Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

U.S. House, District 22

District 22 stretches across south-central Greater Houston, including the majority of Fort Bend County. It's long been regarded as a safe Republican seat -- previously held by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and currently held by Rep. Pete Olson. As with much of suburban Houston, however, this district has been growing more diverse. The Democratic candidate, Sri Preston Kulkarni, is appealing to the district's large Asian-American population. Houston analysts now rate this as the most competitive local race after the Culberson-Fletcher contest in District 7.

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  • Candidate picture

    Sri Preston Kulkarni
    (Dem)

  • John B. McElligot
    (L)

  • Pete Olson
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Kellen Sweny
    (I)

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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 39
Education University of Texas at Austin - Plan II Honors Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Masters in Public Policy
Campaign Phone 281-819-6784
Website https://www.kulkarniforcongress.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KulkarniforCongress/
Twitter https://twitter.com/sripkulkarni?lang=en
The greatest challenge we face is the divisive politics that are fragmenting our nation. Tensions between religious, ethnic, and political groups is higher than at any time in recent memory. That is why I came home to Texas to serve. I know firsthand that to push back the tide of fear, we must recognize the sources which are fanning the flames of resentment and defuse them, by offering a positive vision for the future that all groups can believe in. When we find common ground, and stop attacking each other, we can address the rising cost of healthcare, the problems with our education system, climate change, immigration, and criminal justice reform, all of which are needed but depend on a functioning political system.
Public schools should not have their resources diverted to fund private schools with lower standards. The Department of Education should not encourage the depletion of those resources through voucher programs. The federal government should also spur innovation, especially in use of technology and teacher training.
The rate of gun violence in America is unique to the developed world, with six times the gun homicide rate of Canada, and almost 20 times the rate of Australia. Parents and community members should not have to live in fear of repeated mass shootings at their children’s schools and public gathering places. Sensible gun safety laws and regulation of firearms, such as universal background checks, bans on assault weapons, restrictions on straw purchases, and required firearm insurance, can be implemented without infringing on the Second Amendment.
America must have a truly universal health care system, which brings down costs and ensures that no one suffers or dies simply because they cannot afford healthcare. We will advocate for a single payer system, such as Medicare for All, to achieve this goal. Universal healthcare must also include access to women’s reproductive health services, contraceptives, and vaccines for diseases such as HPV, which leads to over 40,000 cases of cervical cancer a year.
1. Improve infrastructure - We need to make sure our cities and counties are connected through safe and dependable roads, bridges, and public transit platforms.

2. Invest in jobs training and education equity - Texas' future economy will be diverse and will require that Texans are trained and well-euipped to face the challengs of the upcoming decade. Offering skills training and preparing our workforce for the changing industries will keep us at the cutting edge of progress and attracting talent.

