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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Texas House, District 47

Primary Election: March 6, 2018Early Voting: February 20 - March 2, 2018
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Candace Aylor (Dem) Registered Nurse

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    Elaina Fowler (Dem) Executive Director, AFSCME Texas Retirees

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    Vikki Goodwin (Dem) Real Estate Broker

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    Will Simpson (Dem) Technology Executive

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    Sheri Soltes (Dem) Founder & President, Service Dogs, Inc.

  • Patty Vredevelt (Rep)

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    Jay Wiley (Rep) Small Business Owner

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    Paul D. Workman (Rep) Consultant

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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?

Background A 4th gen Texan, I’m a mom of 20 yrs & a nurse. A caring & compassionate activist & advocate, I ensure people's lived experience influences policy.
Education Assoc. of Applied Science in Nursing, El Centro College, Dallas, Dec 2001 Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Admin, Ashford Univ, Dec 2014
It is essential for the people to truly have a voice in elections. Drawing the lines of the boundaries of those districts should be done by an independent review body. Texas should also join the 21st century and allow online voter registration. There should be a greater focus on encouragement of civil engagement in schools, like finding ways to incentivize the existing requirement to offer voter registration to high school seniors. I posted a recent video to help with Get Out The Vote efforts on YouTube.
1. Ban the sales of and close loopholes to prevent access to assault styles rifles. 2. Develop stronger procedures to shift the culture of law enforcement to one of protection and encourage collaboration with community social services to end and/or prevent domestic violence. 3. End open carry laws and increase awareness of the importance of securing weapons and safety.
Texas Republicans have maintained their position of dominance in the TX Legislature through engaging in illegal, and discriminatory practices implemented for the purpose of disenfranchising communities of color. Texas is a minority majority state, but the legislature we have doesn’t reflect that. Purple in population, but red in representation for far too long. Allowing legislators to draw their own lines and choose their voters has always created a conflict of interest. It is time to reassign the role of redistricting to a non-partisan, independent commission.
Education is a top priority of my campaign. When I say our children's future, I'm not talking about children that look like me, but all children in Texas. In Texas house District 47 we have one of the lowest numbers of economically disadvantaged students in the state. We are also one of the richest districts in Texas. I intend to hold us accountable to ensuring access to education is Equitable for all students in Texas. This means fixing our school finance algorithms, taxing large corporations by restoring franchise tax provisions and closing loopholes.
Before campaigning my environmental causes were personal, ensuring a low family carbon footprint by using public transit, our family only using one car, recycling & preserving water. As a candidate for TXHD47 I recognize our need to preserve water sources in the district, with a large aquifers existing underneath our district, & by reducing the carbon footprint of my campaign as I have my household, through reduced printing of paper materials & reduced emissions with less travel to meet with individuals and more meetings with large groups, phone banking, and Outreach through social media.
As a nurse in TX I champion healthcare for all solutions like Medicare for all, but as a state legislator I must consider that we will need to discover state-level solutions. With the loss of CHIP & the 1115 Medicaid waiver, our state's answer to not joining the ACA, Texans are already losing their Healthcare & hospitals in Texas are already planning to close their doors. When I am elected as the Rep of TXHD47 I plan to work with legislators in developing our contingencies to mitigate this damage, through establishing healthcare for all Texas residents regardless of ability to pay.
As a community organizer with Black Lives Matter, Austin Justice Coalition, and Measure Austin, to name a few, I have worked with our communities of color to pass legislation and champion causes from City Hall to the state Capitol that support equity for all and address the very real problems with institutional racism in our state. Last session we helped get over two dozen Criminal Justice Reform bills passed, and in the coming session I hope to continue that fight through passing legislation to prevent arrest for non jailable offenses, & start to put an end to the for-profit prison industry.
Background 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
Education 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.
Background Vikki Goodwin is the Broker/Owner of Goodwin & Goodwin Real Estate. She serves her community on a variety of Committees, Boards and organizations.
Education 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.
Background I am an Austin native, husband, father and technology executive. The focus in my executive career is moving companies to a servant-leader model.
Education I attended the University of Texas at Austin with a focus in Mechanical & Electrical Engineering. After 2 years, I entered the technology field.
All of the processes we use to register and allow people to vote must focus on ease of access and use. Expanding the use of online technology on the path to full online registration and voting needs to be the goal. I would also push for automatic triggers for voter registration when any other form of validated identification (Social Security, Driver’s License, Passport, ID Card) is either initiated or updated.
Closing the loopholes that allow people to skip background checks in our current system is an easy and logical path. Fully automated workarounds such as bump-stocks should be eliminated. Considering that half or more (by some estimates) of gun deaths are suicides, advanced mental health screening should be mandatory before allowing people to have guns.
As is being seen now in some court opinions, political gerrymandering is bad for democracy at best, and unconstitutional at worst. We should remove the drawing of our districts from the hands of the politicians who would directly benefit from them, to the hands of a cross-partisan (Democrat, Republican and Independent) commission.
Fixing the broken public school finance system is the key. Recapture/Robin Hood was in response to a court mandate, and the math has broken down over time.

