Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

U.S. House, District 31

Primary Election: March 6, 2018Early Voting: February 20 - March 2, 2018
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • John Carter (Rep)

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    Mike Clark (Dem) Geospatial Technology Expert

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    Mary Jennings 'MJ' Hegar (Dem) Public Speaker, MBA

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    Kent Lester (Dem) Retired Army Officer and Educator

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    Christine Eady Mann (Dem) Physician

  • Mike Sweeney (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?

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Background 2nd Vice Chair, Williamson County Democratic Party; Precinct Chair, Williamson County Democratic Party ; Chair Candidate Recruitment Committee, WCDP;
Education Master's, Stephen F Austin; Bachelor's, University of Texas
Passing immigration reform should be a priority if we are to ensure a healthy American culture. Immigrants add value to our American culture, they do not dilute it! Cities with high immigrant populations have the highest economic growth and the lowest crime rates. Our immigration quota and regulations are antiquated and out of touch. We must pass the DREAM act that will help lay the pathway for minors whose hearts and souls are already Americans! If you are on DACA, you deserve to be an American citizen. 12th century walls have no place in border security and should remain in the past!
Our nation’s future depends affordable access to health care. Let’s ensure that health care is a right for all and that Medicare is available to everyone! Controlling cost at all levels will be effective and efficient. Medicaid must be available in all 50 states so that are most vulnerable are taken care of, as well. It is not just about the patients’ needs when we talk health care. It also means our doctors, nurses, and medical technicians are treated like the medical professionals they are.
Universal Background checks

Mandatory regular firearm training

Mandatory safety training

Restrict the distribution and types of bullets

Promote education and awareness programs
Fully funding and expanding Planned Parenthood

Expanding Medicaid coverage

Equal work for equal pay

Equal bonuses and equal merits for the same goals met

Promote gender awareness programs in public schools
Yes. The federal government can take a proactive role by:

1) Reducing interest on federal backed loans to 1% 2) Promote public civil and social work programs in lieu of paying off student loans 3) Offer military service in lieu of paying off student loans

This has the benefit of reducing unpayable student loan debt and providing a better economic future for graduates
Passing the Paris agreement as a congressional resolution

Passing the Carbon Fee and Dividend program

Promote the reuse of water in homes businesses

Ban fracking

Ban continental shelf drilling

Promote geothermal, solar, wind, and other renewable energy systems.

Provide funding for environmental awareness and economic programs
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

