Tag Archives: Texas 2018 Elections

TODAY is the Voter Registration Deadline for the March 6th Primary!!

The Big Question for today… ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE?!?!

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).  Remember for the Primaries you can vote for either the Democratic Slate, or the Republican Slate, but not both.

Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery Countyand Galveston County

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

Be sure to check your registration today!

(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: Fran Watson

In the Seventh installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Fran Watson,  candidate for the Texas State Senate, District 17.

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?

FW:  Fran Watson

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

FW:  No.  I am a first-time candidate.

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

FW:  Government is important as it exists to provide protections from injustice and oppression for the community at large.  This is done by implementing laws, policies, and accountability measures for actions or inactions of the residents.

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

FW:

  1. Access to inclusive healthcare.
  2. Proper funding of public services, (state services, public education)
  3. Economic Empowerment for Disenfranchised Communities. (living wage, non-discrimination laws).

By working in coalition with members of both chambers who are already in Austin that have begun the work and developing a plan even before legislation is drafted.  For instance, to provide access to healthcare, part of the solution already exists- Medicaid expansion.  The more members aligned with ensuring billions of dollars are not left on the table and Texans are continuing to be uninsured, the more likely, Medicaid expansion in Texas can happen.

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.

FW:  It is a multi-layered approach.  While it is necessary to construct highways to relieve congestion, it is an expensive endeavor.  Focusing on public transportation, including dedicated biking lanes. Additionally, working on a plan for affordable housing, as many people are having to move further out from work, school, and other daily endeavors, which puts a strain on Texas 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?  

FW:  Rural areas make of a large part of District 17, and with access to inclusive healthcare and funding being one of my top priorities, having a plan to provide proper funding will be the first step to ensure the facilities not only stay open, but are not always in threat of closing.  I plan to bring in advisers that can come up with innovative ways to provide long-term services to rural residents in addition to ideas such as telemedicine and mobile clinics.

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.

FW:  My entire platform is about access.  The decision to overturn net neutrality has the potential to shut down voices as it gives ISP the authority control content.  As we’ve seen over the last few years, organizers and activists have been able to fight oppression and injustice using Social Media.  Overturning Net Neutrality could once again attempt to mute the voices of the unheard.  Therefore, I would support legislation to uphold Net Neutrality.

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

FW:  I am an attorney, intersectional activist, advocate, and community leader, and my approach to problem solving ensures that when elected I will be looking to hear from all constituents whose voices are missing from the conversation and how disenfranchised communities are impacted by current policies and proposed solutions.

I had an untraditional childhood.  I grew up in poverty with a single mother who passed away early.  When I lost my mother, in many ways, I inherited her role as caretaker.  I was expelled from high school due to missing too many days and it took some time to get back on track to getting my GED and eventually graduating from law school.   My past is a driving force for the work that I do and the communities I serve because I understand what it is like not to have access.  And I use my skills, talent, and experience to work to ensure we all have equal access.

I have leadership experience.  After serving less than a year on the board of a nonprofit that serves homeless youth, I was entrusted to be the president after its founding board member and first president resigned.  I was elected the first black woman president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus after being a member of the organization within three years. I’ve served in leadership in several organizations in and around Houston.  Through the many and varied experiences, I have been asked to speak on many panels and provide thoughtful leadership on a myriad of topics.

And I show up. I have been involved in various progressive causes.  I lead when I need to lead and support when I need to support.

Finally, representation matters.  The government should reflect the make-up of the people of Texas.

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

FW:  Laughing with friends and family.  Traveling.  Reading.

 

Thanks to Ms. Watson 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: Matt Harris

In the Sixth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Matt Harris,  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?

MH:  Matt Harris

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

MH:  No.  This is my first run for elected 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?

MH:  Civilization requires the creation of some privileges such as natural resource control.  Participation in government and wielding it’s powers is itself a privilege.  The creation of privileges will create inequality of wealth and power among citizens.  Unless government steps in to check the powerful, they will simply exploit everyone else. Government is not doing a good job of this at present.

Some goods and services simply cannot be provided by free markets but are still important, and even necessary, for civil society.  Government must provide these services which include a justice system, transportation infrastructure, external protection, education, healthcare, currency creation, and environmental protections, to name just a few.  These needed services must be supplied in a way that meets the needs of all citizens.  Government is crucially different from private business in this aspect.  The current government is failing in these responsibilities for much of our population.

