Tag Archives: Texas 2018 Elections

After Perplexing Attack On Sarah Davis, Have Texas Women Had It With Greg Abbott?

There was a time when some Texans had high hopes for Greg Abbott’s tenure as Governor. (emphasis on the term “some”). The mostly jovial and mild-mannered former Attorney General gave the impression that, perhaps, his administration would bring forth an elevated political discourse which puts the needs of real Texans before inter-partisan bickering and personal vendettas.

Of course… we know how that turned out. Behind the friendly smile lies a politician that really takes that “bully” part of the bully pulpit to heart.

For evidence of this, we need look no further than last year, which found the Governor telling lawmakers that he was “keeping a list” of anyone who opposed his initiatives during the Special Session.

But while Abbott has indeed taken several retaliation measures, one particular lawmaker has received an unprecedented wave of attacks. Here’s more on that from Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle

[Sarah] Davis, a West University Place state representative, lawyer and breast cancer survivor elected in 2010, represents House District 134. She sits on the powerful appropriations committee and chairs the committee on general investigating and ethics. Her power and influence only go so far.

But she’s one of the few moderates who hasn’t given up on Texas politics, who is willing to fight the often-futile battle against motivated, moneyed ideologues who have hijacked the Republican Party.

And for that she has drawn the ire of one of the most powerful, moneyed ideologues of them all: Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor, in a rare move, has come after several moderate Republicans who aren’t inclined to carry his water, but he seems to have reserved a special vintage of vengeance for Davis.

He has not only endorsed Davis’ opponent, Susanna Dokupil, whose chief qualification seems to be that she once worked for Abbott at the attorney general’s office. He has hit the campaign trail for the elusive Dokupil,

‪Not only is HD 134 known as a notorious swing district, but it also has some other unique attributes, like being the home of the world-reknowned  Texas Medical Center, Rice University and some of the most prominent biomedical research centers in the United States. For Governor Abbott to prop up an anti-vaxxer candidate in one of the most Doctor and Medical Professional-heavy electoral districts in the country?? Well…it smacks of either total ignorance or a simple lack of concern for the real issues of Texans in this district. Your guess is as good as mine.

Or perhaps, this fight serves as a proxy for Abbott’s fight against Texas Women. Most will recall that Davis’ record on women’s issues is starkly different than her Republican colleagues. Abbott, on the other hand, has distinguished himself as an ‘anti-woman Governor’ with all deliberate speed. Why else would he veto bi-partisan legislation designed to focus on Women’s Health issues?

Here’s more on that from Sophie Novack of the Texas Observer

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy in the United States, the highest uninsured rate in the country and an ongoing Zika outbreak that threatens pregnant women. Yet Governor Greg Abbott unilaterally ended a committee that advises the state on women’s health programs.

Abbott on Thursday vetoed a bill with bipartisan support by Senator Borris Miles, D-Houston, that would continue the Women’s Health Advisory Committee past September.

“I am shocked and frustrated by the governor’s veto,” said Representative Donna Howard, D-Austin, who wrote the House companion to Miles’ bill. “At no point during the past six months had the governor’s office expressed any concerns to me over the legislation. This absentee style is disgraceful, and it is now jeopardizing the health and safety of women across the state.”

A very confusing decision, especially after the Governor himself highlighted maternal mortality as a focus of the Special Session. If he cared that much about the issue, what sense does it make to scuttle a panel devoted to research and recommendation?

And in case you’re wondering… a co-sponsor of this bill in the Texas House?  Rep. Sarah Davis.

Whatever the Governor’s motivations, one thing has become clear… Texas women are watching.  Abbott’s curious attempts to oust Davis have drawn major headlines across the state and all over the country.  But while he may believe that his efforts will draw far-right Primary voters to support Dokupil, most that actually live in the district are wondering if the attacks will ultimately serve to actually help Davis.  Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest strong turnout for Davis, including some Democrats that voted in the Republican Primary just to support her.  We’ll find out the final outcome with tonight’s Election results.

But one thing is for sure… this race has exposed a palpable weakness for Governor Abbott.  The misguided decision to meddle in this race could ultimately prove more detrimental to his agenda, and his political future than anyone else.