We lose just over 20 veterans per day to suicide, with PTSD being the leading cause. We need to bring this to the forefront because PTSD IS a national crisis. It represents the true cost of war. Taking care of our veterans should never be in question or in doubt. As a parent whose children, brother-in-law, grandfather, uncles and father-in-law have served, this issue is very close to my heart. Our focus should be on quality and meaningful care for our veterans. We can NEVER quit on them because they NEVER quit on us!
Background Raised in my district, I did 3 tours in Afg as a rescue pilot. Purple heart Vet. Won the right for women to serve in combat. 5 years in Healthcare
Education BA in Sociology and World Religions, The University of Texas at Austin Executive MBA, The University of Texas at Austin
We are a nation of immigrants, and our federal immigration policy must be reformed to better reflect the values that this country was built upon. I support a federal immigration strategy that prioritizes fiscally responsible and environmentally sound border security strategies, provides local businesses with an effective system to fill their labor needs, and calls for a fair pathway to earned citizenship. I also support the passage of the DREAM Act, a bipartisan legislative solution that helps pave a pathway to citizenship for qualified immigrant youth.
Access to affordable and quality healthcare is a human right. Too much of the healthcare conversation in Washington is driven by hyperpartisan attacks instead of people focused solutions. Having worked in the healthcare administration industry for years, I understand how complex our insurance and healthcare systems are, which is why I understand that it will take a bipartisan effort to accomplish real reform. I support efforts that would improve the ACA by encouraging insurers to participate in the marketplace and stabilizing the insurance market. All citizens should have access to healthcare.
As a combat veteran, I understand that the greatest threat to our 2nd Amendment rights is the gun violence epidemic in this country. I am a gun owner, and I take that responsibility very seriously. I support strengthening background checks and increasing awareness of and access to mental health services. As a gun-related domestic violence survivor, I also plan to reform the cross-border concealed carry permit process, which disproportionately impacts fleeing victims of domestic violence. These are common-sense steps that protect our communities but do not infringe on our 2nd Amendment rights.
I have successfully fought for women's rights in DC when I opened hundreds of thousands of jobs for women in the military, and I will continue this advocacy in Congress by fighting harassment and discrimination. I will work to empower marginalized communities by opposing legislation that creates systemic barriers to racial and gender equity, and I will support the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and address the pay gap. The criminal justice system must be fixed, and the failed war on drugs disproportionately and unfairly impacts communities of color.
Education is a human right, and we owe it to our children to invest in higher education to provide them with a foundation of knowledge that will give them the tools they need to grow and prepare them for the future without saddling them with insurmountable debt. The impending student loan default crisis will have a catastrophic impact on our economy. If we want our kids to be competitive in the world market and maintain our position as a global leader, they need to be free to pursue higher education without the fear of crippling debt. It is simply in our nation's best interest.
Our planet is held in trust by us for our children. I support clean, renewable energy that will both save the business community money as well as lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Simplifying our foreign policy environment, providing a cleaner tomorrow for our kids, and reducing costs to the business community is not only prudent but will help us return to a position of strength on the world stage.
We must rectify the economic damage that will result from the fiscally irresponsible tax bill that was recently passed, including the removal of tax incentives for companies to hire disabled veterans. We also need to ensure that Social Security will be solvent beyond the 2035 estimates by raising the income cap.
Background Kent Lester is a retired Army officer and former social studies teacher at Belton High School in Belton, TX. He lives in Cedar Park, TX.
Education BS, Political Science, United States Military Academy at West Point MA, Management, Webster University
Immigration is not only what made this country great, it is what literally made this country. The fact that there is even a debate about DACA, a program for people who have done everything right, is shameful. We should not place unnecessary barriers against immigrants who want to contribute to our society by becoming taxpaying citizens. Additionally, there should be no nationality or religious based exclusion from immigration. Our border security policy should be dictated by the realities on the ground, not political gamesmanship.
I support Medicare for all citizens because I believe access to quality healthcare is an attainable goal in the United States; to me it is a matter of our priorities. I have been the beneficiary of quality government healthcare since birth. In fact, my father made a career out of the Army chiefly for the healthcare provided to my mother, who suffered from chronic illness. I know we can do this and I will support any legislation that increases access. I also pledge to fight for CHIP against those who would use the health of children as a political football.
The first measure I would support is finally allowing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the root causes of gun violence. The second would be to strengthen background checks and the sharing of information between government agencies, so individuals with a history of violence and certain mental illnesses can not legally posses firearms. Finally, I believe firearms should only be sold from reputable, licensed outlets that perform the necessary background checks and reports.
It is past time the United States ratified the ERA. How can we claim to be world leaders when women still make less than men for the same work and continue to suffer harassment in the workplace? As we've seen in the last few election cycles, the days of voter suppression, especially of minority voters, are still with us. States that continue to discriminate by hiding behind the 10th Amendment should face consequences. Additionally, there should be stricter federally mandated training and vetting requirements for law enforcement officers.
Because the government backs many student loans, the government should be more proactive in finding ways to reduce debt loads for the very people who will one day lead our nation. I support programs that forgive loans for important professions such as teaching and primary care. Ideally, we should offer young people free tuition for public junior colleges and trade schools. I want our young people to enter the workforce without the yoke of crushing student loan debt.
I will support legislation that would lessen our dependence on fossil fuels by providing energy companies incentive to make the switch. I am against the current administration's plans to expand offshore drilling not only because it continues our oil addiction, but it also increases the chances for environmental catastrophes like the BP spill in the Gulf.
As a retired Army Quartermaster officer, I have been involved in the military's acquisition process, and I have seen the waste and graft that occurs with major defense contractors. So many desperately needed social programs are left underfunded while our defense budget is the largest in the world. I don't believe a strong defense and taking care of our citizens are mutually exclusive. The fact is, prestige weapons systems are breaking our defense budget and country by extension. I am uniquely qualified to be a leader in the push for a more reasonable defense budget.
Background I am a Family Practice Physician in Cedar Park and an Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine with UNTHSC-FW.
Education Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ft. Worth, 1995
Discussions about immigration must start with the acknowledgement of the human beings involved. I support protection for DREAMers under DACA and their parents under DAPA, including creating a path to citizenship; creating a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already here and contributing to our economy and our society; removal of the 3 and 10 year bars that disrupt families when seeking legal status; a focus on deportation of undocumented immigrants who pose a threat of violence; and expanding fee waivers to decrease the costs to those seeking citizenship.
Healthcare is a Human Right. I have been advocating for a Single Payer, Medicare for All healthcare system since 2009. After training and working in the current healthcare system for 30 years, I am tired of seeing my patients suffer when they do not have access to care. A Single Payer, Medicare for All system saves money and will cover all Americans. It will offer the freedom to change jobs, open a business, move to another state, and go to the doctor and facilities that are right for you, without having to worry about loss of coverage or bankruptcy due to an unexpected illness.
Like most Americans, I both support the Second Amendment right to own guns, and recognize that we must do something to reduce gun violence in America. A broad consensus of Americans agrees that there are measures we can take that will both protect the Second Amendment, and make our citizens safer. We must require background checks on every gun sale. We must close loopholes that allow domestic abusers to obtain obtain guns. We must keep guns out of sensitive places like schools. I will continue to support the Second Amendment right to own guns while working to end gun violence.
People of color face inequalities in a broad range of areas. We know that health disparities are reduced when people of color have greater access to medical care, therefore implementing a Medicare for All Healthcare system will improve health status for these Americans. We must end sentencing disparities and incarceration for non-violent drug crimes. We must reduce barriers that limit access to the polls in this community, such as voter ID laws and reduction in polling places. We must implement strategies to ensure access to capital for entrepreneurs among people of color.
Government absolutely has a role to play in reducing student debt. Student debt has risen 150% in the last decade, faster than any other sector in our economy. The average student can no longer afford higher education without taking on loans. Students are our future, and ensuring that they leave school without an undue financial burden is an investment in the future of our country. Student debt leads to postponement of home ownership, new business start-ups, marriage, and starting families. Both students and our economy are harmed by this burden of debt, and government must help address this.
Climate change is a grave threat to our national security and our planet. I support a transition to renewable energy sources such as the Citizen's Climate Lobby plan. This group is working in a bipartisan manner to reduce reliance on carbon-producing sources of energy with a revenue neutral strategy that will not unduly burden consumers or energy producers. The group's plan is a clear set of benchmarks that gives energy producers the ability to transition to renewable energy in a transparent, predictable way, while also protecting consumers from the financial burden of these changes.
One of my core issues is voting rights. If you don't have a vote, you don't have a voice. I support greater access to the polls by doing the following: Implementing automatic registration nationwide at age 18; making Election Day a National Holiday; expanding early voting days and polling places for greater access; re-registering all felons who have completed their sentences and have no other restrictions to voting; restoring the full force of the Voting Rights Act; removing bars to voting like voter ID laws. Our Democracy thrives when we all participate, and we must make participation easier.
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