Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

State Senator, District 9

The Texas Senate is the upper house of the Texas Legislature and is comprised of Senators elected from 31 single-member districts. Senators must participate in committees that conduct research on a variety of issues: administration, agricultural and rural affairs, business and commerce, criminal justice, economic development, education, health, international relations and trade. Texas Senators also draft, debate and vote on legislation. State Senators are elected to four-year terms.

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    Gwenn Burud

  • Kelly Hancock

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Biographical Information

EDUCATION: What changes, if any, should be made to public education and its funding in Texas? What is your rationale for the change(s)?

ECONOMY: What state policies/legislation would you support to help Texas residents improve their economic positions? Why?

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT: How would you balance the development of energy sources with environmental concerns?

HEALTH CARE: What changes in state policy/legislation, if any, are needed to increase availability of affordable health care for Texas residents? If none, please explain.

OTHER ISSUES: What other issues do you believe will be most pressing in the next session of the Texas Legislature, and what is your position on these issues?

Phone (817) 607-3965
Website http://burudfortexas.com/
Occupation Deaf Education Teacher, Fort Worth ISD
Education Master of Science, Deaf Education; Bachelor of Science, Communication Sciences and Disorders; Associate of Applied Science, Sign Language Interpreting
Experience Politically active since 2007 and have volunteered with several campaigns in the past. Additionally, I have served as the Secretary and Vice President of the Northeast Tarrant Democrats
We need to restore the state funding ratios that were present prior to the 2011 cuts – where the State funded over 50% of the cost of educating our students. The current projections of the State to only fund 37% of our education costs is a reflection of the Republican legislature’s plans to borrow from our future to fund their current initiatives to keep their supporters happy. State funds should not be used to fund charter and/or private schools if it means those funds are diverted from public education. To cut funds to a school that needs improvement is giving up on public education – the teachers are committed, the principals are committed, the children are committed. The ones with the least at stake, the lawmakers, are the ones willing to sacrifice the school for a political win.
Texas has a wonderful opportunity to educate its workforce through training programs and investing in the community college system. Texas already has many attractive traits including low corporate taxes, but a trained workforce will be a differentiator in future businesses becoming attracted to Texas. An adjustment to the minimum wage in Texas to reflect the rate of inflation would help alleviate the burden of the working class. We also need to examine large employers who rely on state benefits so that they are not forced to pay for their labor force – they should be forced to pay their fair share rather than relying on taxpayers to underwrite their businesses.
Texas is in a unique position to be at the forefront of renewable energy creation. We have the ability to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through solar and wind energy capture, but the current tax incentives to the oil and gas industry make it uneconomic. Although Texas has seen economic benefit from the oil and gas industry, we need to be sure that we are considering our long-term future as well as our short term profit. Clean energy jobs are less dangerous than oil work; clean energy jobs do not create the pollution and waste we see in oil and gas operations; and clean energy provides a safer future for our children.
Texas has a responsibility to accept the Medicaid expansion. There is an ever growing group of Texans who do not have health insurance – they forego preventive care and end up needing more severe medical interventions. The reduction in local clinics due to lower Medicaid reimbursements is putting more pressure on emergency rooms to provide routine medical care instead of emergency services. Texas has a growing population, and we need the federal dollars to be sure that all Texans are cared for.
It seems that the time for marijuana legalization has come to Texas. The medical benefits are still being researched, but there are many who have received relief from chemotherapy, epilepsy, and other conditions from approved medical sources. Recreational marijuana creates an economic opportunity for our state – we could be bringing in around half a billion dollars each year to help fix our budget shortfalls on infrastructure and education. Texas should be leading the way on marijuana legalization instead of clinging to its racist underpinnings as a justification for the continued incarceration of people of color.
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