3. Plan for disaster preparedness - No citizen should be unprepared when a natural disaster strikes. It is on all of us to make sure we have safeguards in place to protect our families at times of crisis and procedures ready to deal with changing weather and climate patterns.
We're missing the input from DREAMers in the conversation about immigration and security. Congress must pass a clean DREAM Act as soon as possible, to address the situation of millions of children who have grown up in the US without a legal status. 91% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans favor a pathway to citizenship, if certain conditions are met. Congress must also pass a comprehensive immigration reform that takes into account the practical realities of maintaining security along 2,000 mile border with Mexico, the demands of American farms and companies for migrant labor, and the need for highly skilled workers from other countries, without undercutting labor standards. Our immigration policy must provide funding for adequate border security, punishment for employers who do not adhere to US labor standards, a legal route for migrant workers to supply their labor and return across the border, and a reduction in the red tape and complications for skilled workers to come to the US.
When I was 18, my father contracted leukemia and I dropped out of college to care for him. After my mother became a widow, I split my time between helping her raise my younger siblings and finishing my studies. I understand the financial burden that health care can take on a family. I support universal health care because no family should have to go through losing a loved one while going bankrupt.
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Age 30
Education Texas Tech University, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & Spanish, 2006-2009, Magna Cum Laude in Honors Studies
Campaign Phone 281-643-7103
Website KellenForCongress.com
Facebook facebook.com/KellenForCongress
Twitter @KellenTX22
The most critical issue facing Texas-and all states-is a Balanced Budget. It is imperative to address this issue over the next 5 years rather than allow Congress to continue to ignore the problem. Our national debt and annual budget deficits are setting the country up for failure. The solution is easy to understand--increase revenue and decrease spending--but nearly impossible to navigate: politicians are unwilling to broach the conversation for fear of losing their jobs. The budget affects all aspects of governing; solutions require more than soundbites and headlines to be appropriately thoughtful. Resolving the budget will be a long process and require in depth review, many options, different perspectives, working and reworking until a comprehensive plan can be produced. I will govern with the understanding that each piece of legislation could impact the financial well-being of our nation and needs careful consideration to avoid furthering the downward spiral.
The U.S. ranks 38th in math and 24th in science, yet spends the most per student. Funding may still need to be increased but we must audit where funds are most successfully spent and add where prudent. We need to resolve disparities in funding as it is largely determined by local property taxes. Additionally, we must eliminate standardized tests in their current form, bring creativity back to classrooms, and allow teachers the freedom to address their students’ individual needs. We need to balance local leadership and nationwide goals. We must support a diversity of 2- and 4-year programs, and certificate and job training programs. Most importantly, the details of any projected policy initiative should be determined in conjunction with subject matter experts: teachers, administrators and parents who know best how to succeed. As a Congresswoman, my office will unite all levels of government and hold myself, my colleagues, and my state and local peers accountable for follow through.
Yes, America has a problem with gun violence. I am a gun owner myself and appreciate the freedom the 2nd amendment provides for all citizens. However, the multiple recent tragic events bring to light necessary reforms, supported by a wide majority of the community: universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and keeping weapons out of the hands of those with documented mental health concerns. None of these provisions impedes on my right to own a gun and are well within a reasonable interpretation and history of implementation of the 2nd amendment.
There is general recognition across the ideological spectrum that providing for healthy communities is not only financially and socially valuable, but also morally imperative. While a lasting solution has yet to be implemented, the pursuit of ensuring each citizen has access to affordable healthcare must remain a top priority. Healthcare must meet the unique needs of all people. Expecting one answer to solve all concerns is like expecting everyone to fit into the same size pants. Healthcare must address pre-existing conditions and be accessible by individuals, small business and large corporations alike. There should be a safety net to catch the least among us and it should never be a question of potentially choosing between your life and affording the care you need. There must be a balance between healthcare company profits and consumer protection from exorbitant prices. Once elected, I will unite these complex concerns to strike the right mix of options, protections and freedoms.
While an influx of residents can bring increased tax revenue, it can also burden local resources. For years, infrastructure improvements at both the federal, state and local level have been placed on the back burner, allowing our roads, bridges and water treatment systems to suffer extensive damage; this perpetual disregard for an ever growing concern must be addressed. Additionally, Texas continues to avoid addressing the over-production and consumption of groundwater reserves at unsustainable rates. The problem will only worsen without a plan for protection, proper development and sustainability. Lastly, an increased demand on the housing market will cause property taxes and housing prices to go up, potentially increasing the homeless population as residents are priced out of their neighborhoods. Consideration must be made in regards to vulnerable populations; it is more fiscally beneficial to house and help develop these groups than pay for the outcomes if they lose their homes.
The largest piece missing from the conversation on immigration and border security is addressing the laws and policies that are currently creating the mountain of impassable red tape for those who want to enter our country by following proper legal process. I do not believe in open borders but spending money on a physical wall does not seem to be the best use of resources. We have always been a country of opportunity and I am glad to legally welcome those that want the same opportunity for their families, want to work and support our country or need refuge and asylum from tyrannical or dangerous conditions. The current immigration process itself it broken, unnecessarily complicated and being used entirely contrary to the values our country was founded on. Addressing the legal concerns will help alleviate the burden at the physical borders, allowing our officers and resources to be directed appropriately.
As a high school student, each summer I volunteered for a local mission project called U.M. Army. A program of the United Methodist Church, the week long camps brought together hundreds of teenagers (and a few brave adults) to provide no-cost home repairs for elderly, disabled and financially disadvantaged homeowners. We painted, hammered, tore down and rebuilt everything from doors to floors to wheelchair ramps. The clients were always immensely grateful and generous, even with the little they may have had. While the outset of the week always looked like we’d be the ones serving the community, so often we walked away the beneficiaries, richer in spirit and passion. The experience shaped my work ethic, my gratitude for community, my commitment to serving and my faith. My campaign declared from the beginning that all contributions would be donated back to local nonprofits in the community and the experience of U.M. Army was one of the driving forces behind that decision.