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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Texas Senate, District 5

Primary Election: March 6, 2018Early Voting: February 20 - March 2, 2018
  • Brian E. Cronin (Dem)

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    Harold Ramm (Rep) Retired Superintendent of Schools

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    Charles Schwertner (Rep) State Senator, Orthopedic Surgeon

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    Meg Walsh (Dem) Senior Contract Manager

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    Glenn 'Grumpy' Williams (Dem) Attorney

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Biographical Information

What processes do you support to improve elections and voting in Texas?

Identify three measures you would support that reduce gun violence.

After publication of the 2020 census, new congressional, state and education districts will be redrawn. What process do you support to ensure fair representation?

What would you do to provide and fund an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?

What are your legislative priorities for the Texas environment? Discuss water management, renewable energy, and clean air.

What would you do to ensure healthcare for all Texans?

What other issue do you consider most important and how would you address it?

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Background 30+ years as a public school Superintendent; realtor with 30 years' experience managing and selling properties; veteran
Education B.S. in Education, Southwestern University; M.Ed., Our Lady of the Lake University; Ed.D Texas A&M University
My goal is to ensure that Texas voters can be confident that elections are run in compliance with Texas Voter ID law and are free from bias and fraud. I have always encouraged others to utilize their right to vote in order that their voice might be heard.
The infrastructure of the data base for background checks must be improved to ensure that all reporting agencies are linked and that the necessary information for a thorough check is reaching the point of sale.
I would work with other legislators to ensure that districts are drawn in such a way that all Texans have fair representation. Districts should be drawn up logically with an emphasis on equal populations that do not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity. Districts should maintain contiguity (being physically adjacent), compactness, and reflect a community of interest or local adhesiveness.
I believe public schools are the foundation of democracy, and we must support teachers and school districts by renovating the inequitable and inadequate school finance formula, reducing the scope and impact of standardized testing, and increasing teacher autonomy in the classroom.
Funding for our Texas infrastructure, such as water and transportation, must be given precedence by the legislature. This is done by prioritizing spending and streamlining costs whenever possible.
I want to ensure that all Texans have options to purchase health insurance across state lines. I support efforts to ensure that insurance costs are affordable for all Texans, including retired Texas educators.
I would work to provide meaningful property tax reform by slowing the growth of property taxes and providing impartial oversight and affording transparency in the process. The legislature must increase the capacity of mental health services to assist law enforcement by boosting the services for children identified with mental disabilities, speeding up the process and effectiveness of mental health services, and providing additional support for law officials in dealing with the mentally ill. I believe that Texas is strong when we delegate control and resources at the most local level.
Background Sixth-generation Texan who has served in the Texas Senate since 2013. Practicing surgeon residing in Georgetown with wife Belinda and their 3 sons.
Education BS, Pharmacy, University of Texas (1992);MD, Magna Cum Laude, UT-Medical Branch (1997)
The right to vote is foundational to our democracy. Our republic works best with an active and engaged citizenry that has faith in their electoral process to accurately reflect their views and values at the ballot box. That’s why it’s so important that we take reasonable, commonsense measures to ensure the integrity of our electoral process, such as asking citizens to present a simple photo ID when casting their ballot.
Every act of gun violence is a tragedy. But as a constitutional conservative, I don’t believe the solution to this problem is to shred the Bill of Rights or further infringe upon our Second Amendment. Rather than limiting gun rights, we should be focused on the kind of real solutions that have the potential to actually reduce mass shootings, suicides, and other gun-related tragedies. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, I’ve worked to increase funding and resources for our state’s mental health system, particularly for our veterans and others struggling with PTSD.
Redrawing congressional and legislative districts to ensure that each Texan receives equal representation is an important responsibility that I take very seriously.

There is a host of laws and other legal precedents that dictate how these districts can be drawn, including a preference for compactness and for preserving communities of interest. Several court cases relevant to the redistricting process are being litigated as we speak, so when the legislature takes up redistricting in 2021, it will obviously do so under whatever legal framework exists at that time.
Sooner or later, the legislature will have to revisit the question of how we manage our state’s school finance system. A key part of that discussion involves directing a greater share of the money we spend on public schools towards actually educating students in the classroom, rather than on administration and educational bureaucracy. I welcome the challenge and will work to ensure that any new school finance system will more fairly and efficiently fund our public education system without negatively impacting the schools or taxpayers I represent in Senate District 5.
Texas needs to continue pursuing a forward-thinking, “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that includes natural gas, wind power, solar power, cleaner-coal technologies, and hydroelectric power. Texas was actually an early adopter of wind power, which now provides 15% of the state’s electricity and is projected to surpass coal-fired energy sources by 2020. I also supported funding the implementation of the State Water Plan in 2013; a program that has since spent over $5.6 billion on local water resource development projects to ensure clean and dependable water for generations to come.
Our healthcare system is too costly and inefficient, and Obamacare has only made things worse. We need a healthcare system that puts patients back in charge of their own health...a system built more around the principles of personal responsibility than the dictates of a central government. Getting government out of the business of healthcare is the only way to actually increase coverage options, lower premiums, and ultimately cover more Texans. Patients should have the freedom to choose the physician they want, the treatment they want, and the health coverage that makes sense for their family.
Next session, the Texas Legislature needs to enact real property tax reform to keep our fellow Texans from being taxed out of their homes.

