Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

U.S. House, District 25

Primary Election: March 6, 2018Early Voting: February 20 - March 2, 2018
  • Candidate picture

    West Hansen (Dem) I am a Licensed Social Worker in my family business advocating for seniors and disabled people residing in their homes. I specialize in Medicare, Medicaid, Teacher's Retirement and other healthcare.

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    Julie Oliver (Dem) Attorney who works in healthcare finance

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    Chetan Panda (Dem) Portfolio Manager

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    Chris Perri (Dem) Attorney

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    Kathi Thomas (Dem) Special Event Designer & Planner

  • Roger Williams (Rep)

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

Explain your position on immigration to the U.S. Please address DACA, a pathway to citizenship, and border security.

What would you do to ensure affordable healthcare access for all citizens?

Identify three measures you would support that reduce gun violence.

What policies would you pursue to address safety and inequalities facing women and people of color?

Do you believe the government has a role in reducing student debt? Why or why not?

What are your legislative priorities for responding to our changing climate?

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

Background Nat Geo Amazon River explorer, 20 years in reg/state gov't. Award winning Social Wkr, small biz owner, wrote laws, auditor/investigator, husband/dad
Education BS in Psychology, SWTSU Licensed Social Worker Cert. Dispute Resolution Counselor Taught CNU in RN School at Lamar University
A border is more than a barrier. Its also a shared space.

Hard working people simply looking for a better life are systematically persecuted along racial lines. The process to legally immigrate is unduly expensive and bureaucratic, unless the immigrant is wealthy.

With an employment rate below 4%, including millions of immigrant workers, we need compassionate immigration reform that doesn’t burden our system and recognizes the civil rights of people who have called America home most of their lives. DACA needs to be codified into law and we need to de-criminalize workers and their employers.
Medicare for all is a laudable goal, but unlikely to pass without a systematic plan. By offering Medicare as an option for one or two demographic groups at a time, then incrementally lowering the age for eligible recipients, the system can evolve and adjust to the larger roles and funding can be adjusted accordingly. First, I'll work to offer Medicare to rural veterans who live far from VA clinics, then to teachers. The funding for these groups is already drafted and can be shifted. I will also work to immediately expand and fund Medicaid and eventually roll recipients into Medicare.
Eliminate the “boyfriend loophole” in the Lautenberg Amendment and amend the law to restrict possession of firearms instead of merely restricting the purchase of firearms. Also, the specific law should give discretion to the judge or magistrate to order law enforcement agents to confiscate any firearms from the home of the adjudicated, while the person is in custody at the courthouse.

Overhaul the national online database system to include violent offenders, cross-referenced with gun ownership and histories of threats/violence.

Eliminate the “gun show loophole” for firearm purchases.
Eliminate unconstitutional mandatory arbitration and non-disclosure agreements employees must sign in order to be hired by Congress or any other business or organization. I support Sen. Gillibrand's measure to eliminate rules in Congress that exempt elected officials from laws designed to protect sexual predators and discrimination based upon race, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, gender identity and age. I will work to eliminate barriers that prevent women and people of color from attaining all the opportunities in our country, afforded to those more privileged.
Deregulation of college tuition, combined with violations of anti-trust laws have done away with affordable college education for average-income American families. Public, and many private, universities cooperate with predatory lending practices to sidestep the legal responsibility as non-profit organizations for providing an affordable higher education. Coaches are paid millions and universities invest in oil companies, making huge profits, all the while raising student fees and tuitions.