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

MH:  Our dysfunctional economy – We need a high-wage, entrepreneurial economy.  The enduring way to accomplish this is to shift our tax system away from work and productive investment and onto monopoly power, particularly natural resource monopolies.  Monopoly power is at the root of the absurd, unnatural, and unsustainable distribution of wealth in the U.S. and much of the world.  The unusual nature of monopoly income has gone by several names in economic history:  “The rent of land” (Adam Smith), “economic rent (classical economists), “surplus value” (Marx), and “Unearned income” (U.S. Income Tax code).  We need to redirect our tax code to collect economic rent (my preferred term) and stop taxing wages and productive investment.  We also need to break up the big banks and restore a modern version of Glass-Steagall.

Sustainability –   Climate change is real, is man-made, and requires our urgent attention. I favor taxing carbon extraction and rebating it back to the public on a per-capita basis.  Incentives matter.  I also favor large increases in federal research money for carbon-neutral fuels.  We must require patent sharing as a condition of participation.  Our agricultural practices are also not sustainable.  We are depleting soils and degrading our water.  These are the result of policy choices and these practices can be reversed.

Reclaiming the language – Our public discourse is profoundly degraded.  Tax shifts are not tax reduction.  Science is not a matter of casual opinion.  War is not peace and empire is not defense.  Talk of “free markets” without addressing monopoly power is a ridiculous conversation.  Unlimited political spending is not free speech.  Corporations are not people.  I favor a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood.

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.

MH:  We need a holistic approach to transportation that will include many elements.  The total costs and impact must be considered, including run-off, maintenance, and ongoing public services.   We need better urban design and we need to more energy efficient, and multi-modal forms of transportation.   Well designed infrastructure always raises land values in the areas served.   We need to recapture these increases as a means of paying for infrastructure.  I think it is crucial that we link the benefit of infrastructure (increase in land value income) to the building of infrastructure (flow of costs).    If we do not create this linkage then the new infrastructure becomes another means to redistribute wealth, mainly from poorer to richer.

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?  

MH:  This healthcare crisis was created by the Texas legislature when they refused to take the Medicaid expansion funds.  It was unspeakably irresponsible and ideologically driven.  There is no free market in medical services and we need to plan accordingly.  I favor returning to a policy of funding public hospitals.   Medicaid expansion is the most expedient route, but it will require a new state legislature.  If the Texas lege will not cooperate then other funding methods must be found.

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.

MH:  This was a corrupt decision that will result in the major telcos raising rates, providing mediocre service, and squeezing millions of small businesses that operate on the internet.  It is an excellent example of the terrible power of monopoly.  The ruling will simply re-distribute wealth from productive people (many millions) to the shareholders and executives of the big telcos (a few hundred people).  Monopoly power must be neutralized in all of its forms.  I favor congress requiring net neutrality and overruling the FEC.  I also favor going further and shifting the telco taxes to direct them at the telco natural resource base rather than the transactions.  This would further neutralize the telco power and possibly break them up into more responsive, smaller entities.

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

MH:  My understanding of real economics is a perspective no other candidate is bringing to the table.  If elected, I will fight for real economic change.

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

MH:  My main recreation is swing dance.  I also read a lot.  I have four children spanning the millennial generation and time with them is golden.  I also enjoy long walks in the Austin greenbelts.

 

Thanks to Mr. Harris 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: Adam Milasincic

In the Fifth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Adam Milasincic,  candidate for the Texas State House, District 138

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?

AM:  Adam Milasincic

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

AM:  I am an attorney and first-time candidate.

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

AM:  When run properly, state government ensures an equal playing field and high quality of life for all residents. From our public schools to our flood-control infrastructure to the highways we drive on, decisions made in the state Capitol affect the everyday life of everyone who lives or even travels through our state. Unfortunately, government can be (and currently is being) used for the evil purpose of stigmatizing and bullying people—something that I am fighting to end.

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

AM:

  • Invest in public schools as our #1 budget priority: Restore the state’s share of public school funding to at least 50 percent and use Rainy Day funds to repair the still-devastating consequences of the funding “gap” created by the $4 billion school funding cut in 2011. Improve pay and benefits for public school teachers.

  • Enact flood control solutions: Control carbon emissions to reduce Texas’ contributions to climate change. Toughen rules for new construction to protect existing homes. Create and properly fund a 13-county regional Flood Control District to accept responsibility for all storm water issues.

