B.S. from Trinity University
J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law
Lambda Legal Leadership Committee (‘16-17), President/American Business Women’s Assoc. (‘13-14), Board of Trustees/SBMEF Foundation (‘11-14), Co-Chair/DFW Human Rights Steering Committee (‘10), Chair/NTX GLBT Chamber of Commerce Board of Dir. (‘08)
We need to have options for those who are here illegally and who have demonstrated that they are willing to comply with our laws. When we give these folks a pathway to citizenship instead of creating a system that forces them to hide from authority, we also hold them accountable to the laws of our communities and the economic responsibilities that come with American citizenship. We need legislation to create a permanent fix for roughly 800,000 Dreamers and DACA recipients and to grant amnesty to those who have not committed a violent offense.
To help improve the visa backlog for family members and skilled professionals attempting to enter the country, I would support initiatives to expand the U.S. Immigration Courts’ handling of these cases. Because these courts are also responsible for overseeing deportation cases, we should reduce the practice of separating law-abiding, working immigrants from their families. This will likely improve the current wait times for visa applicants.
Diplomacy should always be our first response. It is our duty to those who serve in our nation’s military to be sure that we pursue peaceful avenues for negotiation before we ask them to risk their lives. Engaging our troops in foreign conflict should always be a last resort.
For too long, the U.S. has intervened in foreign governments and attempted to police other countries. Our constitution states that only Congress has the power to declare war. Our Congress needs to be reminded of their responsibility to balance the power of the President and establish firmer guidelines for engaging in conflict with other countries. Congress should seek help from top-ranking officials of the armed services in order to create these guidelines.
The U.S. should, of course, intervene in cases of a direct threat to the security of our nation and consider military action in cases of human rights violations defined by NATO - in which our allies also agree to take action.
If we want to support the middle and lower classes, we need to invest in policies which will directly impact them. Education is the great equalizer in our nation. By opposing the voucher system and providing greater financial support to our public schools, we can create expanded opportunities for individuals to experience mobility in their economic position. We can also ease the burden on low-income and middle-class families by providing access to affordable healthcare, so no American is forced to choose between paying their medical bills and paying their rent.
As National President of the American Business Women’s Association (2013-2014), I advocated for equal pay for women, particularly for women of color who face the greatest wage disparity. To allow us to close this gap, employers must be more transparent with their wages, and our government needs to hold businesses that are taking part in unequal payment based on gender, race, or parental status accountable for their actions.
Visibility and accountability will be the foundations of my role as a representative. I intend to build local coalitions, bringing together diverse segments of our community to engage in conversation, find common values, and work together toward solutions. No group lives in a vacuum. In order to resolve conflicts, we must first understand and respect one another. We must talk to each other, even if we do not agree on an issue. Often, when I collaborate with others, I find that their ideas to achieve a goal are better than my own.
I will hold town hall meetings. I do not intend to be the voice for my constituents, but rather to provide them a voice. For many in our community, it has been many years since they had the opportunity to share their concerns with their Congressional representative. I am prepared to work with everyone, regardless of their political affiliation, to ensure that the decisions I make in Congress are informed by the needs of the people.
I oppose a full repeal of all provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is far from perfect, but we should work to improve our current system rather than scrapping it and throwing the insurance market into chaos. For instance, we should continue to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions. Instead of defunding and dismantling Medicaid and Medicare, we should be expanding these programs. Our eventual goal should be to provide affordable health care coverage to all citizens. A single-payer healthcare system is possible in the United States, but this is not a change that Congress can reasonably make overnight. If we are going to build a long-term solution for healthcare in our country, we need to do so cautiously so that we are left with a system that works for everyone.
For legislation currently in the House, I would support H.B. 676. I also support S.B.1804.
Congress needs to approve long-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. Roughly 400,000 Texas children and their families rely on CHIP for healthcare services.
Areas impacted by widespread natural disasters, from hurricanes in the Gulf to wildfires in California, continue to need support. The aid that Congress has provided so far is inadequate to rebuild the communities that are still recovering.
We need a long-term legislative solution for DACA, and a path to citizenship for the almost 800,000 Dreamers in our country.
Campaign finance reform needs to be a priority. We cannot expect our representatives to work for us while they cater to Super PACs and special interests.
Voting rights must be addressed so that all U.S. citizens have a voice. States like North Carolina and Texas need to end the practice of gerrymandering, which systematically discriminates against people of color.
