Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

U.S. House, District 7

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    Joshua A. Butler (Dem) Development and Non-Profit Executive

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    James Cargas (Dem) Senior Assistant City Attorney for Energy, City of Houston

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    John Culberson (Rep) Attorney; member, U.S. House of Representatives

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    Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (Dem) Lawyer

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    Laura Moser (Dem) Journalist

  • Ivan Sanchez (Dem)

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    Alex Triantaphyllis (Dem) Director of Immigration & Economic Opportunity, BakerRipley

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    Jason Westin (Dem) Medical Oncologist and Researcher At MD Anderson Cancer Center

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    Edward Ziegler (Rep) Oil and Gas Operator and Consultant

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

Identify what you think are the three most important issues directly affecting the people in your district and explain how you will address these issues,if elected?

What do you think should be done to help those who don’t receive employer-sponsored health insurance and cannot afford insurance through other currently available options?

What do you think is the appropriate role of the federal government in fostering a positive environment for job creation in the United States?

Education/Degrees The University of Alabama Bachelors of Arts in Communication and Information Sciences Major: Communication Studies Minors: Sociology, Political Science, and Criminal Justice
Professional Experience Most of my career has been dedicated towards the higher education and non-profit sector, having worked for UTHealth in the Texas Medical Center, the University of Houston, and American Heart Association as a development and fundraising officer.
Community Involvement My community involvement has come through the higher education institutions to-which I've worked. I have served as a mentor to young people at the Houston Area Urban League and the University of Houston. I've also served on multiple boards.
Campaign Email
Campaign Website
Campaign Phone (832) 657-1793
The top 3 issues affecting citizens in Congressional District 7 are: 1.) Flooding; 2.) Economics concerns - healthcare expenses, property taxes, and job availability; 3.) Traffic Congestion.

1. Flooding and the lack of mitigation/control efforts have plagued the district for decades. There's no one in Congress actively making natural disaster funding a priority and citizens continue to be placed in harms way, while our governmental officials continue to do nothing about the problem. We need to unlock funding for the completion of research by the Army Corps of Engineers, while also assessing opportunities to expand the bayous capacity during torrential rain events.

2. Economic concerns span the socio-economical scale. From pensions to the cost of premiums for healthcare, and the overall concerns about taxation, congress has a responsibility to ensure our citizens are protected from costly outcomes to their financial stability.

3. Traffic issues continue to erode our quality of life.
There are 3 actions to help with affordability until a new healthcare system can be developed, or the ACA's deficiencies are fixed:

1. reauthorize the backstop of reinsurance for insurance coverage providers. The elimination of reinsurance resulted in many of the insurance companies diverting cost, pulling out of the marketplace, and ultimately increasing the out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare purchasers.

2. Protect and strengthen the subsidies available to those who are making less than $55,000 annually and extend the availability of coverage to families currently locked out of the individual marketplace because one family member has qualifying employer-sponsored coverage.