  • Stop all the hate: Racism and discrimination have never gone away, but these evils are becoming even worse today under Trump and Greg Abbott. We must resist and repeal discriminatory laws such as the “Show Me Your Papers” Senate Bill 4, and the never-ending flood of anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ bills filed every session. Stopping the hate also encompasses an end to all racial profiling, pretextual traffic stops, and other abuses in the criminal justice system that predominately harm African American and Hispanic people.

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.

AM:  The state is already investing large sums in highway construction, but our flood-control infrastructure is vastly underfunded and overlooked. Through construction impact fees and other revenue sources, we must invest the money now to assure that when the next super storm hits, our families and homes will be better protected.

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?  

AM:  At the federal level, Congress needs to act by restoring adequate Medicare and Medicaid payments for these rural hospitals; underfunding at the federal level is a primary mover behind this crisis. As a state legislator, I will fight for expanding Affordable Care Act coverage within Texas so that quality healthcare is more accessible to low-income individuals in all communities. Additionally, we must expand loan-forgiveness and other incentives for medical students attending our state universities who commit to establishing practices in rural and other underserved communities.

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.

AM:  I oppose the FCC’s decision and support Net Neutrality. A free, open internet is vital to our modern economy, and the FCC’s approach is yet another example of favoritism toward mega-corporations. Although state-level laws that directly attempt to contradict the FCC’s ruling would arguably be preempted by federal law if challenged in court, states can and should take creative steps to at least partially address the issue until we have a Congress and president willing to act. For example, some states are requiring internet service providers with state contracts to follow the Net Neutrality approach if they want to keep their state contracts.

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

AM: Winning experience and progressive values. I have a winning record of fighting and beating many of the richest and most powerful corporations in the state. Having litigated all the way through appeals courts on legal interpretation issues as in-the-weeds as how the placement of a comma affects a law’s meaning, I am ready to contribute on day one with substantive legislation and amendments. I am not intimidated by special interests and have the record to back it up. In today’s climate especially, we need our Democratic legislators to be tough, proven fighters and strategic planners if we are to successfully block the reactionary agenda that is ruining the lives of too many people in our state.

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

AM:  Volunteer work, reading mystery novels, and traveling to new places.

 

Thanks to Mr. Milasincic 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: Margarita Ruiz Johnson

In the Fourth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Margarita Ruiz Johnson,  candidate for U. S. House, Texas’ 22nd 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?

MRJ:  Margarita Ruiz Johnson. District 22, US House of Representative.

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

MRJ:  Retired.  Will work full time on District 22, Community issues making progress in economic and social issues impacting our community.

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

 MRJ:  Goverment is by the People and of the People and for the People.  Our representatives, when elected need to truly represent the needs and dreams of its community at the local level, the state level and the federal level, in a fair manner.  Government is needed and can be helpful to solve many of the problems the citizens and the local communities have to make their lives better and to help them fulfill their dreams to improve the lives of their children and grandchildren to have  a better future and to retire with dignity.  The representative is to work for its community and not to get himself or herself rich.  They should represent their communities with dignity and respect.

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

MRJ:  I will, work  daily to reverse many of the dangerous bills and laws passed by President Trump affecting the lives of individuals in our communities.  I will draft legistation and will spend most of my time doing this to repair the damage done in enviromental laws, climate change, taxation of the rich, tax code, salaries, jobs, health care, senior and veterans benefits, children care and benefits, community health centers, senior care and benefits in nursing homes, middle class jobs and salaries, pensions and retirement funds, and the regulation of wall street, to include the protection of the consumer protection agency.  We need to do this, right away, to get us back on track to have a better economic future for our children and grandchildren.

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.

MRJ:  Texas infrastructure needs to be improve to accomodate the larger population and congestion problems that we are having.  We are beginning to convert our roads into toll roads, but most of these contracts are going to “entities from foreign governments”, the funds will leave our communities and will not be reserve for repairs, nor to improve  traffic congestion.  This is wrong and most people don’t know about this “glitch” that will drain money from transportation to other countries…. We need to reverse this to insure that the moneys stays local to help improve transportation. In addition, the transportation of the future can shift to more speed trains using green energy and fewer cars to help with the environnment and the traffic congestion.

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?  

