Residents of House District 66 are immensely proud of their public schools - so am I. I believe that public schools are the foundation of our neighborhoods, our communities, and our democracy, and that how we treat our children and how we teach our children is critical to our future.
We know that education provides both a private benefit to the individual student and a public benefit to society. I will defend and strengthen our public schools by working to provide staff, students, and parents the resources they need to be successful. Investing in public education is good for Texans and good for business.
I believe that all Texans who are willing to work hard should have the economic opportunity and a fair shot at earning a living wage in a safe environment. Everyone should have a chance to benefit from the explosive growth our district is experiencing.
While House District 66 is home to an educated, dedicated workforce, some of our neighbors still find themselves unemployed, underemployed, or otherwise struggling. I will work hard to improve economic outcomes for everyone in our community.
Health & Well-being
It is important to support and enact policies that enhance our health and well-being. As with education, good health provides both a private benefit to an individual and a public benefit to society. There are numerous areas of concern where legislative efforts could affect positive outcomes for Texans.
Healthcare is essential; ignoring its challenges will be catastrophic. Our goal should be to have healthy citizens able to live productive lives.
Narrow, singularly focused statewide policies and laws cannot serve all of the almost 28 million Texans equally or effectively. Our current statewide governing bodies have been too focused on the perceived needs and desires of only certain constituencies at the expense of others.
My goal is to bring a more wide-angle and accommodating perspective to the role of governing by our state legislature. Local elected officials often have a closer understanding of their communities than those legislating from Austin. By respecting local control, the state legislature can help school districts, city councils, and other governing bodies more effectively lead.
Ultimately, it is up to citizens to determine the quality of services we want in our communities, and we must then find a way to cover the costs they entail. Our heavy reliance on property taxes to fund the basic business of government has meant that we have few alternative sources of revenue when roads must be widened, schools built, and critical services like police and fire provided throughout a growing region.
In addition, school finance reform is a prerequisite for property tax relief. Until the state restores a responsible level of funding to our schools, rising property taxes will remain a challenge for local communities.
The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, and we must halt and reverse the steady degradation of this right. I believe that eligible voters should be encouraged to vote, not the opposite. That means expanding voting locations and hours, extending early voting, instituting secure online voter registration, and rolling back the discriminatory voter ID requirements that our current government has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars defending in court. Unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud seek to limit Texans’ right to choose their representatives, and I will not go along with this.
In addition, I will seek to stop the partisan gerrymandering that has led to untenable political polarization. We have the knowledge and expertise to draw boundaries that result in better representation for all.
Simply put: Government can work, and it will work, when we elect representatives willing to work together on issues important to those they are elected to serve. We cannot fall prey to tribal politics which seek to pit us against our neighbors over wedge issues and undermine the function of our government.
During the most recent legislative session, our state government passed the anti-immigrant SB4, which allows local law enforcement to question the immigration status of anyone they detain and could make something as minor as a traffic stop the first step toward deportation. I believe that “show me your papers” laws have no place in Texas.
I strongly support reentry into the federal refugee resettlement program. Refugees who apply dedicate years to working through stringent security screenings and present no danger to our communities. They may be fleeing famine, war, or political oppression, and Texas should strive to be welcoming and generous with our opportunity, security, and freedom.
The facts show that immigrants are frequently among the most hardworking and law-abiding members of our communities, and I believe a diverse state is a strong state.
Gun control is fundamentally a public health issue. On this deeply divisive topic, our legislature must find the sort of common ground that we find among ourselves. Measures we can take include shoring up our system of background checks, enacting safe storage laws, and supporting fingerprint technology. I also believe that assault-style rifles have no place in our communities and that the continued propagation of these weapons is ultimately to the detriment of public safety. We cannot continue to do nothing simply because we cannot agree on everything.
Criminal Justice Reform
Our criminal justice system should be refocused on the rehabilitation of offenders and the restoration of our communities. We need to rethink our response to minor offenses, and one of the first steps we can take is to legalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. Like alcohol, this can be well regulated and taxed to provide a new revenue source for our state.
Today, law enforcement faces many challenges, including new difficulties and responsibilities stemming from recent, ill-conceived open carry and immigration legislation. I believe that with a return to common sense, our communities and our men and women in uniform can better support each other.
As a member of the Plano Cultural Affairs Commission, I stand behind our artistic community. My first step on your behalf will be to defend the Texas Film Commission so that our state’s film industry can continue to educate, empower, and entertain us all.