In the Eleventh installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Tami Walker, candidate for the 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?
TW: Tami Walker
TL: Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?
TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?
TW: Government should serve the people. Government should work to improve the lives of its constituents and provide needed services and order. The Constitution states that the functions are to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, to insure domestic tranquility, to provide for a common defense, to promote the general welfare and to secure the blessings of liberty. Our current government seems to have lost sight of all of this and seems only motivated to serve corporate donors and special interest. I would like to give the power back to the people.
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)Affordable and accessible for all–I believe we should adopt a single payer Medicare System. If that has to be phased in, we should stabilize the ACA and then work toward a single payer system. I would support negotiated prices on imported prescription drugs to reduce costs. We should protect Medicaid programs serving vulnerable children, adults with special needs and the elderly and we should fund Planned Parenthood to make reproductive care more accessible. Mental health and addiction should be treated as any other health problem and we should fund mental health and addiction treatment facilities. I would support legislation to save rural hospitals and emergency services.
(2) Bringing power back to the people with voting rights reform and campaign finance reform–I would enact campaign finance reform to prevent corporations and special interests from buying elections and influencing the votes of lawmakers. I support federal legislation to prevent the disenfranchisement of minority voters. I support automatic voter registration when obtaining a state issued ID, adequate polling locations, expansion of early voting and the prevention of the purging of voter rolls immediately prior to elections. I support non-partisan redistricting commissions in all states and measures to prevent cyber interference in elections.
(3) Climate Change. The Clean Power Plan should be implemented. The plan is focused on reducing emissions from coal burning power plants, and increasing the use of renewable energy and conservation. We should rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. Congress should provide tax incentivizes for carbon capture, use, and storage. Infrastructure investments can reduce emissions and improve resilience to climate impacts. Congress should fund international programs to help other countries reduce carbon emissions. The U.S. should also implement a carbon fee and dividend program, with an international trade component to incentivize climate friendly consumer choices.
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.
TW: We should implement a comprehensive infrastructure plan to invest in clean energy, rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and dams, upgrade airports, build flood control and sea walls, add light rail in cities to address traffic issues, and build internet to rural areas. We should create tax incentives to encourage companies to: manufacture in America; develop products and jobs of the future through research and technology; lessen their carbon footprint; and develop and utilize more clean energy, such as wind and solar. There is currently too much emphasis on privatization, which limits projects that are not big “money makers” like rural bridges. This should be done for public safety and for job growth.
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?
TW: I would support the Save Rural Hospitals Act HR 2957, make federal grants available to rural hospitals and extend loan forgiveness programs to health care workers willing to serve for a period of time in rural hospitals.
HR 2957 increases payments to, and modifies various requirements regarding, rural health care providers under the Medicare program. Among other provisions, the bill: (1) reverses cuts to reimbursement of bad debt for critical access hospitals and rural hospitals and extends payment levels for low-volume hospitals and Medicare-dependent hospitals.
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.
TW: It was a terrible decision that will allow internet service providers to charge more for certain content or block certain content. I would absolutely support legislation to preserve net neutrality. We need a free and open internet.
TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?
TW: I have 28 years of legal experience in different industries related to energy and infrastructure, including gas transmission, telecommunications, transportation, wind farm development and engineering. I’ve worked in a lot of different regulatory frameworks with state and federal agencies. This will enable me to work across the aisle for practical solutions. I have been a working mother and understand the needs of working families. I understand the inequalities that still exist in the workplace. This district has three distinct segments (Austin, Houston and rural Texas). I grew up in another area of rural Texas; I lived in Austin for 18 years and the Houston area for 14 years. I can relate to all three populations. I am passionate about change and I’m willing to do the work implement policies that transform Texas and Congress for the better.
TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?
TW: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, entertaining in my home, and reading books. I am also very active with some political groups in the Katy area and enjoy spending time with those friends.
Thanks to Ms. Walker 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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