MRJ:  There has to be a true commitment to our rural communities in health care, education and technologies in order to have a rural healthcare that provides quality health care at a fair price for our citizens.  What I have noticed is that the state and federal representatives in this rural areas are committing  and pleadging alligiance to the gun lobby, to the oil lobby and to large corporations and that’s how they get re-elected and make a career of being senators and congress representatives.
After the election, there is very little contact with the community and the rural areas are left fending for themselves in dealing with very complex issues that require coordination and funding from the state and the federal level.  We need to change this and we can only change it at the local level by monoring exactly what the representative and senators are doing to help the rural areas and hold their feet to the fire.  If it does not work and the representative is working for the lobbiest, they need to be sent home packing. We need to” empty” our Congress and start all over again.  It is corrupted and not functional.

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.

MRJ:  Everyone knows that Mr. Trump and his administration made promises to middle and poor Americans and then he hired the wealthiest people he could find and went about the business to destroy our communities and to make changes that will benefit AT@T, Comcast, Verizon. Apple, Microsolf, Oil and the Big Corporate Giants, that at any time can slow down our internet lines, can stop our access to the internet, and can raise the prices charge to middle America.  This corruption from the highest level of government, and we need, via legislation support NET NEUTRALITY AND REVERSE THE DAMAGE CAUSE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP.

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

MRJ:  I prepared for this position for the last two years by learning all the issues impacting our local communities, how to fix the problems and I am retired and can promise my community that I will work full time for them.  I don’t have any debts, the work will be for them and them only. I don’t have any minor children at home that will depend on me, I will be working full time for you.  I have no sckeleton’s in my closet that you would have to worry about when you sent me to Congress to represent you.  I do not smoke, drink, nor mess around.  You will not be asked to pay for legal fees for my misbehavior, there will be none.
I am the best educated candidate in finance, accounting, strategic planning, budget, health care, mediation, working in groups, expert in the education field, worked in the past in human resources therefore, I know all the federal laws that deal with employment and consumer goods. I served in the US ARMY and know military financing , accounting budgets, therefore, I can represent our veterans well and with dignity.  I come from a trully military family committed to our family, our community and our country.  I have a Bachelors in Languages (English, Spanish, Portuquesse).  My Masters is in the Behavioral Sciences,  I am an expert on Mental issues and group behavior dynamics.  I am well verse on all currents events that impact our communites.
The competing candidates have economic(large amount of bebt) issues, social issues(drinking issues), commitment issues and lack of knowlege issues( not ready for the jobs that will take a long time for them to catch up with my excellent and special qualities needed for this job.  I am the only candidate ready to address the issue of impeachment, if presented to me, when you send me to Congress. Finally, I will never tell you a lie…. The last panel that I attended, the candidates were telling you, exactly what you wanted to hear, and that is how Mr. Trump was elected. Be aware of know it all, fast talking salesman….there is trouble ahead…

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

MRJ:  As I said earlier, my commitment is to my family, my community and my country. I am retired with no bebt.  Since all I need is your vote to continue to help you dealing with a complex system at the federal and state level, you will not find me raising money to get me re-elected.  I don’t believe nor trust packs, so you will not find me searching them out to get me re-elected.  I will be talking to you and your problems to see how I can help to make things better.  I will respond to your questions, via e-mails, letters, one on one and any other way you want to communicate that is easy for you to help resolve the problems of our community in coordination with state and federal partners.  I can do this and I can do it well.

 

Thanks to Ms. Johnson 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: Mike Collier

 

In the Third installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Mike Collier candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor.

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?

MC:  Mike Collier 

 

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

MC:  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?

MC:  We simply cannot do for ourselves in all things.  We must band together as a community and help one another.  And government is precisely that.  Moreover, government is an expression of the values we cherish. The quality of our life is profoundly influenced by the values our leaders display in their work in government.  

 

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

MC:  We are in the grip of a fiscal crisis in Texas, which means we are struggling to invest in the things that matter to us like public education, healthcare, transportation, Child Protective Services, mental health services, and on and on.  Of course, we CAN invest in these things; our fiscal crisis is the result of Republican fiscal orthodoxy that says, “I’ve got what I want.  Good luck getting what you want.”  We can resolve this crisis specifically by turning our relationship with big corporations into a partnership wherein they help us invest in the things that matter to us. The Republican idea that we need to enrich corporate shareholders while our services and infrastructure collapse, and while our values of compassion and empathy are thrown out the window, is what I am campaigning against.  In my first legislative session as Lt Governor, I intend to close the big corporate property tax loophole that robs our state of $5 billion per year (based on the last estimate, from 2006, adjusted for inflation) and use that money to increase our investment in public education.  There is more work to do in reforming tax policy and investing in our state, but this is my first-session objective.