So back to the opening question… Have Texas Women HAD IT with Greg Abbott??  We’ll find out some opening thoughts on that tonight, with more to come in November.

TLCQ 2018: James Horwitz

In the Fifteenth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from James Horwitz, candidate for Harris County Probate Court- Number 4.

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?

JH: James Horwitz

TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

JH:  No. I was the Democratic nominee for this Bench in 2014, and ran for the Houston City Council in 2013.

TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

 JH:  Beneath the rotunda of City Hall is a seal. Its caption reads “Government Protects the People.” The adage is twice as true for the judiciary. The probate courts, the judgeship for which I am a candidate, doubles as both a court of law and a court of equity. What this means is that adjudication of the black-letter law is only one component of the job. Doing what is right is another.

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming judicial term. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

JH:  (1) The most important priority for my Court would be to expand community outreach. It is time for the people to say enough, and demand that the judiciary that works for them actually do so. I would want my Court to be an active member of the community in educating and informing the public about wills, estates, trusts and guardianships, among other functions of the probate courts.

For example, you can handwrite your own will, and in doing so skip most all of the formalities that often cause typewritten wills to be voided in court. Another example is that, if you don’t write a will, the state legislature essentially writes one for you through a process called “intestacy.” The general public basically knows the rudiments of criminal or family law, but often does not for probate law. I want that to end, with my Court being on the vanguard of the change.

(2) I will insist upon more mediations to occur in my Court before trial.

Probate court is often the setting of visceral family disputes, where longstanding feuds rearise. Litigants sometimes lose track of their best interests, and disputes over even modest estates can be tied up for years in court, with the attorneys often taking a sizable chunk of everyone’s inheritances. I want to insist upon more mediations, the way the family courts have operated for years, before trials, so more cases can have happier endings.

(3) I will interpret the law.

This is a phrase that may sound a little trite, and it’s because it is a favorite of Republican judges. I recall being interviewed by the Houston Chronicle editorial board in 2014, and discussing how the law always changes, and a good judge needs the alacrity to respond to changes or developments in the law. In 2014, I discussed how a federal court may one day soon legalize same-sex marriage in Texas. (In fact, the Supreme Court did just that less than a year later.) I discussed the need to react to updates in the law by openly and fairly interpreting it.

I suggested that a good judge would examine the prospect, then, of common-law marriages being found for same-sex couples. Whether the decedent in probate court left a surviving spouse is often a major question. Many Republican judges, the ones who talk about interpreting the law, now make political statements by ending their longstanding occupational commitment to officiating marriages. I don’t see that as following the law. I see my suggestion, reacting to the developments and updates that may arise, as following the law more faithfully.

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

JH:  I have practiced law for more than 40 years. I have also practiced any and every different type of law under the sun, with the regrettable exception of arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

I have practiced law longer than my primary opponent has been alive. He solely does probate law, and claims that he has more active cases currently before the probate court.

But as I explained, much of the probate courts is administrative. Probating most wills is very straightforward. I have no doubt that both my opponent and I would be able to capably do such tasks. The probate courts, though, are also courts of equity, or doing the right thing. And in such cases, there simply is no substitute for the experience, wisdom and compassion that accompanies practicing the law for more than 40 years.

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

JH:  I am very lucky to have a remarkable family with whom I can spend as much time as I can. My wife Deborah, sons Geoffrey and Noah, daughter-in-law Adele, nephews Jamie and Daniel, and standard poodles Tilly and Sadie brighten my days.

Thanks to Mr. Horwitz 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 CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

 

TLCQ 2018: Ivan Sanchez

In the Fourteenth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Ivan Sanchez,  candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Texas’ 7th 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?

IS:  Ivan Sanchez

TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

IS:  No.  I have never held public 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?

IS:  The purpose of government is to provide, as best as possible, a system guided by what is in the best interest of the common good.  It must protect and defend the principles of our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence; wherein, “all men are created equal”, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, “that among these are life, liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

IS:  As a freshman congressman, I realize I will have limited opportunity to directly introduce legislation; however, I will passionately support and advocate for legislation that: (1) acknowledges climate change and the need to control abuse of our ecosystem, including development of renewable energy; (2) is designed to implement a path to citizenship for DREAMers and other (non felony) immigrants; and (3) will provide single payer healthcare.

