In the Tenth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Brian Cronin, candidate for the Texas State Senate, District 5.
Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.
TL: What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?
BC: Brian E. Cronin
TL: Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?
BC: Williamson Country Democratic Precinct Chair
TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?
BC: Many Americans do not participate in the political process because they feel that their participation will not make a difference in an election, or they feel that the government is corrupted beyond help. I can understand their frustration. There is much to do to bring back the integrity of these offices, particularly in Texas. However, it is important to remember that the government has an influence on nearly every facet of American life, including roads and utilities, education, healthcare and family planning. I believe we need representatives that will fairly represent all people in Texas and make decisions that benefit the greater good. It is too important to not invest time and energy into who is making the decisions that affects so much of our lives.
TL: If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.
(1) Invest in public education. I understand that funding public education is the right thing to do. Public education helps provide life-long opportunities, financial freedoms, and equal footing to all families. Public education also creates stronger communities as our children become adults investing back in their local economy.
Currently, Texas ranks 43rd in school quality and 49th in high school diploma rates, all the while per-student education spending by the Texas Legislature is declining. I believe we must leverage Texas’ vast resources to invest in our kids and the future of the people our District.
A strong education system will build a 21st century, skilled workforce to drive the future economy in Texas and attract businesses as they see our community provides the right skills locally to succeed.
(2) Ensure quality healthcare. Access to quality health care is the cornerstone of healthy and thriving communities. We must take care of Texans, including our seniors who can no longer work, our lower income kids and families struggling to make ends meet, disabled persons and those with chronic or terminal medical conditions, and all women seeking healthcare.
Currently, Texas has more uninsured residents—over 4.5 million—than any other state, and the highest percentage of uninsured citizens in the country. We also have the highest rate of Maternal Mortality in the developed world. Yet the Texas Legislature declines over $8 Billion dollars per year in Federal Health Care support, which means this money is diverted to other states for their health services.
I believe we need to change this and bring that money here to care for Texans. We also need to look closely at the health care needs of our District and push for that funding to be allocated in ways that keep our community healthy and safe.
(3) Create opportunities. I believe Texas can build the strongest, most innovative, and capable workforce on the planet. We have diverse, hard-working people in every corner of our District.
To do this, we need to work with K-12 schools, community colleges, and higher education universities along with small and big businesses to build a pipeline of training and education programs that will help our youth today become the high-performers of tomorrow.
At the same time, I believe we need to create job systems to retrain people leaving industries and careers affected by automation and offshoring and prepare those individuals to quickly take on new careers. For example, we need a system that helps single parents in our District obtain the professional development they need and that supports retirees who want to pursue a second career.
TL: In the coming years, the state of Texas is on course to have an unprecedented boom in the state’s population. But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure. Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state.
BC: Reducing traffic and increasing mobility is a critical issue facing our area. As your representative, I will be focused on building better roads and modernizing Public Transportation with increased clean-fuel buses; additional commuter train lines, and investments in high speed Rail. This will take cars off the road and help bring all people in our community to opportunity: schools, jobs and local businesses — including restaurants and entertainment. Great transportation is not only a priority for residents but mobility from airports to venues and urban areas is the cornerstone of tourism and a better economy. Linking Texas’ cities and towns will also help to improve the standard of living and create new jobs.
TL: Even as impressive growth continues in around the state’s urban centers, rural Texans are faced with a healthcare crisis. According to Laura Garcia of the Victoria Advocate, rural communities across the state have lost 18 hospitals in less than five years, and this was before any additional challenges worsened by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey. Without hospital services in or near their local communities, the medical and emergency care is at an increasing risk our citizens. As a legislator, how would you plan to address this issue and help Texas’ vital rural healthcare facilities stay open?
BC: The Texas legislature has been declining a sorely-needed $8 billion in Federal health care aid. It is a moral failure on their part to play with Texans’ lives for politics’ sake. We need to take care of our most vulnerable citizens by increasing Texas’ investment in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as using the money that is available to us to support rural hospitals and clinics.
The legislature has also inserted itself into women’s healthcare and found a way to close half of the clinics that provided breast cancer screenings, gynecological examinations, and access to birth control and health services. This affected rural towns the most, leaving many low-income women without local clinics for vital care. I would oppose legislation that punishes women for political purposes.
TL: In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn an Obama-era rule which classifies internet service providers as public utilities, and thereby governed under the 1934 Communications Act. This decision essentially erases the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all online content equally without giving preference to particular sources, otherwise known as Net Neutrality. Please describe your views on this decision, and whether or not you would support legislation at the State or Federal level to uphold the principle of Net Neutrality.
BC: The decision to eliminate net neutrality protections was a travesty for a free and open internet for all. All Americans should have equal access to what the internet has to offer, without discrimination. I support net neutrality protections on all levels.
TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?
BC: My combination of personal, education, and professional experiences have given me a true passion for serving as a Texas State Senator. I understand that people and communities thrive when our government is unified and operates effective education, health, infrastructure, workforce, justice, and revenue systems. On a personal note, when I was in elementary school, my mom and dad owned a small family restaurant, which suddenly had to close its doors creating a difficult financial situation for them. My parents, who were hard working and loving, began to realize that putting food on the table and keeping their home was becoming increasingly difficult without an income. During this period, my parents had to turn to government aid for a short time. Through this support and through my parents hard work, my family got back on its feet and recovered the business. But I still remember the reassurance this most basic level of assistance brought to me during that tough time. I want to make sure people across Texas have this same support if ever in a time of need.
After childhood, I earned two advanced degrees, including a doctorate, focusing on Industrial and Organizational Research. For the nearly 20 years since, I have worked to make government agencies more effective as a national expert in workforce and organization development. Through my professional work, I have learned the importance of making sound decisions to improve public initiatives while maintaining efficient use of government resources. Over my career, I have led more than 50 government projects with organizations such as the Texas Governor’s office, the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Department of Family Services, Department of Correction, Departments of Transportation, the US Department of Labor, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of Agriculture, and scores of other state and federal agencies. In short, I understand how to work with government leaders, congressional committees, and stakeholders to get results.
I look forward to serving the people of this great community and the State of Texas.
TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?
BC: I have a strong and beautiful wife of 14 years, Candace, and four sweet children. I have also enjoyed serving as a foster parent and feel blessed to be an adoptive parent, coach for my kids in YMCA sports, and resident of District 5 in the great state of Texas.
Thanks to Mr. Cronin for the responses.
Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th. For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration). Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris County, Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Montgomery County, and Galveston County.
For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.
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