First Term Legislator
Encouraging people to vote and finding ways to make voting easier are important to maintaining a healthy democracy. I support electronic voter registration as well as electronic voting as ways to improve elections and increase voter turnout in Texas.
To reduce gun violence we need to: 1) strengthen the current gun laws we have in place; 2) increase the educational outreach to adults and children about not only the danger of weapons but what to do if they see someone who they think should not have a firearm; and 3) create new policies to allow law enforcement to remove firearms from individuals that are exhibiting "at-risk" behaviors so they can not harming themselves or others.
Creating a non-partisan redistricting panel is the only way to ensure that political agendas stay out of the map drawing process. The current method of allowing the majority party to gerrymander districts to its liking is a reason why meaningful public policies do not advance in legislative bodies.
All children deserve a quality education. To provide and fund an equitable, quality public education system we need to revamp our current system of school finance, which is broken. All stakeholders (parents, teachers, property owners, school board members and district administrators) should have a seat at the table in creating a system which funds our neighborhood schools. The state should then allocate enough resources to the districts to provide an equitable, quality education for all children.
My legislative priorities for the environment are ensuring transportation projects are environmentally friendly while ensuring people get from place to place, making sure Texans have a sustainable sources for water, and improving air quality.
Over the interim, I went on a healthcare listening tour in the district I represent to learn more about the challenges of our healthcare system in Texas. Access to care is an issue that many people face along with finding affordable care. I will continue to listen and will offer solutions next legislative session to improve access to care along with making it more affordable.
The three priorities for our state are: 1) Education; 2) Workforce Development; and Healthcare. Educating our children is priority number in making sure companies want to relocate to Texas and also so we have a workforce to meet the job demands. The other side of the coin is healthcare. As a legislator, I am determined to find solutions to ensure all three of those priorities are met so residents in House District 116 can continue to prosper.
No one should be subject to sexual harassment and assault in any situation. I support any and all policies that enable persons that have been subject harassment or assault to be able to provide their account of what happened. Appropriate action should be taken if the accusations are found to be true included termination from the perpetrator's place of employment along with criminal charges.
I have worked hard to make the process of registering to vote and voting as streamlined and as easy as possible. I filed House Bill 111 during the 84th session to allow for voter registration at the polling place during early voting and I will continue to work to make voter registration more accessible to all Texans.
I led the charge in the Legislature to challenge Republicans who shamelessly attack our voting rights by making voting harder for Texas voters and by limiting our rights to vote for the candidates of our choice when they gerrymander and divide our communities.
In the past, I joined fellow members of the Bexar County delegation to stop HB 3866, which presented multiple safety concerns and would have eroded local control of municipal space. The 84th session ended with one of the worst gun bills - campus carry. Against the vocal opposition of students, parents, faculty, and administrators, Republican legislators pushed legislation to force universities to allow guns on campuses across Texas. When I called a point of order on SB 11, halting the proceedings on the House floor, I worked with universities to change the nature of the bill to send a message that leaders need to get sensible, practical, and realistic about gun policies on college campuses. I was recognized by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America for my work empowering university presidents to regulate guns on their campuses.
I will continue to fight for sensible gun legislation and against all gun bills that put the most vulnerable members of our community in harm's way.
A federal court found that redistricting maps drawn by the Texas Legislature were intentionally discriminatory and diluted the voting strength of historically marginalized communities. I do not support any mechanism of independent redistricting at the state level. I will fight against any efforts which result in gerrymandering voting districts in Texas. When 90% of the population growth in Texas is from women and people of color, now is not the time to hand over Latino and African-American political power to a independent commission. Now is the time to work with anchor institutions such as the League of Women Voters to build voter turnout coalitions that push for change as a coordinated group of people. I look forward to this challenge.
As the first person in my family to graduate from college and the second person to graduate from high school, I have first-hand experience in how a quality education can affect your life.
A fully-funded and equitable public education system is vital to the future of Texas, and I am proud of my battles to fund our schools. In 2013, I negotiated the partial restoration of the devastating education cuts of 2011, returning $3.9 billion to the final budget and in 2015, I refused to support the final state budget, which underfunded Texas schools while leaving nearly $3 billion on the table. (Daily House Journal, 84th Legislature, p.5223) My commitment to equitable funding is also why, during the 84th Legislative Session, I used a point of order to defeat House Bill 1759, which would have exacerbated the inequities between wealthy and low-income school districts in Texas. I will continue to fight for Texas Schools in the Senate.
Unlike many Republicans in office, I believe climate change is real and I believe the State of Texas can and should do more to protect our air and water quality. We can do more to increase these standards, as well as, promote and incentivize wind, solar and battery use in lieu of fossil fuels. When policy makers and lobbyists attempted to take away San Antonio’s Tree Ordinance, I used my knowledge of rules and procedure to defeat them so that San Antonio could continue to protect the air and water quality of our community.
As a direct result of Texas' failure to expand Medicaid or any other coverage option, over 1 million Texans now fall into the coverage gap. During the 84th legislative session, I filed two bills to expand eligibility for benefits under the Medicaid program: House Bill 116, a Medicaid expansion bill, and House Bill 4054, which mimicked language from a conservative solution that had been filed in the previous session. My hope was to, at least, spark a dialog in the Legislature about the Coverage Gap in Texas. I will continue to fight to ensure that every Texan is covered.
Low Medicaid reimbursement rates in Texas make it unappealing for doctors to treat people in the program. I will work with policy makers to increase Medicaid payments for physicians which I believe would help address the primary care shortage in parts of Texas and encourage doctors to accept Medicaid.
1. Expansion of Healthcare for uninsured
2. Equity in education spending
3. Oppose attacks on local governments ability to exercise home-rule authority over their residents
Like many parents today, I struggle to the find the words to explain the cruelty of gender inequality to my two daughters. Everyday I pray that the workplace my daughters will join will be fairer and more just than the workplace my mother and my wife faced.
As a man, I hope to prove myself worthy of being trusted to hear the stories of victims. As a leader, I acknowledge my responsibility to do everything I can to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment.
The 86th Legislative Session will be the year of respect and compassion for one another. If I am chosen to represent House District 116, my office will lead by example to end sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace. In the first days of the session, I will change the rules and policies of the House to mandate that all lawmakers and their staff members shall receive training to prevent sexual assault and workplace harassment, including the best practices for bystander intervention.