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.

IS:  Improving Texas’ infrastructure must be addressed as a two-fold issue—addressing current infrastructure and developing sustainable long-term solutions.  Currently, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute is involved in “developing solutions to the problems and challenges facing all modes of transportation.”  This research, along with the work being conducted by the Houston-Galveston Area Council and NASA must be collaborated to maintain an effective and efficient infrastructure as we know it today.  At the same time, these same types of agencies and enterprises must collaborate to create visionary modalities of transportation and infrastructure.  The recent news items regarding the Dallas-Houston bullet train are indication that we are headed in the right direction, but the bullet train must not be the only solution.  Government must step up to partner with industry to develop urban area transportation infrastructure that does not only increase current highway capacity (adding more lanes to a highway is not a sustainable solution), but considers automation and other technologically informed solutions.  There must be paradigm shift from single-vehicle transportation as the mode to mass-transit as the mode.

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?  

IS:  The rural healthcare issues and concerns are symptomatic of a national healthcare crisis.  Providing affordable healthcare is the goal, which is to-date being compromised by the greed of huge pharmaceutical companies and the skyrocketing cost of providing healthcare.  Shifting the conversation of healthcare as a right, not a privilege implies government intervention in regulating the industry to limit excessive costs of R&D and profit-margins passed along to the consumer (patient).  Addressing the healthcare crisis will inherently benefit the rural healthcare enterprise.

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.

IS:  What the light bulb was to the 19th century, the internet is to the 21st century.  It is an everyday convenience that touches every aspect of our lives.  We are in an informational era, and the opportunity to utilize all that the internet has to offer must not be limited by corporate giants who seek to profit based on the speed of a person’s connection, or which web pages and services someone wants to access.  I am a strong proponent of net neutrality, who believes the government must ensure the Internet continues to be treated as a utility, and internet providers cannot charge different rates, or favor certain websites over others.

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

IS:  I know the struggle.  I came to the U.S. as a child when my mother, seeking asylum from the violence that prevailed in Colombia, wanted to raise her children in a safe environment that would provide opportunity for her and her family.  It took me seven years, since I had to work multiple jobs, to complete a four-year program and earn my bachelor’s degree.  This great land has provided many opportunities and given me much.  I say I am DREAMer with papers, yet because of our democracy I am a candidate for the U.S. Congress.  I am passionate about being part of the solution to bring change to a compromised system, to ensure that our country maintains its edge as the greatest country on earth and continues to be the land of opportunity for all.  My passion is supported by my youth, providing an unparalleled level of energy and fresh perspective, and a contemporary of the next great generation.  And, despite my youth, I have had the great fortune to work as a senior liaison in a congressperson’s office.  I have developed a network of federal agency leaders, working to solve issues related to such areas as Social Security, immigration, and homeland security.  I am familiar with and comfortable to move throughout the bureaucracy, and challenge the status quo as needed.

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

IS:  I am committed to my family, most especially any opportunity to visit with my toddler niece.  My girlfriend and I enjoy evenings alone or among friends, enjoying fellowship.  I am energized being around people, and any chance I have to celebrate life is my greatest joy.

 

Thanks to Mr. Sanchez 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 CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

TLCQ 2018: Vanessa Edwards Foster

In the Thirteenth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Vanessa Edwards Foster,  candidate for U.S. House, Texas’ 27th 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?

VF:  Vanessa Edwards Foster

TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

VF:  Unless you count being elected as a precinct chair, NO.  I’ve never been employed in the public sector.

TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

VF:  Government is, essentially, the public trust.  Its goal is to provide for the common good by creating, in deliberative fashion, rules and structure that will successfully maintain the security, the commerce and the well-being for every one of its citizens.  It should also be vigilant to ensure that these rules are neither exploited by those in elected office acting as agents for outside interests for profit, power or both, nor that these rules are bent or changed to punitively impact one segment of society at the behest of another in order to uphold the well-being of society overall.  We must also be vigilant to the potential of forces abroad attempting to externally manipulate and undermine our system of government and act to cease those efforts any time we discover them.  Government was created, and should remain, by and for all citizens of this nation.

