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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Texas Senate, District 5

Primary Election: March 6, 2018Early Voting: February 20 - March 2, 2018
  • Candidate picture

    Harold Ramm (Rep) Retired Superintendent of Schools

  • Candidate picture

    Charles Schwertner (Rep) State Senator, Orthopedic Surgeon

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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 30+ years as a public school Superintendent; realtor with 30 years' experience managing and selling properties; veteran
Education B.S. in Education, Southwestern University; M.Ed., Our Lady of the Lake University; Ed.D Texas A&M University
My goal is to ensure that Texas voters can be confident that elections are run in compliance with Texas Voter ID law and are free from bias and fraud. I have always encouraged others to utilize their right to vote in order that their voice might be heard.
The infrastructure of the data base for background checks must be improved to ensure that all reporting agencies are linked and that the necessary information for a thorough check is reaching the point of sale.
I would work with other legislators to ensure that districts are drawn in such a way that all Texans have fair representation. Districts should be drawn up logically with an emphasis on equal populations that do not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity. Districts should maintain contiguity (being physically adjacent), compactness, and reflect a community of interest or local adhesiveness.
I believe public schools are the foundation of democracy, and we must support teachers and school districts by renovating the inequitable and inadequate school finance formula, reducing the scope and impact of standardized testing, and increasing teacher autonomy in the classroom.
Funding for our Texas infrastructure, such as water and transportation, must be given precedence by the legislature. This is done by prioritizing spending and streamlining costs whenever possible.
I want to ensure that all Texans have options to purchase health insurance across state lines. I support efforts to ensure that insurance costs are affordable for all Texans, including retired Texas educators.
I would work to provide meaningful property tax reform by slowing the growth of property taxes and providing impartial oversight and affording transparency in the process. The legislature must increase the capacity of mental health services to assist law enforcement by boosting the services for children identified with mental disabilities, speeding up the process and effectiveness of mental health services, and providing additional support for law officials in dealing with the mentally ill. I believe that Texas is strong when we delegate control and resources at the most local level.
Background Sixth-generation Texan who has served in the Texas Senate since 2013. Practicing surgeon residing in Georgetown with wife Belinda and their 3 sons.
Education BS, Pharmacy, University of Texas (1992);MD, Magna Cum Laude, UT-Medical Branch (1997)
The right to vote is foundational to our democracy. Our republic works best with an active and engaged citizenry that has faith in their electoral process to accurately reflect their views and values at the ballot box. That’s why it’s so important that we take reasonable, commonsense measures to ensure the integrity of our electoral process, such as asking citizens to present a simple photo ID when casting their ballot.
Every act of gun violence is a tragedy. But as a constitutional conservative, I don’t believe the solution to this problem is to shred the Bill of Rights or further infringe upon our Second Amendment. Rather than limiting gun rights, we should be focused on the kind of real solutions that have the potential to actually reduce mass shootings, suicides, and other gun-related tragedies. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, I’ve worked to increase funding and resources for our state’s mental health system, particularly for our veterans and others struggling with PTSD.
Redrawing congressional and legislative districts to ensure that each Texan receives equal representation is an important responsibility that I take very seriously.

There is a host of laws and other legal precedents that dictate how these districts can be drawn, including a preference for compactness and for preserving communities of interest. Several court cases relevant to the redistricting process are being litigated as we speak, so when the legislature takes up redistricting in 2021, it will obviously do so under whatever legal framework exists at that time.
Sooner or later, the legislature will have to revisit the question of how we manage our state’s school finance system. A key part of that discussion involves directing a greater share of the money we spend on public schools towards actually educating students in the classroom, rather than on administration and educational bureaucracy. I welcome the challenge and will work to ensure that any new school finance system will more fairly and efficiently fund our public education system without negatively impacting the schools or taxpayers I represent in Senate District 5.
Texas needs to continue pursuing a forward-thinking, “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that includes natural gas, wind power, solar power, cleaner-coal technologies, and hydroelectric power. Texas was actually an early adopter of wind power, which now provides 15% of the state’s electricity and is projected to surpass coal-fired energy sources by 2020. I also supported funding the implementation of the State Water Plan in 2013; a program that has since spent over $5.6 billion on local water resource development projects to ensure clean and dependable water for generations to come.
Our healthcare system is too costly and inefficient, and Obamacare has only made things worse. We need a healthcare system that puts patients back in charge of their own health...a system built more around the principles of personal responsibility than the dictates of a central government. Getting government out of the business of healthcare is the only way to actually increase coverage options, lower premiums, and ultimately cover more Texans. Patients should have the freedom to choose the physician they want, the treatment they want, and the health coverage that makes sense for their family.
Next session, the Texas Legislature needs to enact real property tax reform to keep our fellow Texans from being taxed out of their homes.

We also need to remain vigilant in the fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking. During my time in the Texas Senate, I’ve authored legislation to require the use of E-Verify for state employees and voted to outlaw sanctuary city policies that prevent law enforcement from deporting dangerous criminals.