrastructure development will not only meet the needs of one of the top energy exporting regions of the world, but also make our region attractive for new industry that bring with them better paying jobs. This investment in future and existing industry will ensure that the job market will grow along with our population so that every Texan will have the right to an honest living.
Furthermore, we must invest in our neighborhood schools and teachers so our students will be ready to meet the developing job market for generations to come. Without real investments to our public education system, our growing population will not be able to compete in the increasingly global market place.
I think what we're completely missing is the humanitarian crisis that has been created by executive branch policies when addressing the issues of immigration and border security. While national and homeland security are my number one concern, we must not forget that immigrants and refugees aren't just numbers, but actual people. We are a nation of immigrants and we are also a nation of laws. We must provide a path to citizenship for our DREAMers and quit using the lives of thousands of young people as a political bargaining chip. Real and workable solutions to our broken immigration system are not as far fetched as they are played out to be, but it will take bipartisan support and real conversations to continue our nation’s history of inclusion and to continue to attract the top talent and minds from across the globe.
I actually grew up being bullied - which really shaped who I am today. It thickened my skin and made me learn to stand up for myself, but it also taught me compassion for those that are less fortunate or fall outside "the norm". My experiences taught me to be an independent thinker and to learn how to tackle problems head on rather than pushing them aside.