3. Develop a more efficient system of coordinated care, to eliminate the strain of unnecessary visits, testing, and inaccurate diagnosis. We can begin to drive the cost down, limit the increased risk of treatment and build a more stable healthcare system.
The federal government is charged with the responsibility of protecting its citizens and also regulating interstate commerce. As such, the protections are not limited to just the physical, but it is also the economical protections. Therefore, the federal government should foster an environment where regulations and elements of taxation should create an atmosphere where private industry is held accountable towards building economically progressive opportunities for citizens. The government can aide their efforts by leading productive policies and discussions on globalization and domestic partnerships. Agreements like NAFTA, are a strong way to reinforce protections, but also create business opportunities that can lead towards the need for greater human capital. Additionally, the federal government is long overdue for a national infrastructure plan which will encourage public-private partnerships and foster job creation.
Education/Degrees 1992 J.D., The American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C.; 1988 B.A., University of Michigan (double major, English and Communications). Admitted to practice law in Texas, District of Columbia, West Virginia and Michigan.
Professional Experience Aide, U.S. Congress; Federal Energy Reg. Comm. (FERC); private practice in law firm, interstate gas pipeline and NAESB; Clinton White House at President's Council on Sustainable Develop.; Gov. Richardson’s U.S. Department of Energy.
Community Involvement President of the Energy Bar Association’s Houston Chapter. North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB). Oil Patch Democrats. Eagle Scout.
Campaign Email
Campaign Website
Campaign Phone (713) 581-0072
Twitter @Cargas7
Incumbent is not using the office to represent the district: (1) I will conduct oversight to ensure funds actually arrive in Harris County to complete all outstanding flood control projects that were unfunded for 18 years now that Harvey Disaster Aid has passed. (2) I will advocate for Houstonians in the renewable, electric and energy efficiency industries because Houston is not just the oil capital, but the capital of all energy. I am proud to live in the Energy Capita and will work hard to keep the title and jobs as the industry undergoes fundamental changes. (3) I will accelerated funding for biomedical research which has been flat for the past 18 years so our Texas Medical Center can maintain its world-class status. (4) I will pass comprehensive immigration policy that provides undocumented workers with a path to citizenship, keeps families together, and makes DACA permanent.
After Obama made health care affordable for 20 million people, Trump made it unaffordable for 13 to 22 million people. Therefore, my immediate action will be to fix the Affordable Care Act by extending the reinsurance program, returning federal reimbursements for subsidies, returning the mandate to have insurance, adjusting the cost ratio to 4:1 to reduce costs for young healthy people, lower prescription drug prices, and make expansion of Medicaid mandatory for states like Texas. I will reverse the trend of cutting costs at the expense of doctor’s income. In the long-term, I will add a public option for people who work for small businesses or who do not otherwise qualify for the health care exchange options. The public option will look a lot like Medicare for all people under 65 years of age. Eventually, the health care industry must transition to a single payer system that eliminates wasteful administrative inefficiencies and redundancies.
Invest in education and a skilled work force. Invest in biomedical research to maintain the US lead in innovation and patents, and to have a strong knowledge based economy. Invest in alternative energy research, development and commercialization. Invest in infrastructure for the free flow of goods and clean water. Bring health costs down and expanding coverage so all workers, and their families, will be covered and healthy also minimizes time away from work due to illnesses. These investments will be repaid with a strong and healthy economy, full employment, and a larger tax base which will also allow Congress to balance the federal budget.
Education/Degrees graduated from Lamar High School, Houston, Tex., 1975 B.A., Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Tex., 1981; J.D., South Texas College of Law, Houston, Tex.
Professional Experience Attorney; member of the Texas state house of representatives, 1986-2001; Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 2001-present
Community Involvement member, Memorial Drive United Methodist Church
Campaign Phone (281) 304-0093
Twitter @johnculberson
1) Continuing to work across the political aisle to make sure those areas in Southeast Texas that have experienced significant flooding damage get the funding and relief help they need to rebuild. I am committed to working with state and local officials to improve and modernize Houston’s flood infrastructure to help prevent future flooding disasters. 2) As chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, I have worked to ensure that NASA now receives more money than at any time since its creation, in an effort to not only return NASA to the glory days of Apollo, but also ensure jobs and economic growth for the Houston region. This will always be a key priority for me. 3) I will continue to be a zealous advocate for increasing national investment in medical and scientific research, because breakthroughs in these areas are vital to the economic and technological challenges we face in the 21st century.
Primarily, we need to provide for an increase in competition in the marketplace, which will drive down costs and allow people more control over their health care. We should also allow small businesses and individuals to enter into "association coverage" that allows groups to negotiate lower rates and better protections than if they were forced to get their health insurance on the individual market. I applaud the administration for starting this process and I will work hard to support this effort in Congress.. We should encourage the use of Health Savings Accounts, which make it easier for families to save money to pay for health care costs.
I have always believed that the best way to unleash American business is with lower taxes, less regulation, and United States energy independence. We have already passed a historic tax bill that lowers every individual tax rate to ensure Americans are able to keep more of their hard earned money and lowers the corporate tax rate to allow U.S. companies to compete globally. Economic indicators have been positive, in part due to our aggressive efforts to reduce unnecessary regulations that were making it difficult for small businesses to compete.
Education/Degrees B.A., History, Kenyon College (1997) J.D., College of William & Mary School of Law (2006)
Professional Experience I am a litigation partner at Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing, which I joined in 2009 after starting my legal career at Vinson & Elkins in 2006. Before becoming a lawyer, I spent six years working in the non-profit and private sectors.
Community Involvement I am a current board member at Writers in the Schools and Open Dance Project; past board member of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, volunteer for Texas Appleseed and Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Houston scholarship committee.
Campaign Email
Campaign Website
Campaign Phone (832) 707-9603
Infrastructure: I will work to plan for and invest in flooding and transportation infrastructure to address our needs—including improving Addicks and Barker reservoirs; completing Project Brays; and revising floodplain maps and partnering with cities, counties, and METRO to bring improvements and funding to our region.

