The rising cost of healthcare is on the minds of an increasing number of Texans. I believe that every American ought to have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. In the richest country on the planet, there is no reason why our citizens should be forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying for a medical procedure or prescription.
We had an opportunity to do something meaningful about healthcare in our state, but, rather than pass a budget amendment that would have expanded Medicaid to cover more people, the GOP majority in the State House refused. They’ve instead decided to leave billions of dollars on the table – money that could be making a real difference to everyday Texans. Inaction on an issue this important is unacceptable, and it’s why I’m fighting to hold them accountable.
We must fight for Medicaid Expansion to reduce cost and expand access across Texas – and I won’t stop fighting until that’s a reality.
The Texas State Legislature has made important progress in efforts to reform the way Texas schools are funded, but we still have work to do.
We must ensure that the gains we achieved in our most recent session can be funded in a sustained way. We must also change the paradigm around standardized testing and evaluation systems – which is why I’m pushing for important reforms to be made to STAAR exams.
Funding a high-quality education system for our children is a top priority of mine. We need to evaluate our corporate tax structure and close corporate loopholes that drain our state’s revenue to the detriment of critical areas like education funding.
Finally, education professionals are the backbone of our education system. It’s time to give them a much-needed raise – our teachers, support staff, and hard-working administrators. We must also ensure that retired teachers are given the benefits and protections they deserve.
If we make sensible, appropriate changes based on facts and data, we can guarantee a high-quality education for our children, reduce cost to tax-payers, and support the men and women who shape the minds of tomorrow’s leaders.
Criminal Justice Reform
The inequities in our criminal justice system are serious and systemic challenge that we must confront with conviction and pragmatism. From the conduct of police officers to uneven sentencing to the for-profit prison model, critical changes are needed to ensure that all Americans are viewed equally in the eyes of the law.
There are concrete actions we can take now that I continue to fight for in Austin – like reforming our state bail system and strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve through deescalation training and community policing initiatives.
I support the Second Amendment. I also believe that there exists no conflict between the the basic rights of gun owners and common-sense gun reform. Republicans and the NRA have pushed a false narrative around this issue for years and I find it irresponsible. This isn’t about a gun manufacturer’s bottom line – it’s about the safety of our communities.
In the face of breathtaking gun violence in communities around the country, we must act on common-sense reform immediately. We need to strengthen our background check system and close loopholes that allow some gun sales to happen without even cursory check into whether or not an individual should own a guns.
No Texan wants someone with mental problems or individuals with a demonstrated history of domestic violence to get their hands on a firearm. Nor should we allow for the sale of weapons intended for use as instruments of war. Our policies must reflect that.
From getting Hwy. 290 completed to improving our flood recovery and flood mitigation efforts, Harris County has vital infrastructure projects that we need to move forward on.
To accelerate progress, I believe that we must implement an incentive system for road construction, similar to what Mayor Bill White used so effectively with road renovations in our downtown area. We should reward contractors for finishing projects early, not delaying them unnecessarily.
Texas is uniquely position to lead a Clean Energy Revolution. Our leadership won’t just result in improving our environment and fighting climate change, although that remains a top concern of mine.
But this also has a clear economic benefit. As the oil and gas industry contracts, more and more energy jobs will be tied directly to Clean Energy. That’s why it’s important to encourage commercial growth by incentivizing clean energy and pushing for more environmentally friendly business practices in Texas.
We’ve always been an energy leader here in Houston, and that shouldn’t be any different now. We have the technological know-how, skilled workers, high-quality professionals, and terrific facilities – so let’s re-position ourselves as the innovative and productive force we know we can be.