Tag Archives: Texas 2018 Elections

Democratic Gubernatorial Race Sees Anemic Fundraising

For all the horrors that Democrats saw in the fallout from the 2016 Election, 2017 and 2018 have offered plenty of reasons for optimism.  With a new crop of candidates, tons of energy around organizing, and some shocking recent victories in Special Elections, even Texas Democrats are hoping for some serious magic in this November’s Elections.

But can they make magic, without money??

For all of the press and campaign energy, Texas’ two best hopes at retaking the Governor’s Office seem to have not produced major fundraising results.  As Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express- News reports, both candidates are barely noticeable on the campaign finance journey…

AUSTIN — Houston businessman Andrew White, working to break out of a crowded Democratic primary race for governor, said Monday he has made a $1 million loan to his campaign for the effort.

“I’m going to raise as much as I possibly can, and I’m going to spend it all,” White said, estimating the primary race will take several million dollars. He previously said he made a $40,000 loan to his campaign.

White and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez have received the bulk of the attention in a nine-way race for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has more than $43 million in his campaign account.

Valdez — who according to her campaign raised $48,504 in the first part of this year, including a $5,000 loan she made to herself — said in a statement that she isn’t concerned about White’s money.

“I came from humble beginnings as one of eight children born to migrant farm workers. I then spent my career in service to the people of Texas. I’m not wealthy, but I have a lot to be thankful for — including the grassroots support that’s powering my campaign and this movement. I’m not worried about Andrew White’s million-dollar campaign loan, because Texan Democrats can’t be bought, and we’ll prove that on election day,” she said.

Andrew White formally announced his campaign on December 7th, one full month ahead of Lupe Valdez‘s campaign kick-off.  However, it’s also worth noting that Valdez is a current elected official, while this is White’s first run at office.

So yes, it’s only been a total of two months since these folks hit the trail.  And yes, it is the Primary election, where many campaigns would prefer to save any potential resources for the General Election.  But whatever one’s situation, if these candidates are to be taken seriously in the race Texas Governor, the campaign contributions are going to have to improve rapidly. A credible challenger to juggernaut Greg Abbott should be starting their campaign with a six and seven figure war chest, because that’s what they will need to build some serious name ID across the state.

As a high profile elected official in the Dallas area, Sheriff Valdez is clearly up on the name ID front. But how is she going to reach voters in Midland, Mexia or Marfa on a $50,000 budget??

Mr. White has been gaining ground in recent weeks, and even racked up some impressive endorsements. With the press alone that his $1 million dollar self donation has generated, he’s proving that he can emerge from a crowded field. But the lack of diverse, small dollar donations is troublesome, and does not invite confidence in others to sign on to his effort.

So the game right now for Democrats really comes down to one thing above all… attention. How can a Democrat get their name and face out to 28 million citizens? Gubernatorial candidates would do well to take some cues from Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who has managed to combine an aggressive social media apparatus with a bold, 254 county shoe leather campaign. Whether he wins or loses, at Texans I’ll know that he is a viable choice for the job.

Both Valdez and White have met several times in various candidate forums.  Perhaps they, and other Primary candidates would consider holding a couple of live-stream debates before the Primary election?  Though most Texans aren’t yet paying attention, it could be a great way to further engage those that are ready to put their money to use.  However they choose to make those money moves, the time is NOW.

Somebody call Cardi B!!

 

TLCQ 2018: Tahir Javed

In the Ninth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Tahir Javed,  candidate for U.S. House, Texas’ 29th 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?

TJ:  Tahir Javed

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

TJ:  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?

Government is one of the highest public goods. It is the culmination of our collective will, values, and aims. Government has done much to lift people out of poverty, improve people’s health, provide economic opportunity, and abolish reprehensible systems of oppressive slavery. It is vital to helping us continue the march of progress, however slow and imperfect it may be at times, we must continue moving forward.

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

TJ:  Increase access to affordable healthcare for all. Boost funding for schools to provide a quality education for all our students. Bring investment to create high paying jobs that pay a living wage.

First we need to stop the cuts to any funding for healthcare. If we can pick up enough seats, we need to begin pushing harder for Medicare for All. In the meantime, I will continue my work as the president and CEO of a healthcare system in Texas to provide underserved communities the much needed access to hospitals and clinics they need now.

The Texas legislature continues to kick the can down the road on adequately funding our schools. This is where we as congressman need to step up and do what we can when the state fails to honor parents, teachers, and students. Of course we need to increase the funding for education, we also need to be looking at how come up with funding amounts. States like Texas, and others who spend far less than others on education are actually punished by the allocation formulas of Title I. We need to revisit the funding formulas and find a way to make them work for those states with the poorest of students.

As a businessman I have ensured every person I employ receives a living wage. I think it is the duty of every business to pay their employees fairly because it makes sense for owners too—we should all want our employees focused on doing the best job, rather than on how to make ends meet—I will work to raise the minimum wage.

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.

TJ:  On the federal level, the Highway Trust Fund is on track to be in a 160 billion dollar hole. The last time anyone raised the taxes on gas was in 1993. We are long overdue on making the Highway Trust Fund solvent, and ensuring it is fully funded to meet the demands growth in many states like Texas, will need now and in the future. I support measures we can take to fully fund the Highway Trust Fund.

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?  

TJ:  As a president and CEO of a healthcare system in Texas I have seen many under-served communities lose hospitals and clinics. My work has been concentrated on helping those communities losing access to healthcare by turning around failing facilities, and building more hospitals and clinics. I will continue this work in our community if I am elected. We need to continue the work of public-private partnerships to help bring these hospitals and clinics back to these communities. Our federal government needs to work to improve Obamacare and move to a single-payer system. We need healthcare for all.