Healthcare: Even though cutting-edge medical advances take place here, many in our community do not have access to quality healthcare. Ensuring access to and affordability of healthcare will be one of my priorities in Congress—from improving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to fighting for reproductive justice.

Economy: Houston is home to industry giants, entrepreneurs, and small business owners whose initiative drives our economic prosperity. In Congress, I will work to ensure we have the tools to keep our economy strong—from investing in public education to supporting research and innovation in the medical and energy sectors to providing job training.
Access to quality, affordable healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and we must strike a balance between restoring the individual mandate and improving means of entry into the health insurance market. Part of this means fighting for federal subsidies the current administration has withheld to make insurance affordable for those for whom insurance is now unaffordable. Another part is fighting for health care providers who provide affordable quality care, like Planned Parenthood, and preventing politicians from politicizing providers. Other initiatives, including lowering both the eligibility age for Medicare and the income eligibility level for Medicaid and expanding initiatives to inform consumers about options like off-exchange purchasing, premium deductions, and group rate plans, may also help address this situation while we work to stabilize the markets and build upon the ACA to address affordability.
For generations, the federal government has played an essential part in creating jobs and fostering growth. From creating actual jobs in infrastructure and other public works projects to enabling growth through new opportunities and marketplaces, the federal government has and should continue to help our economy and jobs grow. Today, the federal government can do many things to foster a positive environment for job creation while maintaining important protections for workers. Invest in public education. Make higher education affordable through grants, not loans. Facilitate life-long training and re-training. Invest in research and development that enables new technologies and industries to thrive. Invest in infrastructure projects. Create public-private partnerships. Expand access to capital and ensure sound monetary policy. And negotiate fair trade policies that allow our economy and our workers to thrive.
Education/Degrees Bachelor of Arts, Amherst College
Professional Experience I am a nationally published writer and journalist who has covered everything from K-12 education to gun violence.
Community Involvement I am the founder of Daily Action, which mobilized 300,000 Americans to take direct political action in the wake of Trump's election. Until this past election, I was very involved at my children's Title I elementary school.
Campaign Website http://mos
Campaign Phone (281) 315-9408
Twitter @lcmoser
Infrastructure: Houston needs a massive investment in flood protection and infrastructure that only the federal government can fund: a dike system, natural coastal barriers, new reservoirs (and updates to the old ones), diversion channel improvements, buyouts, bayou widenings, and so on.

Healthcare: Houston has the highest number of uninsured people in ​Texas, which has the highest number of uninsured people​. We're spending too much money on healthcare, with too little to show for it. We need representatives who fight for the expansion of healthcare access and preventative care. It is the cost-effective thing to do. ​And it's the moral thing to do.