2. We also need to eliminate corruption, and in the first session I will propose the creation of The Texas Audit, Performance and Integrity Commission (“APIC”) which will have a highly innovative structure that will completely eliminate political influence.  Every politician and trough-feeder will fear APIC. Every Texan will love it!

3. We also need to kill gerrymandering for good before gerrymandering kills our democracy.  We can do this by adoption a Redistricting Commission, similarly designed to be completely free of all political influence, which I will introduce in my first session as Lt Governor.

 

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.

MC:  As discussed above, we need to change our relationship with big corporations in Texas and bring them back into partnership with us to invest in infrastructure. We MUST invest infrastructure, and we MUST NOT land every penny of this on the backs of homeowners and renters.  Republican fiscal policy has been shifting the burden of investing in infrastructure, including education, away from the big corporations and onto the backs of homeowners and it has led to property taxes that are way too high and services and investment that are not keeping up. Reversing these unwise fiscal policies will produce the revenues we need to invest in infrastructure without raising taxes on ordinary people.

 

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 Lieutenant Governor, how would you plan to address this issue and help Texas’ vital rural healthcare facilities stay open?  

MC:  Rural healthcare is indeed a crisis in Texas and I hear it everywhere I go.  We should expand Medicaid and reform it so that it marries well with the requirements of healthcare providers including rural healthcare providers. And we should support and improve ACA, not destroy it. In the end, we must treat healthcare as a basic human right, including for those living in rural Texas, and we need to be prepared to invest. We should attempt to do this by working in concert with federal policy.  If we lose confidence that this is possible, Texas is large enough, smart enough, and prosperous enough to design and implement our own healthcare system, one that gives rural Texans confidence that they too will have access to high quality healthcare.

 

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.

MC:  I think we should adopt a pure common carrier system, which would be even better than net neutrality as it has been recently debated. Every Texan should be able to access any ISP and switch as often as they like. The physical infrastructure that makes this possible should be completely separated from ISPs and work on a simple fee structure. And while we are at it we should invest in high speed internet in rural Texas.

 

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

MC:  Many of the issues we face in Texas require investment. So the Lt Governor has to find the money, without raising taxes on the people who live and work here and without drowning our state in debt.  I make my living diagnosing complex financial situations and recommending solutions. I have a very clear idea as to how to raise the money without raising taxes on people, without increasing debt, and without choking our job-creation machine.  In short, we need to reverse the decades-long trend of shifting the tax burden away from big corporations and onto the backs of homeowners and small businesses. We can do this by closing the technical loopholes in the Equal and Uniform (property tax) law, and we need to reengineer the 2006 tax swap and this time do it right. We can live in a state that is great for creating jobs, and that is also compassionate and welcoming.  But it will take considerable financial and commercial expertise to do it, and I bring both to this endeavor.

 

 

Thanks to Mr. Collier for the responses.

Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, 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 solutions in the Lone Star State!!)

 

TLCQ 2018: Fredrick A. Infortunio

In the Second installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Dr. Fred Infortunio, candidate for the Texas State House, District 130.

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?

FA:  Fredrick A. Infortunio

 

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

FA:  I was the Precinct Chair for PCT 926 (2016 and 2017).

 

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

FA  Government is supposed to help provide for the success, well being, and prosperity of the governed.

My campaign motto is

“For the Good of All Texans”

 

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

FA:  So many items have been promoted by the incumbent Republicans that it is difficult to know the best place to start.

Here we go:

A.  The philosophy of the Texas legislature and governor’s office has been to cater to the very wealthy business interests under the guise of attracting business to Texas.

This in actuality, this has meant that they have consciously worked against the people in the favor of business concerns. Yes, we all need to work; businesses are where we work.  This being said, the supporting of socially responsible businesses is a priority.

I am approaching this by looking at the TCEQ. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been crippled in their pay policies and the rules they promulgate to control pollution/polluters.  The TCEQ chronically underpays their employees and has a high turnover; their policies encourage adverse selection of employees.  Their lack of punitive teeth and the legislative pushback allows the polluters to poison Texans.