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

VF:  Funding and pushing for groundbreaking on infrastructure needs throughout this nation — we’re desperately too far behind on this issue.  Ensuring protection of social security, Medicare, Medicaid and moving to seek Medicare for all in order to stop the healthcare calamity which is nearly bankrupting us.  Finding a solution to address the wage gap and the wealth gap in America.

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.

VF:  Obviously funding.  Beyond that, we need a transportation department with vision to set aside current open space via planned future eminent domain and begin negotiating with landowners way before the project in those areas to find an equitable agreement to have said tracts set aside with that future growth in mind.  Additionally, smart-growth options such as rail or subway options and right-of-way development for bicycle trails is strongly needed.  Preparing for the eventuality of autonomous (or self-driving) vehicles as well as vastly increasing development of charging stations (and the necessary electrical grid to power those) for hybrid vehicles is also a necessary goal to keep pace with the advancing technologies.

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?  

VF:  This is a difficult problem to tackle.  There’s a number of factors at play here: population decrease in small-town America, funding to keep these hospitals in business and enticements to reopen or entice new ownership to move in and continue the facility.  While it’s crucial to have healthcare facilities within a reasonable drive of county residents, the small populations in sparse areas, coupled with population decline in many of these communities makes it unlikely that some of these closures can be reversed or prevented.  The benchmark for hospital feasibility is that the region have a population of around 40,000.  Another factor that contributes to this is Obamacare — in particular the states that refused to expand Medicaid to cover for it (Texas being one), leaving many residents still uninsured.  As such, hospitals in those non-expanded states bled red ink until they could no longer keep their doors open.  Enticing new hospital owners to come in and fill that gap will be key, but won’t be an easy fix as Trump’s Tax Cut just sliced over $1 trillion in Medicaid from the budgets over the next decade.  This might be solved by expanding Medicare to cover all citizens, but that will take time.  My suggestion would perhaps involve an incentive for non-profit university hospital systems (e.g. UTMB, Baylor College of Medicine, etc.) to move in and take over as satellite teaching facilities for their student and interns.  Beyond that, I honestly don’t have a solid answer to this problem.

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.

VF:  Net neutrality should NOT be overturned.  The internet was originally created by the government and funded by taxpayers, and has since remained part of the public domain.  Giving away the internet to profiteering corporations is absolutely wrong.  It’s especially alarming that this will essentially kill internet for many in isolated rural areas of the country where only small, local providers prevail — small providers who will easily be locked out of the market by the huge corporations.

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

VF:  My campaign is quite similar to Bernie Sanders in that I do everything with people power and will only accept campaign contributions from individuals, and I’ve been told I may need to reconsider at least one PAC (Act Blue Veterans).  However, I will not accept contributions from corporations, from special interests or from most all PAC’s.  Represent the people — not special interests.

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

VF:  Listening to my albums (I have an extensive collection of LP’s), or occasionally noodling around on my guitar.

 

Thanks to Ms. Foster 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 CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

 

TLCQ 2018: Levy Q. Barnes Jr.

In the Twelfth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Levy Q. Barnes Jr.,  candidate for the U.S. House, Texas’ 14th 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?

LB:  Dr. Levy Q. Barnes, Jr.

TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

LB:  no

TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

LB:  Philosophers like Aristotle and Confucius thought of Politics as a means to keep people protected and that they can have a happier lives. I agree with that form of thinking. Government is important so that citizens have equal opportunities to succeed. Government is also important because it unites people of common interests and goals. Through it we are able to protect our country through military efforts, provide assistance for disadvantaged citizens, beautify our nation, and continually have citizens advance. Through our government we can ensure that equality is properly dispersed so that our citizens can have the pursuit of happiness.

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

LB:

As the next US Representative of my district, I plan on accomplishing several things which are my top priorities. I plan on creating an incentive plan for educators who go to Title 1 schools and other schools in economically challenged areas. The educators are the key to improving our educational system. Securing proper funding to compensate qualified Educators is important to make sure we don’t have Educators fleeing that Industry.

