Texas Association of Businesses Candidate Questionnaire

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If elected, what are your top 3 priorities to work towards?

Balanced Budget: We cannot afford to keep kicking the can down the road: our national debt and annual budgets deficits are setting the country up for failure. What is most apparent is that the solution is easy to understand--increase revenue and decrease spending--but the practical implications are nearly impossible to navigate because it will involve sacrifice by everyone and politicians are unwilling to broach the conversation for fear of losing their jobs.

Education Reform: We must strike the right balance of local leadership and determination with common nationwide goals. We need to ensure consistent standards are being met but overhaul standardized testing practices. We must improve access to and support of pre-primary education programs, recognizing the significance and sensitivity of this foundational time in the education cycle. We must better prepare students during their time of transition to post-secondary education, focusing on the increased need for a balance of four-year programs, 2-year programs, certificate programs and job training programs and not a one-size-fits-all approach. We need to resolve the disparity caused by funding discrepancies due to the majority of available funds being determined by local property taxes. Most importantly, the details of any projected policy initiatives should be determined not by solely by politicians but rather in conjunction with the subject matter experts: a diverse group of teachers, administrators and parents whom know best how to succeed through meaningful, lasting reform.

Universal Healthcare Access: There is general recognition across the ideological spectrum that providing for healthy individuals and families is not only financially and socially valuable for our communities, but also morally imperative. While a lasting solution has yet to be implemented, the pursuit of ensuring each citizen has access to affordable healthcare must remain a top priority.

If elected, how will you govern with regards to your top 3 priorities? Briefly describe your positions on these issues.

The budget effects all aspects of governing, therefore solutions require more than soundbites and headlines to be appropriately thoughtful and not flippant. Resolving the budget will be a long process and require in depth review, many options, different perspectives, working and reworking until a comprehensive plan can be produced. Once in office I will govern with the understanding that each piece of legislation that could impact the financial well-being of our nation needs careful consideration and planning to avoid furthering the downward spiral but rather it should actively contribute to a sustainable financial future.

Many times, when complex issues and multiple jurisdictions overlap, politicians can’t point their fingers fast enough at the other parties to pass the blame on anything negative but still take all the credit for the positive. Education is no different: it is widely understood that something needs to change as it is clear we are not meeting the expectations we have set for ourselves as a nation, but local, state and federal bureaucracies have yet to work together. No one has yet stepped up to take ownership of their contribution nor lead any of their fellow contributors successfully. As a Congresswoman, my office will be about coalitions, uniting all the various levels of government and holding myself, my colleagues, and my state and local partners accountable to following through.

Healthcare must meet the unique needs of millions of people. Expecting that one answer can solve all of the healthcare issues is like expecting everyone to fit into the same size pants. Healthcare must address pre-existing conditions and be accessible by individuals, small business and large corporations alike. There should be a safety net to catch the least among us and it should never be a question of potentially choosing between your life and affording the care you need. There must be a balance between healthcare company profits and consumer protection from exorbitant prices. Once elected, I will unite all of these complex concerns to strike the right mix of options, protections and freedoms.

Rank the following topics in order of importance (1st being the most important):

Healthcare

Taxation

Education and Workforce Development

International Trade

Immigration Reform

Criminal Justice Reform

Transportation

Economic Development

Regulatory Stability and Certainty

What is your solution for the following economic competitiveness issues that impact Texas businesses?

Need for school finance reform

School Districts are continually stuck between needing additional funding for growing populations and costs and the unpopular choice of raising property taxes. To resolve the school finance concerns, consumer protective legislation and additional state funding should be utilized. Local governments should be limited to the percentage increase they may require from tax payers each year without a vote and the State must re-prioritize their budget to fill in where local and federal funds are lacking.

Need to compete with other states that offer tax  incentives to attract new projects and employers

For the purpose of driving increased business opportunities, as much as is fiscally responsible, the State of Texas should continue its current tax incentives as well as expand future offerings as feasible. Texas should capitalize on other markets and emulate successful best practices.

Need to save costs in the Texas Medicaid program by using managed care organizations to coordinate care and provide access to network providers

Utilizing managed care coordination should be an integral part of all healthcare providers, including Medicaid: it helps to identify potential coverage/service gaps, connect resources, increase efficiency, maintain engaged participants and keep them healthier, all working together to reduce overall costs.

Need for criminal justice reform to reduce the impact of non-violent, low level offenses on the Texas workforce to provide more skilled workers in needed occupations and improve the reintegration of ex-offenders into the workplace

The sentencing guidelines, mandatory minimums and historic trends of non-violent offenses should be reviewed routinely for effectiveness and potential alternation as needed. Re-entry of ex-offenders into the workforce to help fill skilled labor positions should be encouraged, collaborating with support agencies and businesses alike to bridge the divide between the recently released and general population.

Need to resolve issues that business owners impacted by Hurricane Harvey are experiencing with state and federal agencies

There is no excuse for state and federal agencies to not have properly responded to businesses over a year after Hurricane Harvey. There is also no excuse for not better preparing for the next eventual storm. Local, State and Federal representatives should all be pressuring and holding these groups accountable for inaction and then making plans to move forward with improved contingencies so they can be more readily implemented if needed.

What makes YOU the best candidate to represent the office for which you are running? 

What qualifies me over others for this position is my commitment to be a servant leader. As a representative, the least important person in the room is me; it is my job to work for my district, on behalf of my neighbors and keep their best interests in mind when creating and voting on legislation.

My office will be responsive, accountable, transparent, communicative, open-minded, compassionate and empathetic.

It is time for a commitment to dig deeper: we need representatives who will put aside party politics and work together to find the best options to move us all forward. Current candidates may promise over and over that they will 'play nice' but then run to their platforms without ever looking back once they've arrived in Washington.

-We need Congress to look like our nation.

-We need Congress to represent our nation, not a party or special interests.

-We need Congress to move past sound bites, headlines and grandstanding that serve only serve to get them re-elected.

-We need Congress to actually govern.

I chose to run and will work to transform the current, broken status quo by constructing the government each one of us deserves: a government owned by the people, working for the people.