We also need to remain vigilant in the fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking. During my time in the Texas Senate, I’ve authored legislation to require the use of E-Verify for state employees and voted to outlaw sanctuary city policies that prevent law enforcement from deporting dangerous criminals.
Background Experienced, proven advocate for women. Finance and energy professional. 2008 Williamson County Volunteer of the Year Volunteer of the Year.
Education University of Massachusetts BS in Retail Marketing with a Concentration in Business.
All efforts must be taken to ensure that voting is readily accessible to our citizens. Some voters in SD 5 must drive 30 miles each way to vote, disproportionately affecting racial and economic minorities. We must expand polling locations in rural communities and work to uphold voting rights.
I would start with an area where we have strong bipartisan support - background checks. .When done correctly, background checks have resulted in a 47% reduction of women who are shot to death by intimate partners, a 48% reduction in illegal gun trafficking, and a 53% reduction in gun deaths against law enforcement officers. We must eliminate major loopholes in the law which make background checks much less effective. We must also eliminate – or at the very least - tightly regulate the transfer and possession of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines.
Any redistricting effort must ensure that every citizen is given fair and equal representation in Texas. All people across social, cultural, racial, and economic lines must have the opportunity to participate in the process of redistricting on a non-partisan basis. As such, a process as critical as redistricting should be handled by a non-partisan committee of citizens who are committed to fair and equal representation. We should look at states with the least amount of gerrymandering and take into consideration the recommendations of the special master who has been appointed in North Carolina.
In 2011 the State's share of funding for education was 45%. This has been decreased to 38%, leaving us 38th in the nation for school funding and 20% below the national average. Our children deserve better. We should immediately reinstate the state’s funding share back to 2011 levels and guarantee that the state’s contribution will go up over time, bringing us above national average within five years, where our children deserve to be. I would work to reinstate the previously cut $2.5 billion of franchise taxes which were cut by the State and allocate that towards our schools.
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The use of green energy in state buildings and vehicles must be a priority, and we must provide incentives for large businesses that also use renewable energy. . Further, I would advocate for state and local governments to maintain our previous position under the Paris Agreement, protect our aquifers against detrimental development, and invest in energy storage for the Texas grid which will make wind and solar more viable technologies.
Political differences should never put Texans at a medical disadvantage. Across the state, medically fragile children enrolled in the Texas STAR Kids program have experienced unnecessary and dangerous delays in necessary medical care they are entitled to; Our Texas Legislature recently cut $350 million in Medicaid funding for speech, physical, and occupational therapy. We must address the inadequacies in both of these programs, and make all federal, Medicaid, and CHIP funding available to all Texans in need. Texas must reinstate the funding for 160,000 women for family planning and health care
I believe a society can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. There are few groups more vulnerable than children who have been mistreated by those whom they trust the most. In the last legislative session, our lawmakers injected a much-needed infusion of dollars into the system to hire additional caseworkers, and strengthened oversight of foster care facilities. The work is far from finished, however, and we must continue to monitor the system closely to ensure that vulnerable children in foster care are not being re-traumatized in hastily-recruited homes and residential facilities.
Background Attorney with 42 years experience (40 in public sector with last 28 as CPS attorney, married with 2 children. Wife is functional life skills teacher.
Education B.A. in Government - University of Texas 1973 J.D. UT Law School 1976
Implementation of physical fitness voucher program in which voucher is combined with voter registration card resembling current driver's license in which photo ID on card. It will provide an incentive for individuals to register to vote - see website for details.
insure conviction data entered into NCIC providing penalties for agencies that don't comply. establish mandatory cooling off period for all gun sales outlaw individual purchase of guns that can be converted into automatic weapons
Establish nonpartisan commission with set guidelines (i.e. establish minimum width of district thus eliminating districts resembling birds or sea monsters.)
Increase state share of funding by restoring taxes cut in 2015 recognizing that those cuts were part of a different time (i.e. higher oil and gas income and pre-Harvey destruction)

insure that property taxes are fairly assessed by developing unit in Attorney General's office skilled at defending appraisals. (currently local entities are not equipped to battle company that challenges their appraisal). With districts not capturing their share of property tax revenues children are not being equitably treated across the state.
Increase incentives for programs that promote renewable energy, outlaw fracking, establish legislation allowing individual citizens to sue companies that pollute the environment.
Expand Medicaid, restore Medicaid rates for special needs children, establish physical fitness voucher. (see website)
Our protection of our vulnerable citizens must be strengthened by engaging all Texans though establishing an elected vulnerable citizens commissioner and abandoning legislation establishing a two year term and senate confirmation of DFPS commissioner. We need to abandon the potentially disastrous privatization of conservatorship function of child protective services. (see website for details)