University of Texas at Arlington - BBA Real Estate
Texas is attracting almost 1000 people per day. They are moving here because of the incredible job environment, low taxes, home affordability, and reasonable regulatory environment. In order to keep people coming to Texas, we must keep a stable regulatory environment the fosters growth in the private sector, and we must continue to invest in infrastructure for the state such as transportation, water, and public education. I have an easily verifiable history of supporting these types of issues in the legislature and will continue to do so. That is one reason I am endorsed again by the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board who in their endorsement said, "Texas needs this kind of creative thinking."
First and foremost the state must stop making unfunded mandates on our education system. I have been a strong advocate for eliminating the STAAR test and allow local districts to use one of the many national tests used throughout the country such as the IMAP, IATBS, ASVAB, SAT, or ACT as part of the measure of student achievement. I also believe our students and families are best served when their school districts are ensuring the dollars they receive are reaching the classrooms and our teachers rather than being spent on Administration and overhead. In 2015, I supported a budget that increased education spending by $1.3B over and above the increased funding allocation for student enrollment growth along with supporting Governor Abbott’s “high-quality” Pre-K initiative. In 2017 I was a co-author of HB21 that would have added an additional $1.8BB funding to public schools. I have always been, and always will be, a strong advocate for our public school systems.
Each year roughly 125,000 people are injured by some form of gun violence or accident according to the Brady Institute. By comparison there are roughly 292,000 people who are injured every year due to drunk or impaired driving according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. I show that comparison to demonstrate that while gun violence certainly grabs headlines, the tragedy is that we as society are not addressing the root causes where instruments of any kind are used in violent acts. Domestic violence, bullying, and feelings of isolation and depression are all related mental health issues that we need to address so that we reduce the instances of not only gun violence but any violence against persons. For that reason, I am in favor of additional mental health funding in schools and our Department of Health and Human Services.
The government should not be in the healthcare business. There should be a true safety-net program for those who cannot care for themselves and stop-gap coverage for those who are transitioning into new healthcare plans (i.e. COBRA). The government should simply keep a stable regulatory environment so that employer and private plans can stabilize their costs. That said, the government should encourage/create transparency in pricing of any government subsidized healthcare costs. For example, drug costs should be made public for any Medicare/Medicaid plan and companies should compete in a transparent process to drive down costs for pharmaceuticals that comprise roughly 50% of the costs of healthcare in the US. Further, gag orders on pharmacists in their contracts should be removed so that a pharmacist can notify a patient if there is a less expensive alternative without fear of being removed as a provider for simply reducing a patients costs.
Infrastructure, keeping a strong economy, and keeping a well educated work force are the top three issues. If we cannot move people and provide necessary infrastructure to accommodate growth then the economy will grind to a halt. Further, keeping a stable, low tax, low regulation regulatory environment is critical to keeping the Texas economy booming. Companies and people relocate here because of the business friendly environment and the centralized location for distribution. To that end, it is also critical that the port infrastructure in Houston, Brownsville, and Port Arthur remain protected as much as possible from natural disaster to keeps goods flowing throughout the country (both imports and exports).
I believe one thing missing is that everyone tends to focus on the supply side of the problem when looking at illegal immigration and virtually ignores the demand side of the equation. Many immigrants ( both legal and illegal) come here to work, and there are companies that exploit the labor of illegal immigrants pushing legal/authorized working immigrants aside for the cheaper labor of those in the country illegally. Unless and until companies are pursued for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants there will continue to be a illegal immigrants who will risk deportation to come to the U.S. to work.
I was probably 8 or 9 years old and walked home from school. Each day we would stop at a local convenience store called Eddlemon's. Mr. Eddlemon always taught the neighborhood kids about "stuff" and one day I was short on money to buy a two cent piece of gum. So Mr. Eddlemon taught me about credit that day. He told me I could have the gum today, but tomorrow I would have to pay him three cents. The next day I had a nickle and I was going to get two pieces of gum...Mr. Eddlemon kindly reminded me of the credit purchase the day before. I left that day with one piece of gum and no change. That life lesson stays with me today. To paraphrase Shakespeare in Hamlet, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be, do not forget, stay out of debt. Think twice, and take this good advice from me, guard thine own solvency."
Irving High School - Diploma - 1966
UT Arlington - Bachelor's Degree - 1972
University of Dallas - Graduate Studies in Bilingual/Bicultural Studies
Texas Christian University - License in Real Estate
UT Arlington - Graduate Studies in Institute of Urban Studies
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law - JD - 1999
What a credit to this district that students are able to obtain the highest levels of education without ever having to leave home!
In 2020, it will be time for the new census. If the question of citizenship will be included, it will have a negative impact on Texas. The resulting undercount will lead to insufficient federal funds to our state. The census will also require redistricting, when we will need to decide if we want Fair Maps drawn by a non-partisan redistricting commission.
Our population increase requires an increase in funding for public education by the state government. Instead it has been pushed to local government to call for a tax increase to fund schools adequately, meaning an increase in local property taxes which is an additional burden to taxpayers. I thought that the budget last legislative session might actually have been a good time to restore funding to education. Even though there was an increase in education funding, it was not enough to make the court case go away. Without a court ruling that the system is unconstitutional, it is unlikely that the current group of legislators will be motivated to act. I pledged my support for increased funding for public education to thousands of voters on their front pitches and in their living rooms. I explained that I have been a teacher for over 40 years, teaching every level from kindergarten to sophomore level college. As a former teacher, I am committed to this promise, and I will keep my promise.
Yes, it is a problem. Possible solutions include universal background checks, ban on assault rifles, repealing open carry and campus carry, closing the loophole on gun shows, red flag laws, and improved mental health services.
Texas has the largest number of people who are uninsured. I support expanding access to healthcare and the extension of Medicaid funding in Texas, as it would help close the coverage gap while decreasing our property tax burden. My opponent’s irresponsible record of rejecting funding results in an increase in property taxes while raising health care costs on local businesses. That’s not helping Texas succeed.
The top three issues that the government should address, not in any particular order of importance, are: 1. Increased funding for our public schools to account for increased student population; 2. Improved public/mass transportation; and 3. Access to affordable housing.
Missing from the conversation is the understanding that Mexico is a friendly neighbor and that immigration as an issue should be dealt with compassion and common sense rather than using it as a fear tactic or wedge issue. Border security can be achieved more effectively and less costly through technology instead of walls and militarization.
I don’t know that there’s anything I can say about my childhood that would be particularly unique, but the shared national experiences of the Kennedy/Johnson Administrations, the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement shaped who I am and how I approach policies today.