Climate Change: ​All over the world, when journalists write a cautionary tale about the dangers of rising sea levels in combination with unchecked development, they write about ​Houston. ​S​evere storms ​are no longer an inconvenience. They're an existential threat​. W​e ​need a Congress to pass comprehensive climate-change legislation.
Forcing a massive segment of our population to seek basic medical treatments in the ER is not a healthcare system. We need to expand the income threshold for Medicaid so that more people qualify, lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 55, and provide a public option/Medicare buy-in option for anyone who wants it. This would be hugely freeing for employers and humane for employees.
Again, a nationwide public option that frees up entrepreneurs and small businesses from the burdens of expensive private insurance would be a huge step in the right direction. We also need a far more progressive tax code that puts money into the hands of people who are likely to spend it rather than save it. ​The recently passed GOP tax bill achieved exactly the opposite.
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Education/Degrees Rice University, B.A. Political Science & Hispanic Studies Harvard Law School, J.D. Universidad de San Andres (Argentina), Masters, Economics (coursework completed)
Professional Experience Director of Immigration & Economic Opportunity, BakerRipley (2014-Present) Founder, Advisory Board Member: PAIR: Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees (2007-Present) Background in energy finance and management consulting
Community Involvement Welcoming Houston Initiative, Economic Opportunity Committee for Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Transition Team, Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, City of Houston Mayoral Task Force on Equity, New Leaders Council - Houston Chapter
Campaign Email
Campaign Website
Campaign Phone (832) 779-1878
Twitter @AlexTforTexas
I will focus on: (1) promoting economic policies that help to create good jobs and strengthen wages to boost our economy to the benefit of everyone in the Houston region; (2) protecting and expanding access to high-quality, affordable healthcare; and (3) improving our infrastructure to support our economy and mitigate flood damage.

However, there are many pressing issues facing our country and the 7th district. In Congress, I’ll also work to protect Social Security and Medicare, make college more affordable, increase transportation options, institute high-quality and affordable early childhood education, and fight climate change.

I’ve laid out detailed policy goals and solutions for these and other issues on my website at
Congress should work to pass healthcare legislation that achieves the goal of providing high-quality, affordable healthcare coverage to everyone, which is both the right thing to do morally and a smart investment in the health and wellbeing of our community. I will work to create a sustainable healthcare system that reduces costs and responds to the needs of patients so we can save taxpayers money and improve the quality of care. We must also control costs without sacrificing quality. I’ll look at all avenues for achieving these goals, including the consideration of a public option.
We must ensure that businesses have access to capital and are not overly burdened by unnecessary costs or regulations. We should expand access to quality workforce development programs, apprenticeships, and technical training.

Federal policies can help create good jobs and strengthen wages to boost our economy to everyone’s benefit. I will prioritize access to good jobs at fair wages that support families. We must establish an environment that attracts investment and nurtures the growth of local businesses and workers.

I’ve helped businesses to grow and create more jobs. I started a small business program that helps to start and grow enterprises, and I served on Mayor Turner's Economic Opportunity transition team. I've worked in the private sector and advocated for better pay and working conditions for Houstonians.