The second thing I plan on accomplishing is creating a tax plan for businesses to move to or be started in economically challenged cities so that we can assist the distribution of wealth across our nation. A lot of these economically challenged cities do not have job opportunities for their citizens. There are other cities that do have job opportunities but they are mostly minimum wage job opportunities. I want to see the minimum wage increase, but in the event that we are unable to accomplish this I would like to have a reward system in place for businesses that pay their base employees above minimum wage.

The third thing I wish to accomplish in office is putting legislation in place to protect more minorities. There is still a large amount of Injustice in our country and it is based around our Criminal Justice System, employment, and treatment of our local citizens. I do not plan on excluding this just to minorities but also people of different economical social classes, ages, and genders. Protecting those who cannot protect themselves is important and it is the reason why we are the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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.

LB:  As a Texas resident it is burdensome to have dilapidated roads and narrow freeways in highly populated areas. This slows the level of production. In other populated areas in Texas there are no sidewalks. This is dangerous for our children. A lot of these issues are handled on a city and state level but I feel that it is necessary for certain cities with a certain population to have sidewalks for children. It is also important that as cities plan to grow they also plan to expand their highways and Roads. Transportation is also very important. In areas that are immensely populated having a more advanced transportation system is necessary to see the continued flow of the city. An example of this is Houston Texas. With the population that is there, having an expanded public transit system is important. So there is a lot of work that needs to be done regarding our infrastructure and Roads.

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?  

LB:  Having an efficient amount of hospitals is very important to rural. Not having enough poses a threat to the lives of citizens who can’t reach a medical facility in time. Having incentives for medical providers to move their practices to rule communities and ensuring that the citizens in these areas have health coverage will help prevent the closure of more hospitals. In most cases, when a hospital closes? they are looking at either the lack of tenants to rent spaces or a quota of patients coming to the hospital. If there are no doctors coming to that area opening practices, then the hospital will not be able to provide spaces to them. Also if people in that area do not have health coverage they would shy away from going to Medical providers, thus increasing the amounts of death due to health issues. There are several incentive programs out there for Physicians to go to rural areas like the one that pays off student loans for medical providers going to rural cities. Having incentives in place like this for medical providers to go to these rural communities can ensure that the citizens have quality healthcare providers and promotes the growth  of hospitals. Also having adequate healthcare for Citizens will ensure that hospitals in these areas can keep their quotas up.

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.

LB:  I plan on upholding Net neutrality. Coming from my perspective as an internet user and others that I interact with, it is a public service utility. It is important for people to have equal access to this.

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

LB:  I am the candidate who has experience with a diversity of fields and people. As a business owner I have worked with hundreds of businesses and I understand important needs for businesses to thrive and employees to be properly compensated. I have also worked as an educator in Title 1 schools and I know the needs that our students have in failing schools to guarantee them an equal opportunity for top-notch education.

I am a candidate for the people. As a humanitarian, civil rights and peace activist, and preacher my interest have been for the greater good of people. I’ve spent countless hours in community service for seniors and lower income families. I have experience with the mentally ill and have gone to volunteer in prisons. I am the candidate that will have compassion on our people and push agendas that will benefit them succeeding in life. What is needed in the perfect candidate is diversity . Even when people look at my campaign team it consists of all nationalities and multiple backgrounds including Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Muslim Americans, Caucasian Americans, and Latino Americans. The reason why is because is because I am American and I want to represent Americans of all ethnic backgrounds to ensure that we all will succeed and Rise together!

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

LB:  Besides spending time with my campaign and my business, I love to spend time with my two sons and my wife. With the free time that we all have we like to go to volunteer senior citizen facilities, cook for families in need, and holding Ministry services. We always like to take on projects to stimulate the activity in our rural community as well. We have a car club group that raises money for families who can’t afford to bury their deceased loved ones. We also have a television show that inspires people to believe in miracles. So in summary we like to inspire others with our free time.

 

Thanks to Dr. Barnes 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 CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

 

TLCQ 2018: Tami Walker

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)?

TW:  No

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.

TW:

(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.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2957

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 CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

TLCQ 2018: Brian E. Cronin

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.

BC:

(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 CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)