In the First installment of the 2014 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Laura Nicol, candidate for the Texas State Representative, District 133. She is a Democrat.
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?
LN: Laura Nicol
TL: Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?
TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?
LN: Government’s job is the protection and empowerment of ordinary people and their communities. Protection from natural disasters, accidents, and predators (animals, people, and businesses). Empowerment via infrastructure, institutions, and programs that anyone can use to achieve success.
Workers need a living wage, humane working conditions, and affordable housing near public transportation. Families need wholesome food, health care, and social services within their community. Neighborhood schools need full funding and the freedom to teach. Immigrants need legal options and an efficient path to citizenship.
TL: If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for 2015 legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.
LN: As State Representative for Texas House District 133, I will fight for full restoration of funding for neighborhood schools, and distribution of resources according to need, not test scores. I will champion legislation to require every job to provide a living wage, decent working conditions, and regularly scheduled days off. I will fight to protect communities from endangerment and exploitative business practices by enforcing regulations, requiring independent inspections, and imposing crippling penalties for repeat infractions. If necessary, I will push for a state income tax to fund these measures.
TL: A 2013 survey found that 54 percent of Texas voters support Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Expansion is also supported by the Texas Hospital Association. Without Medicaid Expansion or an alternate solution, Texas Hospitals are having to provide over $5 billion dollars annually in uncompensated care to patients who lack insurance. This leaves Texas taxpayers paying not only for the uncompensated care of our residents, but also paying for expanded healthcare benefits in other states. If elected, would you support Medicaid Expansion or an alternate solution for the state of Texas, so we can bring our tax dollars back where they belong? If not, please explain why. If so, please explain how you would work to pass such a measure
LN: Yes. If there is suitable existing legislation, I will vote for it. If not, I will submit a bill. In addition, I will join other advocates in publicizing the benefits and debunking the feared consequences of Medicaid expansion.
TL: In the coming years, the state of Texas is projected to have a population boom of historic proportions. 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.
LN: Infrastructure is what individual prosperity is built upon. But infrastructure rests upon the foundation of environmental health. Water, air, and soil are our most fundamental and essential assets. Environmental protection regulations must be enforced and continually updated to include new data. Natural resources must be managed for the good of all, not the profit of a few. Once the foundation of environmental health is secure, civilization’s infrastructure can be addressed: education, health care, housing, transportation, etc. All must be addressed with the intent to provide the most good for the most people in the long run. There are fact and evidence based solutions already working out in the rest of the world; we should not let profiteers call the shots.
TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?
LN: The incumbent is a business man, not a public servant. He is wealth oriented, stuck in the profit paradigm where money matters most. He brags about how many private schools are in his district, and voted to both reduce and divert public education dollars, starving our neighborhood schools for the benefit of exclusionary institutions.
I am committed to the health and well-being of all Texas residents; I believe every neighborhood needs good public schools, affordable housing, accessible health care & social services, reliable public transit, and a variety of small businesses providing goods, services, and living wages. We all do better when we ALL do better.
TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?
LN: Although I no longer sing in a choir, I still lead hymns at my UU church every Sunday. I read a couple of hours a day. The exception is when my children coax me into trying out a new video game, which I will play for a couple of months before losing interest. Several times a year I like to spend a day in the garden, focusing on plants and dirt; it puts everything else into perspective for me.
Thanks to Ms. Nicol for her participation.