In the Fifth installment of the 2014 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Senator John Whitmire, incumbent of the Texas State Senate, District 15. He is a Democrat, running for reelection.
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?
JW: John Whitmire
TL: Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?
JW: State Representative 1973-1983; State Senator 1983-present
TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?
JW: What happens at every level of government is important, just as governing is important at every level. Government exists to provide crucial services and protections including education, public safety, public health, transportation, etc.
TL: If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for 2015 legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.
JW: Education – continue to fight for increased funding and equity in our public schools. Healthcare – promote increased funding for the elderly, disabled, and fragile and support efforts to expand Medicaid in Texas. Criminal Justice reform – continue to lead the fight to expand rehabilitation, treatment and alternatives to prison.
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.
JW: Strongly supported Medicaid expansion last session and will continue to be vocal on the issue and why it is crucial to so many uninsured and underinsured Texans.
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.
JW: We must adopt a stable funding source for infrastructure maintenance and improvement.
TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?
JW: Experience counts
TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?
JW: Representing the citizens of SD 15, working to advance sound public policy, spending time with my grandson.
Thanks to Senator Whitmire for his participation.