In the Eighth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Kevin Nelson, candidate for U.S. House, Texas’ 10th Congressional District.
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?
KN: Kevin Nelson
TL: Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?
KN: No, this is my first run for office.
TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?
KN: I believe the government must protect everyone’s rights, must serve as a counterbalance to powerful private interests, and must give a helping hand to those who need it. Unfortunately, it has recently been doing a poor job with all of those tasks. I would like to do what I can to help turn things around.
TL: If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.
KN: My top priorities are affordable healthcare; tax fairness; and addressing general political dysfunction. With regard to healthcare, my top priority would be to improve and extend the Affordable Care Act. In particular, I would like to see the original ACA public option put into law. With regard to taxes, I would like to make the overall tax system more progressive. The top two or three percent can afford to shoulder more of the burden, and working people deserve a break. Ideally, I would like to add a progressive component to the payroll tax. With regard to political dysfunction, there are many steps we could take such as better regulation of so-called SuperPACs. I also support abolition of the Electoral College.
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.
KN: Improving infrastructure is something both parties should be able to agree on. We need more funding for upkeep of existing roads, bridges, and many other items. One of my own priorities would be more support for public transportation, which would help us develop our cities in a more sustainable and livable fashion.
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?
KN: One immediate step we can take is to expand Medicaid, which will help patients both directly and indirectly, by providing more revenue to hospitals. Though the decision on Medicaid expansion is currently left up to individual states, the federal government should use its leverage to encourage Texas and other states to go forward with it. I would also support the proposed Save Rural Hospitals Act, which would make more Medicare funding available and help hospitals to keep providing vital services. In the longer term, I would like to expand and extend the Affordable Care Act, most importantly by returning to the public option that was part of the original proposal for the Act.
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.
KN: I support writing net neutrality into law. Internet service providers often enjoy near-monopoly status, and they should not be able to take advantage of that status by giving special treatment to whatever online content they favor. In the long run, I believe we should work towards an internet environment with more choice and competition, which would benefit ordinary consumers in many different ways. One idea I like that would help us move towards that goal is something called “local loop unbundling.” It is possible that we might eventually create enough competition to make net neutrality unnecessary, but we are still a long way from that day.
TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?
KN: We have a great field of Democratic candidates this year, and I will be happy to support whoever the eventual nominee is. That being said, I believe there are two things that make me stand out. First of all, I place a high priority on procedural reforms. We can’t just look at what decisions need to be made–we need to look at how the decisions are made. And there’s a lot of work to be done there. For example, the congressional leadership should have less power to block bills that are favored by a majority of the members. Second, if nominated I will be able to concentrate one hundred percent on my general-election campaign. The tenth is an uphill district for any Democrat, but I believe it is winnable.
TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?
KN: I enjoy reading, movies, and getting out and walking on hiking trails or just around the city.
Thanks to Mr. Nelson 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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