Tuition regulation should be reinstated and colleges investigated for anti-trust violations.
As a U.S. Congressman, I’ll work to get our country back into the Paris Agreement and develop plans to offer financial and tax incentives to companies that provide real, measureable approaches that drastically reduce our carbon footprint and emissions. I'll work to restore the EPA and all other environmental protection agencies decimated by the current administration. As a National Geographic explorer, I conducted an environmental study of the entire 4200 miles of the Amazon River, with the Pacific Biodiversity Project and for 5 years led 2 clean ups per year for the 90 mile San Marcos River.
Patients should not have to undergo medically unnecessary procedures (like sonograms), medically unnecessary delays, and listen to a politically-based diatribe in order to receive legal medical treatment. I will introduce legislation to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which at its base is a violation of equal rights and socioeconomically discriminatory. I will also introduce legislation to amend the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to include a section on equal rights. Women should be given the same rights as men, when determining their own paths to treatment.
Background Former teen Medicaid mom who put herself through college and law school; attorney with background in taxation and healthcare finance
Education B.B.A, University of Texas at Arlington (Summa Cum Laude); J.D., University of Texas Austin
My positions entail: Ending family detention and closing private immigration detention centers; Preventing ICE from contracting with for-profit prison corporations; Crafting bills that explicitly create policies calling for detaining and deporting only those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety and that ensure that refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. have a fair chance to tell their stories; Protecting the DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs; Expanding eligibility to new categories which includes creating a route to citizenship through employment
We must stabilize the ACA by reenacting the individual mandate, and we must reestablish cost-sharing subsidies to the markets so that every Texan has an opportunity to have healthcare coverage. A universal healthcare system is the only way to ensure that everyone who needs to see a doctor get to, and the government is the only payer that has the leverage to negotiate with healthcare companies, prescription drug companies, and medical device producers. Moving to this model would bring immediate healthcare savings of 10%. It’s good for businesses as it lowers their costs.
1. Overturning the Dickey Amendment, which prevents the CDC from funding research into firearm injuries and deaths; 2. Requiring universal background checks and universal licensing requirements; 3. Closing the “boyfriend loophole” so that anyone who commits acts of domestic violence cannot purchase firearms (as well as preventing gun sales to people with prior violent-crime convictions or to those who have been adjudicated as mentally defective or have been committed to any mental institution).
Ensuring that black women through good preventive healthcare have access to education about pelvic floor disorders, breast cancer, and hypertension, good pre- and postnatal care, screening for pre-existing conditions, and care for chronic conditions; Ending ideologically motivated attacks on women’s reproductive health and Planned Parenthood, which negatively impacts low-income women seeking birth control and preventive care; Addressing gender pay inequality by amending the Equal Pay Act so that it is enforceable; Ending the federal prohibition on marijuana; Instituting aggressive bail reform.
Yes, an educated society is an advanced society. That is why I am in favor of the following: Allowing every student from a family making up to $85,000/year to attend an in-state four-year public college or university without paying tuition; Allowing borrowers to be able to refinance loans at favorable rates not to exceed 2% and providing debt relief to an estimated 25 million people; Allowing graduate students the opportunity to receive tax-free tuition remission in exchange for research or college-work opportunities to avoid acquiring student debt.
Ensure that Congress funds the EPA and the NOAA so that they can provide necessary climate science research and that these institutions remain independent; Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord; Impose a carbon-fee-and-dividend with an initial fee of $15/ton on the CO2 equivalent emissions of fossil fuels and annual escalations imposed upstream at the mine, well or port of entry; Invest in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce development to make our economy more competitive with good-paying jobs and careers; Amend the tax code to encourage renewable energy investment.
We have to get corrupt dark money out of our elections. So I plan to: file or support bills that require any 501(c) entity spending on *any* political activity that mentions a federal candidate or that's intended to influence an election to be disclosed; taxing the political activities of 501(c) entities that spend beyond a certain threshold on political activities; oppose any and all attempts to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which restricts 501(c)(3) tax-deductible organizations from engaging in political activity.
Background I am a first-generation American and an Austinite. I was a leader at a mutual fund company; I worked to protect and grow retirement savings.
Education I attended the London School of Economics and Georgetown University, where I graduated with a degree in International Economics.
