Elaina Fowler has dedicated 20 years to a public policy career to protect the rights of fellow Americans. As the current State Director of Texas Retir
B.A. Wesleyan College International Business
I support including information on restoration of voting rights and a voter registration card in exit packets presented to individuals during their exit interviews with their parole officers. The Sentencing Project and Restoration Project strongly recommend automatic restoration of voting rights upon release from the criminal justice system.
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Gun regulation continues to be a heated topic in the Capitol as well as in the public as we try to identify where the balancing point is between gun-safety laws and embracing state traditions.1 ) close the straw sale loophole2)reducing the lethality of guns... A) by making green tipped bullets that can pierce an officer's vest illegal B) by using new technology such as smart guns. 3) I support including information on restoration of voting rights and a voter registration card in exit packets presented to individuals during their exit interviews with their parole officers.
Proportional representation is the only way to prevent gerrymandering. In doing so, it would solve the problem of partisan gerrymandering and would ensure almost every district would get a fair shake. We should have an independent redistricting commission by utilizing statisticians and public policy professionals from our state universities and should appointed by the legislature to ensure proportionate representation, that communities of interest remain whole and full compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
In 2011 the legislature cut per-pupil formula funding by $4 billion and cut discretionary grants to school districts by $1.4 billion. Since then, the legislature has partially restored formula funding, relying chiefly on rising local property-tax collections rather than state revenue. In fact, the state funding share has fallen sharply, to less than 40 percent, and average per-pupil funding remains below the pre-recession level of 2008. Restoring the pre-recession funding level of 2008 would require $3.2 billion more per year in additional funding.
We must create a comprehensive state flood mitigation plan, begin utilizing conservation easements and create a comprehensive plan for future growth if development is to continue. In the Hill Country, it is either feast or famine, flash flood or drought. Agriculture is a vital part of the Texas economy and implementing responsible development policies--especially with regard to water conservation and flood mitigation. Texas leads the nation in renewable alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Increased utilization of these renewables is good for the air that we breathe.
It is also important that we support programs that fill the donut hole and allow women and men to choose their preferred provider. Restore funding to Planned Parenthood and similar providers for preventive healthcare screenings, yearly check-ups, cancer and family planning services and STI screening treatments and prevention. I would fight against all efforts to prevent local healthcare districts from contracting with clinics which comply with all science based regulations.
equality: I oppose any effort to further divide our population and distract from the job of passing common sense legislation with any more bathroom bills and will support a House Speaker candidate who shares the values of all Texans, not just those of Empower Texans. I believe we need to repeal HB3859 which asks same-sex couples to choose between their ability to have a family and whether to follow their careers to Texas. I support banning housing discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity--there is no good reason why this is not already law.
Vikki Goodwin is the Broker/Owner of Goodwin & Goodwin Real Estate. She serves her community on a variety of Committees, Boards and organizations.
BBA from the University of Texas, '89. Master's degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, '91.
1) Enable automatic voter registration with ability to opt out, similar to current successful programs in four states.
2) Allow voters to use their registration card only without a second form of identification.
3) Facilitate easier voting by opening all voting sites to all voters within a county.
1) Ban devices that allow a gun to rapid-fire, such as bump stocks. Bump stocks were used in the Las Vegas shootings in 2017 resulting in 58 deaths and 546 people injured. 2) Close loopholes such as the gun show and online sales loophole which allow firearms to be sold without a background check. Also close the boyfriend loophole that currently doesn’t prevent a boyfriend who has committed domestic violence from buying a firearm. 3) Rescind campus carry at our public colleges and universities, or allow them to make the decision. Data do not show that more guns lead to a safer society.
We must put an Independent Redistricting Commission in place for drawing new district lines after the 2020 census. Allowing legislators to choose their voters through redistricting by politicians undermines fair representation and democracy. The outcome of the Supreme Court decision in the Gill v Whitford case will provide a basis for going forward. Regardless of the outcome, I support having a structure similar to what was used to select the first 10-district city council in Austin in which citizens made up the committee that drew the district boundaries.
My highest priority is school finance reform, so the state takes on a larger share of public school finance with less burden on individual property tax payers. The recapture system which had the Austin ISD sending $400M to the state last year and $530M this year is an unsustainable model. At the very least the funding formulas must be updated to be meaningful and equitable. Last session HB21 would have helped, but it didn’t get passed. We must have legislators in the Capitol who will pass meaningful school finance reform. Teacher pay and retirement benefits must be a part of the equation.
Texas must do a better job of planning for the future and protecting our air and water. We know the population is growing, and the need for water isn’t going away. We need to have stronger and more consolidated groundwater conservation districts. We need better planning for flood mitigation. We need to have TCEQ enforcing the regulations already in place in such a way that chemical plants have an incentive to follow the rules. We should encourage and enable the expansion of wind and solar power throughout the state. And we should test water fountains in schools for lead.
I would expand Medicaid bringing more health care dollars from the Federal government to the state. I would restore funding to clinics that are serving our low income and rural communities. I would provide incentives for more RNs to become teachers to avoid a nurse shortage and would advocate for APRNs to fill vacancies in family practice clinics to lower costs and make health care available to more families. Our goal must be to have healthcare provided to every man, woman and child in an efficient manner. Having uninsured families show up in emergency rooms is not the solution.
Traffic congestion is a problem for many Texans. We have not kept up with our transportation needs including building roads and providing innovative transit options. I would increase the gas tax which has not been increased since 1991, and index it to inflation. I would support adding lanes to IH35 and re-striping roads to add capacity where the space already exists. I support transit oriented development to encourage expanded usage of the rail line. I would encourage expansion of testing of self-driving cars in Texas. We need to look at all possibilities as our population continues to grow.