B. The tax system in the state is horribly regressive; it burdens the poor and the middle class. I have read that Texas has the third worst regressive tax system. I am not sure how much support I will get, but I am looking to impose impact fees on builders (their customers) which can be brought into the ISD or other necessary state coffers.  I saw this system used very effectively in Florida. I lived there from 1986 to 1990.

  • I suggest Imposing a small tax on luxury vehicles (over $50,000 +-)
  • in addition, a small inheritance tax on estates over $10,000,000.
  • I also believe that imposing a (small) tax similar to that in Florida on portfolio high value accounts held by Texans will help the Texas economy.

These tax proposals may not be possible in Texas. The wealthy will get the poor to get out the pitchforks.

 

The ISD tax system is also grossly unfair, it creates a very uneven playing field for the school systems, and it boosts property taxes in the districts.  The pooling of property taxes in the state to Austin and the distribution on a per student basis would serve the school systems.

This may not work but the use of the rainy day fund (ESF) to even out the distribution would be helpful.  Presently our fund is around $10B which brings in an additional $800M per year in interest. Overall, this fund is equal to about 18% of general revenue expenditures.

Other state funds average about 6.5% of expenditures. The size of the fund as it relates to the lack of services provided is grossly unfair.  The education system and the flood control systems, other infrastructure could be improved using a more equitable management of this fund and tax management.

C. The voter ID laws for Texas have been struck down by the Supreme Court, as being repressive for minority voters.

They were originally (falsely) developed to combat voter fraud in Texas.

The original voter fraud was created and implemented by the Texas legislature in their gerrymandering (again struck down by the Supreme Court) of the districts. Again, the Texas Republican controlled legislature, and governor have shown their fraudulent nature in promulgating these laws and resisting any changes. I will work in any way that I can to implement the redrawing of districts to properly represent the people of Texas.

 

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.

FA:  As mentioned above the restructuring of the tax system is one of the keys to improvement of the infrastructure. I know that draining the ESF is counter productive past a certain point but effectively using that money is a good place to start.

A commuter rail system between the major Texas cities will also improve the growth of the state economy.

I am not sure of the utility or pricing of the toll roads; I would like to look at the pricing and growth of the toll road systems.

The impact fees mentioned above will also help take the strain off the tax systems.

 

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?  

I have not given much thought to the rural healthcare system.  Having said that, I point out that Governor Abbot has turned down $65B for the Texas Medicaid system just to spite President Obama. This hurts all Texans.  I would rely on House colleagues from those districts to propose systems that will help the rural medical problems.  The opposition to Planned Parenthood, I am sure, did not help the situation.

 

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.

FA:  Net neutrality is necessary to the fair distribution of communication services throughout the country.  The opposition to net neutrality is another instance of controlling the money in the country in favor of the aristocracy and against the people. The internet can be considered to be a public utility.

 

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

 

I truly care for the condition and success of the society, of the people.  Everyone’s life improves as the whole boat rises. I am not controlled or beholden to the Republican plutocracy.  I am running for this position because of what the Republicans have done to the citizens of Texas.

I have a broad scope of knowledge and a philosophy which looks to the improvement of the condition of the people.

I am an Chemical and Safety engineer (Certified Safety Professional – retired, with a PE(fl) license).  which allows me to understand the production methods and pollution problems in Texas; I have an excellent understanding and experience with the oil, gas, chemical, , pharmaceutical, utility, and general industries.

Further, I have audited, surveyed, and consulted to over 1,000 businesses in the US.   From my experiences, I have found companies that are excellent, good, bad and ugly. It is the bad and the ugly ones that kill people and destroy the environment. There are a small number of socially irresponsible industries/companies which harm our society.

I hold an MBA-finance which helps me to understand the budgeting and finance problems of Texas, the people, the school systems, and businesses.

Moreover, I am well read holding a  doctorate in business and management with sub specialties in organizational and general culture. I do have a broad scope of knowledge.

 

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

FA:  I like to hang out with my wife watching television, I study political problems and philosophies, and I work against Trump at every chance I get. I like to shoot my pistols then reload the ammunition (reloading ammunition is very relaxing and requires a great deal of focused concentration).  I like to work around my home; I also like to hang out in my pool listening to music.

 

Thanks to Dr. Infortunio for their responses.

Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, 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!!)