Our current immigration system is outdated, inefficient, and encourages undocumented immigration. I would fix our legal immigration system, so it improves our economy and security. I support the passage of a clean DACA bill. I would also create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the US if they meet certain criteria. Regarding border security, we should employ a strategy grounded in technology specific to each border area. Furthermore, we should also partner with our southern neighbors to fight criminal organizations operating in their countries.
I will work towards Medicare-for-All so we can have quality, affordable healthcare for every single American. To effectively and smoothly transition 20% of our economy to such a system, I support creating a government subsidized healthcare plan that employers and individuals can buy into. Simultaneously, I want to cut the cost of healthcare by eliminating redundancies, lowering the price of pharmaceutical drugs, and mandating price/quality transparency by healthcare providers.
We must balance individual freedoms with general safety. First, I support comprehensive background checks and ensuring that information is properly reported into the background check system. In recent mass shootings, information that would have prevented the gun sale was missing. Second, because 60% of all gun deaths are suicides, I support expanding mental health resources. Lastly, I support ending the sale of bump stocks and other similar accessories.
From an economic perspective: (1) improve access to capital/training to aid business formation; (2) pass the Paycheck Fairness Act; and (3) expand parental leave. From a health perspective: (1) improve access to family planning services, community health clinics, and healthy food; and (2) reduce the maternal mortality rate. From a public safety perspective: (1) pursue criminal justice reform; (2) reform police-community relations; (3) legalize marijuana; (4) combat sexual assault with consent-based education; and (5) combat sexual harassment by changing anti-discrimination/arbitration law.
Government has a role in reducing student debt because there are negative socioeconomic implications. The student loan burden is causing young people to delay marriage and homeownership and reduce investment and spending. To lower student debt loads, I want to (1) shift to income-based repayment and allow for longer repayment periods; (2) increase funding for Pell Grants; (3) hold colleges accountable for graduating students on time and with good paying jobs; (4) allow student loans to be refinanced at cheaper rates; and (5) modify the bankruptcy code to allow student debt to be discharged.
To combat climate change, we must address energy production and usage. Regarding energy production, I want to: (1) build solar and wind farms in the district; (2) increase tax incentives for businesses/individuals to install solar panels; (3) invest in clean energy R&D; and (4) pay for these investments with a tax on harmful greenhouse gasses. Regarding energy usage, I want to weatherize buildings, improve electricity efficiency, and increase fuel efficiency standards. Lastly, I support fully funding the EPA and allowing it to enforce existing environmental regulations.
I want to invest in education so people are prepared for a 21st century economy. I want to fund universal pre-K, so our children are prepared for further education. I will support public schools by increasing funding for teacher training/ technology and low-income students. I also support investing in vocational education by: (1) expanding the definition of vocation to include 21st century skills like coding; (2) incentivizing businesses to partner with vocational schools to develop curriculums and offer apprenticeships; and (3) expanding financial aid for vocational education.
Background As a criminal defense attorney in Austin, I tirelessly fight to uphold the Constitution, by defending Texans of all backgrounds and beliefs.
Education M.A. (economics), University of Illinois-Chicago (2009); J.D., University of Texas School of Law (2005); B.A., Southwestern University (2002)
We have a moral duty to pass a Clean DREAM Act, and it’s also good for our economy, enhancing our social safety net and filling a labor shortage in many markets. Moreover, I believe that we need comprehensive reform of our immigration system so that there is a reasonable, certain pathway to citizenship. It’s unconscionable that people have to wait 10-20 years for their immigration applications to be processed. Regarding border security, I'm against a wall because it's both ineffective and a symbol of isolationism. Mobile surveillance technology is cheaper and more effective.
I support Medicare-for-All. Health is freedom. As a child, I often heard my mother and father (both health professionals) discuss patients who died from afflictions that could have been prevented with timely care, but they didn’t seek such preventative care due to a lack of adequate health insurance. Despite the ACA, millions of Americans remain uninsured. Medicare-for-All is the best solution for delivering universal health care. For-profit, private insurance companies have led to soaring costs, and the answer is to remove the for-profit motive from the health insurance industry.
1. Repeal the Dickey Amendment, which prevents the CDC from using federal funds to study gun-violence solutions. Without data, how can we craft the best policy solutions? 2. Remove the boyfriend loophole: Domestic abusers can still possess firearms under federal law if they never cohabited with the victim or had children together. Domestic violence is often a precursor to gun violence. 3. Repeal the gun-show loophole: Through advances in technology, criminal background checks can be conducted almost instantaneously. There's no longer a reason to exempt gun shows from conducting these checks.
Fighting for freedom and equality has been my life’s work. Medicare-for-All is essential for addressing the assault on women's health. Investing in education is important to help uplift people of color so that they have access to the skills needed for well-paying jobs. Further, gender and racial pay gaps are a huge problem, and I propose auditing companies to ensure pay equality. If there is not equality, then the companies must offer a race and gender neutral explanation that's supported by objective data. Criminal justice reform is necessary to address systemic racism and mass incarceration.