HD 47 has an outsized portion of the burden; our property taxes are rising while schools are still underfunded.

Texas needs to support at least 50% of the funding of public education. Many options have been presented, and some even passed through the House. Unfortunately, they die in the Senate as there is a constant push to add vouchers that would give state money to schools that don’t follow state guidelines or discrimination laws.

Protecting our waterways, including Lake Travis, is of specific concern in this district. We know that this area is and will continue to grow at a rapid pace, but we must hold the line and consider how we will adapt and use the current water supply without causing or continuing to cause irreparable damage to the lakes and other waterways. We must work with our ecologists to help solve issues that will have long-term impact such as dealing with the very invasive zebra mussel.
Driving to accept the Medicaid expansion is a good step in this direction. We can start by accepting it from the government for groups such as veterans, which will then give us the path to accepting it statewide.
Traffic is a top issue in HD 47. The solutions will be found working with local cities and the county. There is not one fix-all solution, but we must move toward a solution that includes not only the building of roads, but one that will encourage commuters to travel less or at off-peak times.

We are in the 21st Century...the office and the classroom are a device away for many of the businesses and schools that call Austin home. This means working with local businesses and institutions that can offer remote work or varied schedules is a must for any viable solution.
Background Trial lawyer for union workers Nonprofit CEO - Service Dogs, Inc., est. 1988. www.servicedogs.org For wounded vets and other disabled Texans for free.
Education Law degree with Honors, UT School of Law Bachelor's with High Honors, UT Austin, Plan II, Honors Liberal Arts Program
I support online voter registration, automatic voter registration, as well as repealing the discriminatory Voter ID law. I will work with organizations like Battleground Texas to have civic engagement discussions with high schools in my district to fulfill our statutory requirement to register them
1) I will fight to make sure "constitutional carry" never becomes law. 2) Get guns off of our higher education campuses. 3) Make sure individuals with domestic violence records are no longer able to purchase or own a gun, including the boyfriend loophole.
We need a nonpartisan redistricting commission so that our state legislature, congressional and board of education districts actually have an opportunity to elect people who represent their values.
We have to get back to the way we used to fund public schools. Over the years the legislature has put bandages on the forumula that has just further complicated the process. We must increase the weight allotments across the board and stop relying on property taxes to make up for the legislature's budgetary short fall when it comes to our public educations system. What we SHOULDN'T do is allow school vouchers, or savings accounts. No tax dollars should go to private schools! I do not vouch for vouchers!
House District 47 has a vast amount of natural resources. We have to protect our watershed and invest in renewable energy across this state. Texas produces the most renewable energy in terms of sheer quantity. Clean and renewable energy has both environmental and economic benefits. Jobs, clean air, clean water not to mention water conservation. It takes 4.4 million gallons to frack one well. That is the amount of water 11,000 Texan families use in one day. Overdevelopment in HD 47 is another concern. People love this district because of how green and lush it is. Let's keep it that way!
In terms of what I would be able to accomplish on the state level, first we have to expand Medicare. This topic is forever changing with the Trump administration's deserve to get rid of the ACA all together and now with the removal of the individual mandate with the new tax bill, we will have to see what happens to healthcare in this state. What is important to me is that there is access to affordable care for every family in this state.
Transportation is the top priority for the majority of constituents in District 47. Congested, unsafe, degrading, and insufficient roadways result in pervasive delays in commutes and are a public safety concern. Issues include both a higher than normal incidence of traffic collisions resulting in serious injury and fatalities and in the inability to evacuate certain neighborhoods in the event of natural disaster. Furthermore, emergency services are thwarted from saving lives. I would use a multi-modal approach to transportation utilizing all technologies and bring experts to the table.
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Background Conservative Christian, husband, father of 2 boys, local business owner. Homeowner in Four Points. 13 yr Travis Co. resident. Member, Riverbend Church
Education B.S., The Citadel military college J.D., St. Mary's School of Law
1. Simplify ballot language and add economic impact numbers on bond questions so taxpayers fully understand what is being proposed.