Our leaders must oppose school vouchers, and strengthen our funding for public schools.
University of Texas at Austin: BA, Government; South Texas College of Law - Houston: Doctor of Jurisprudence
Anti-Defamation League – Board of Directors; Executive Committee; Co-Chair of Education Committee; Glass Leadership Institute Graduate and Co-Chair; Leadership 20/20 Committee; FBI - Citizens Academy Graduate
Law School Young Alumni Council
Immigration is an issue that is very personal to me – one that very directly and inexorably impacts my family. US immigration policy must have three main focuses: (i) keeping families in our communities together, (ii) helping immigrants remain self-sufficient and contributing to society and the economy, and (iii) preserving national security.
Dreamers and other law-abiding undocumented immigrants should have access to an expedited work visa-to-citizenship program so these people who are Americans, regardless of where they were born, can work, help their families thrive, keep paying taxes and contributing to American culture.
The US also needs to overhaul its system of governance and logistics for processing immigration requests, working with all communities, various industries, and even other nations to develop a faster, less costly, and more efficient system that still achieves security while protecting humanitarian concerns.
In my Law of Armed Conflict class in law school, I studied extensively the incalculable factors that go into the decision to engage in armed conflict, as well as the potential fallout of such a decision. To put American lives at risk in military action must be a decision made only to advance the security of freedom and liberty here at home in the US. This may have broad application – either a reactive response or a long-term plan to ensure stability elsewhere in the world for the ultimate benefit and security of the US. However, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As such, America must also act under the right circumstances to secure for others safety and freedom from crimes against humanity. Indeed, doing so makes the US more secure from external and internal threats. Where we see atrocities being committed against innocents and we have the ability to help them, I believe we have a calling to do so.
Our tax code is an important reflection of our priorities as a country, and we must continue to use tax incentives to propel Americans to achieve in education, entrepreneurship, and charitable giving. When our families and workers are thriving – when they have full bellies and roofs over their heads – they are able to volunteer, to innovate, and to support the economy. Thus, I support policies such as increasing the minimum wage, assuring family leave, and public pre-k to give American families the flexibility to succeed financially. I believe we benefit economically when our legislators focus on collaborators with workers, labor unions, and businesses to ensure that employees – the backbone of our economy – are able to take care of themselves and their families. In sum, I support policies that protect employees, ensure a healthy, thriving middle class, and allow Americans to better their situations in a way that is meaningful to them.
Representatives must remain a part of their districts if they are to be able to represent their constituents well. In addition to participating in town halls, I will have regular office hours – like a high school teach or college professor – back in the district office, to allow voters to come in any time during office hours to meet with me to discuss issue on their minds. I believe having a direct line of communication with the various communities in the district is crucial, and as a representative, I would continue to participate in and learn about all the various subgroups in our district, to ensure I’ve taken all voices into account when examining a given piece of legislation. Finally, I will keep my house in Plano as my home, returning from Washington as often as possible not only because it is home, but to ensure I remain in touch with the people and places I represent.
A healthy citizenry is a productive citizenry. Americans must have the ability to decide with their physician what medical care they need. Congress must reign in health insurance companies and the unabashed labyrinths they call their contracts. Much like antitrust and deceptive trade legislation, the health care discussion needs to move on to protecting Americans from paying exorbitant premiums, stopping health insurance companies from getting involved in health care decisions, and prohibiting pharmaceutical companies from pricing medications beyond the reach of Americans who need them. Moreover, women’s health must not be allowed to play second fiddle to men’s health. Too many medications and medical & hygiene products are either not covered by health insurance or are taxed, essentially penalizing women for being women. Health care is indeed a right, and it is high time America treats its citizens as deserving of this common dignity.
I believe voting rights will be pressing in the next session of Congress, especially after the 2018 general election. The Voting Rights Act is due to be augmented. It is time to establish of a non-partisan commission to draw district lines for any Federal election. Part of the commission’s enabling legislation must also include mandates and limits for the dimensions and shapes of any districts, and also make the commission available at States’ request to draw state-level district lines. Congress must also develop establish stronger penalties for voter suppression, make reporting such suppression easier and centralized, and Congress should enact common-sense, modern voter registration procedures and voting access. I also expect that the time will soon come for Congress to address the crushing student loan crisis that is holding back families of all ages. I will fight for practical solutions that ease these burdens while keeping borrowers responsible for repayment.