The federal government can also play a key role in enhancing our infrastructure, creating more jobs and making it easier for working families to afford their commute.
Education/Degrees BS with honors: U of Florida 1998, MD with honors: U of Florida 2002, Internal Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill 2005, Hematology/Oncology Chief Fellow: MD Anderson Cancer Center 2011, Masters of Science: University of Texas GSBS 2015
Professional Experience I'm a problem solving cancer doctor and award winning researcher at MD Anderson (2006). I lead the largest research team in the US working to find new cures for aggressive immune system cancer. I was a US Senate intern in 1998.
Community Involvement I’m a member of Palmer Episcopal Church, West U Little League Baseball & Softball for my 3 kids, YMCA soccer, numerous medical organizations, and many Democratic Clubs.
Campaign Email
Campaign Website
Campaign Phone (832) 727-4546
1. Healthcare. I know healthcare is a human right. In medical school, I helped run a clinic for those without healthcare. Their joy was because we saw them as worthy. In Congress, I'd be a champion to increasing access and reducing costs, and for making policy based on facts, not partisan fictions. My background makes me the best candidate to fight for our healthcare, and I'd work towards a single payer system like Medicare for all to ensure no family is left behind. 2. Flood risk. Houston was just devastated by an unprecedented storm, and showed it's amazing spirit. We must recover, rebuild, and get ready for future storms, and deal with our changing climate. The time for inaction is over, and my plan to strengthen our resilience will make us safer. 3. Prepare for the 21st century. For Houston to succeed, we must do more for our future, like investing in universal pre-K and making college affordable, improving our environment with clean water and air, and becoming an innovation hub.
Any healthcare proposal that I could support in Congress would require one basic starting point: healthcare is a human right. If a bill starts from healthcare as a privilege, we can start over or move on. The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, was a great step forward to reduce the number of uninsured Americans to an all time low, but more needs to be done to deal with rising premiums, prescription drugs, and administrative costs that don't make us healthier. Mr. Trump and Mr. Culberson supported the AHCA, or TrumpCare, which would have led to 50,000 TX07 residents losing insurance. The Tax Bill removed the ACA individual mandate, causing 30,000 TX07 residents to lose care and increase premiums 10%+. We should work towards a single payer system like Medicare for all to ensure everyone has life saving care. This would make us healthier, avoid costly emergency uncompensated care, and give greater security to families who are now one fall or finding a lump away from financial ruin.
The federal government has a powerful role in the US economy, but must also allow for innovation and ingenuity. The US economy is the strongest in the world because the American worker and the American middle class, and because of our innovative spirit. The government should ensure that workers are treated fairly, and that includes the ability to earn a living wage and to receive benefits to provide for their families, including retirement. The government should protect worker rights to organize and be free from discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, disability, or any other factor. The government should not interfere with overburdensome regulations or restrictions, but should ensure that companies don't pollute their environment or allow unsafe conditions. We need a tax policy that works for all, including small businesses and job creators giving incentive to hire American workers, and trade policies that are fair and promote job growth.
Education/Degrees B.S. Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering (Penn State); J.D., South Texas College of Law
Professional Experience Veteran (Air and Army National Guard for six years (Honorable Discharge 1978)), Marathon Oil Company, Home Petroleum Company, owner of a welding/fabrication business, consulting, professional engineer, own oil company and drilling rig currently
Community Involvement Promote student and engineering internships, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, BARK, support other charities
Campaign Phone (713) 439-1199
Twitter @zieglerTXCD7
1) First, District 7 (where I live) is repeatedly experiencing catastrophic flooding. Action has not been taken to address this problem. Flood prevention measures must be implemented, rather than exclusively focusing on flood recovery. Congress has been ineffective as it has provided only 25% of needed funds for Hurricane Harvey Recovery. If elected, I will focus on solutions to prevent future flooding and make certain my District has the financial support to fully recover from floods. 2) Second, the tax plan recently passed is not the overhaul that we need. The tax system changed slightly, but it will not substantially help families and workers. If elected, I will help improve the tax system by simplifying it, making certain that taxes are lowered for individuals and families, and ensuring that federal spending is controlled. 3) Third, Congress failed us on healthcare reform last year. In small concise steps, high-quality health care must be made less costly and available to everyone.
Moving forward, lower taxes for businesses will allow employers to provide health care as an employee benefit; those plans worked many years ago. For individuals that still do not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, affordable, high-quality plans must be established. The plans must cover all preexisting conditions, they should not include lifetime maximum coverage limitations, any research-proven technology and/or medication that improves medical care and the quality of life should be covered. Women's, children's, and family healthcare can be covered by insurance without traveling into controversial topics.
The appropriate government role in fostering job creation is cutting taxes and cutting regulations. The recent tax bill has initiated the process, but a simplified system is needed. Even though many regulations were reformed or removed during the first year of the Trump administration, it will take a new Congress, hard work, and dedication to truly reform and decrease regulations. Encouraging oil and gas production, and exporting more oil, keeps every $60-a-barrel revenues here in our economy. This money can be saved, donated, or spent on cars, clothing, and at restaurants (instead of sending that money to other countries). These funds will create jobs and invigorate the economy. Emphasis on the economy and jobs must include making businesses more profitable. At the same time, worker and family incomes must increase, while still lowering and simplifying all tax structures. Congress has failed on these issues and the next Congress must take action and with new leaders in Congress.