2. Move bond elections to even numbered general election years to maximize voter participation.

3. Close primaries to reduce cross party voting.
The most dangerous place one can be is a "gun free zone" because criminals do not obey gun laws. Law abiding citizens pay the price. Studies all show more arms in the hands of good guys means less gun violence.

1. Constitutional Carry

2. Open Carry

3. Eliminate "Gun Free Zones" in public spaces
More transparency by the Legislature to ensure communities of interest are grouped together in districts. It is also the responsibility of every citizen to watch closely and stay informed so politicians don't play games with district lines. I will fight to make sure downtown Austin Democrats don't unfairly influence the process and that suburban and rural voices are heard loudly and often.
1. End Robin Hood. It's unfair and doesn't work.

2. Accountability for the bureaucracies that surround public education.

3. Prioritize the classroom. More dollars to classrooms, not bureaucracies. Incentivize the good teachers and fast track the bad ones out the door.
The high cost of energy in Travis County is a direct result of Austin Energy being owned and run by the Austin City Council. If rate payers had more choice they would pay an estimated $200 million less per year than they do now. Renewable "green" energy is a lovely goal, but it isn't financially feasible yet and my first concern is for taxpayers and rate payers. We need a dramatic new direction and new leadership. We cannot keep doing the same thing year after year. Less talk, more action.
Get government out of the business of healthcare. When government involves itself in healthcare (or anything for that matter), costs rise, bureaucracies flourish, and consumer choices are reduced. Spending on bureaucracy happens first, then patient care gets whatever is left over.

A system based on the free market would reconnect the patient and doctor. Providers, hospitals, and drug companies would have to compete with each other, reducing prices. Our business, Luxe OB, is a concierge medical practice that provides a patient-centered model of care free of the insurance bureacracy.
Property taxes are at crisis level in Travis County but politicians keep kicking the can down the road. Property tax relief failed in the TX House last session and it is unconscionable that Paul Workman voted against it. (SB 1, Vote #164, Aug 14, 2017)

We need courage to stand up to the lobbyists and downtown Austinites who have an interest in keeping property taxes so high. I won't stop until we fundamentally change our property tax system and reduce the unfair burden it places on homeowners, including lowering the fixed rate for seniors.

That is my #1 priority.
Background I am a 40-year construction professional, owning my own company for most of that time, creating hundreds of jobs in Central Texas.
Education B.S. in Building Construction, Texas A&M University, 1973
The right to vote, and the responsibility brought with it, is sacrosanct in American civic life. It is paramount to take reasonable care to ensure the integrity of our elections. For example, in Texas voters are required to present photo ID in order to vote in person. If a person does not have a valid, government-issued ID, they can obtain a free Election Identification Certificate in order to vote. I voted in favor of Texas’s common-sense voter ID law because it is an important tool in combatting voter fraud. Additionally, I supported Texas’s law to outlaw fraudulent vote harvesting.
As an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, I do not support any measure that would infringe upon the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. I do, however, support increased access to mental health services. All too often we find out after the fact that a perpetrator of gun violence has a history of mental illness but did not have access to the right kind of care.
In Texas, the state legislature is responsible for drawing congressional, legislative, and State Board of Education districts. I support Texas’s long-observed, constitutional practice of entrusting the responsibility of reapportionment to the duly elected members of the Texas Legislature.
The Texas Constitution requires the legislature develop a system of public schools for the state’s schoolchildren, a mission I wholeheartedly support. Unfortunately, the state’s current “Robin Hood” school finance system has not worked out. Taxpayers in Austin ISD, for example, are on the hook for more than a half-billion dollars in “recapture” money that does not stay in Austin’s local schools. Any proposals to overhaul the state’s school finance system must take serious steps towards ending Robin Hood altogether.
The procurement of a reliable supply of safe, clean drinking water for all Texans today and for generations to come has always been a top legislative priority of mine. As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, I have been heavily involved in the process of responsibly developing Texas’s water supply and the protection of our region’s Highland Lakes. When the next drought comes, Texas should be prepared.
I support federal Medicaid block grants to the states that would allow Texas to develop a program that meets our state’s needs. The last thing our already complicated healthcare system needs is more top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates from Washington.
In recent years, Texans have encountered a growing number of municipalities infringing upon their personal freedoms, particularly as it relates to business and private property rights. For example, the City of Austin has mandated to businesses that they may not run a criminal background check on a prospective employee until after they have already offered the job. It is simply not the place of local governments to interfere in matters of private enterprise. I will continue to vigorously defend my constituents’ rights when they are trampled upon by the central planners at city hall.