The government has a role in reducing student debt because education is an investment in our future. For our country to thrive, we must reduce income inequality, and education is essential in this process. It's unconscionable that people often graduate college with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and private banks are profiting off of this debt. The government should subsidize student loans so that the real interest rate is zero, along with forgiving student loans for people who work in underserved communities after graduation. This plan will help revitalize struggling rural areas.
1. Carbon Tax and Dividend in order to encourage corporations to reduce their polluting emissions and develop cleaner technologies. This tax should also apply to any type of pollution, including pollution of waterways. 2. Revive the Public Works Administration to invest in renewable energy infrastructure projects, such as solar and wind. 3. Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. In fact, we should strengthen the agreement and encourage the world to move to 100% renewable energy as fast as possible. 4. Subsidize the installation of solar panels in homes and businesses (also helps conserve water).
As long as Congress puts donors before voters and profits before people, any progressive policy advances can be undone. Thus, we must reform the electoral process through campaign finance reform and ending partisan gerrymandering. Only by restoring our government’s loyalty to the people can we achieve the policies needed for society to thrive and ensure that no one falls through the cracks. Further, corporate interests have hijacked our democracy, yet our government does nothing to prevent mega-mergers. Strengthening our anti-trust enforcement is essential to combat the corporate takeover.
Background former pct chair, volunteer on campaigns, advocate for public education & social justice in community Own small event design/plan business
Education Bachelor of Music, University of Texas Austin Public school grades 1-12 in Woodville, TX
Pass clean DACA bill now, followed by Dreamers Act. Don’t need a wall. All workers need to be treated with fairness and dignity. Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), so employers will be less likely to mistreat workers. USA needs a pathway to citizenship for those who have lived here and have been contributors to our society and economy. We need workers’ permits, so people can come and go for jobs as needed. CIR brings more secure borders. Legal worker crossing focuses Border Patrol on undocumented as potential traffickers. Modernize drug laws to reduce illegal drug profit for cartels.
1. Protect & improve the ACA for short term. 2. Move to a Medicare-for-All system with an “opt in” methodology. E.g., start with age 55 for optional buy in, then phase in with expanded age brackets (e.g., 50, 45…) every year or two until everyone is eligible. This plan gives Medicare time to ramp up and insurance companies time to refocus their business. 3. Ultimate goal is Universal Healthcare, paid for through payroll deductions on working Americans, like Social Security.
1. Remind people most gun deaths are suicides, and work to bring those down by encouraging use of trigger locks, lock boxes, gun safes, etc. 2. Ban weapons of war, including semi-automatic weapons, armor-piercing bullets and bump-stocks 3. Better enforcement and strengthening the Lautenberg Act by removing guns from all those who have restraining orders on them for domestic violence. Broaden the definition of “domestic” to include nonmarried relationships.
1. Work to make it easier for women to run for office so can elect more women to government at all levels. 2. Recruit more police from communities of color, and provide more training for all police in the art of de-escalating situations 3. Work to broaden voting rights for people by enacting legislation to stop voter suppression, which disproportionally affects women and people of color. 4. Increase diversity education in schools re: people who are different, so that all are accepted 5. Ensure translators for non-English speaking people for all governmental entities, also for hospitals
Yes, gov should play a role in reducing student debt. Government has shirked its role in funding higher education, which has driven up the cost of higher education. Grads with federal student loans should be permitted a pay-back schedule based on income. Student loans shouldn’t be profit center. I support programs that write off loans for graduates who take public service jobs (for specified time periods) in under-served areas—a GI Bill for “other” service to our nation (e.g., teachers, public health and social workers, nurses, law enforcement, and others.)
1. Move current fossil fuel subsidies to renewables. 2. Provide additional incentives (tax credits, etc.) for people moving to hybrid vehicles, installing solar panels, outfitting properties for rainwater harvesting, etc. 3. Mandate all new gov bld have solar panels & rainwater harvesting 4. Focus on education for reducing, reusing, and recycling. 5. Put more R&D into thorium reactors an alternative to current nuclear-fueled plants. Initial research shows that thorium consumes 95% of its own waste, so byproducts need dramatically less storage and waste cannot be converted to weapons use.
If only 1 issue, then is the redistricting process. I also believe we need to overturn Citizens United, but will speak re: redistricting: I’ll support a bill that that ensures fair and equitable redistricting by states while eliminating methodologies that enable candidates to choose voters instead of the other way around. This can be done with incentives (a la changing drinking age to 21.) Without this, I believe our democracy is doomed

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