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.

TJ:  The decision by the Chairman of the FCC and the vote that followed to repeal Net Neutrality will have a negative effect on the market, and is an assault on the freedom of the internet. Given the current Trump administration’s stance on the issue, and the likelihood it would be hard to overturn, states should lead on protecting consumers till a change can be made at the federal level.

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

TJ:  I am uniquely qualified not only as someone who has come to this country as an immigrant who worked his way from nothing to success, but because my professional experience compliments the problems our district faces.

Healthcare coverage in Texas, especially in our district, continues to be the lowest among the states, and the cost of it continues to rise. As CEO and president of one the fastest growing healthcare systems in Texas, I have spent time building hospitals and clinics, and turning around failing hospitals in the most rural and poor areas. I know how we can achieve affordable healthcare for all and lower cost.

Our graduation rates, college achievement, and overall school success is at an all time low. The state continues to do little to assist the poorer districts with the necessary funds to do more for our kids. They deserve a world class education. I was at a time a teacher. I eventually opened up my own school for underprivileged children where I grew up. My mission to help those around me started early in my career. It helps me understand what we need to be successful—more funding, higher teacher pay, smaller class sizes, and less focus on standardized test.

Our district has one of the lowest average incomes in southeast Texas. If we hope our hardworking families have the resources they need to achieve their own American Dream, we need high paying jobs that pay a living wage. I have created over 20 businesses, and with that thousands of jobs. It has been a belief of mine since I started my companies to pay my employees a living wage, and to ensure they had the best possible benefits. I think all businesses should lead by example. In the absence of their action, we should fight to raise the minimum wage.

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

TJ:  I love to volunteer and donate to progressive causes, as well as those in need. I also enjoy reading poetry. My favorite thing is spending time with the love of my life, my wife, our beautiful children, and cooking a big meal for them all.

 

Thanks to Mr. Ashley 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: Kevin Nelson

In the Eighth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Kevin Nelson,  candidate for U.S. House, Texas’ 10th Congressional District.

Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.

 

TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

KN:  Kevin Nelson

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

KN:  No, this is my first run for office.

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

KN:  I believe the government must protect everyone’s rights, must serve as a counterbalance to powerful private interests, and must give a helping hand to those who need it. Unfortunately, it has recently been doing a poor job with all of those tasks. I would like to do what I can to help turn things around.

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

KN:  My top priorities are affordable healthcare; tax fairness; and addressing general political dysfunction. With regard to healthcare, my top priority would be to improve and extend the Affordable Care Act. In particular, I would like to see the original ACA public option put into law. With regard to taxes, I would like to make the overall tax system more progressive. The top two or three percent can afford to shoulder more of the burden, and working people deserve a break. Ideally, I would like to add a progressive component to the payroll tax. With regard to political dysfunction, there are many steps we could take such as better regulation of so-called SuperPACs. I also support abolition of the Electoral College.

TL:  In the coming years, the state of Texas is on course to have an unprecedented boom in the state’s population. But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure. Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state.

KN:   Improving infrastructure is something both parties should be able to agree on. We need more funding for upkeep of existing roads, bridges, and many other items. One of my own priorities would be more support for public transportation, which would help us develop our cities in a more sustainable and livable fashion.

TL:  Even as impressive growth continues in around the state’s urban centers, rural Texans are faced with a healthcare crisis.  According to Laura Garcia of the Victoria Advocate, rural communities across the state have lost 18 hospitals in less than five years, and this was before any additional challenges worsened by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.  Without hospital services in or near their local communities, the medical and emergency care is at an increasing risk our citizens.  As a legislator, how would you plan to address this issue and help Texas’ vital rural healthcare facilities stay open?  

KN:   One immediate step we can take is to expand Medicaid, which will help patients both directly and indirectly, by providing more revenue to hospitals. Though the decision on Medicaid expansion is currently left up to individual states, the federal government should use its leverage to encourage Texas and other states to go forward with it. I would also support the proposed Save Rural Hospitals Act, which would make more Medicare funding available and help hospitals to keep providing vital services. In the longer term, I would like to expand and extend the Affordable Care Act, most importantly by returning to the public option that was part of the original proposal for the Act.

TL:  In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn an Obama-era rule which classifies internet service providers as public utilities, and thereby governed under the 1934 Communications Act.  This decision essentially erases the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all online content equally without giving preference to particular sources, otherwise known as Net Neutrality.  Please describe your views on this decision, and whether or not you would support legislation at the State or Federal level to uphold the principle of Net Neutrality.

KN:   I support writing net neutrality into law. Internet service providers often enjoy near-monopoly status, and they should not be able to take advantage of that status by giving special treatment to whatever online content they favor. In the long run, I believe we should work towards an internet environment with more choice and competition, which would benefit ordinary consumers in many different ways. One idea I like that would help us move towards that goal is something called “local loop unbundling.” It is possible that we might eventually create enough competition to make net neutrality unnecessary, but we are still a long way from that day.

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

KN:  We have a great field of Democratic candidates this year, and I will be happy to support whoever the eventual nominee is. That being said, I believe there are two things that make me stand out. First of all, I place a high priority on procedural reforms. We can’t just look at what decisions need to be made–we need to look at how the decisions are made. And there’s a lot of work to be done there. For example, the congressional leadership should have less power to block bills that are favored by a majority of the members. Second, if nominated I will be able to concentrate one hundred percent on my general-election campaign. The tenth is an uphill district for any Democrat, but I believe it is winnable.

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

KN:  I enjoy reading, movies, and getting out and walking on hiking trails or just around the city.

 

Thanks to Mr. Nelson for the responses.

 

Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration).  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris 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!!)

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.

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