2 Terms Tyler City Council; 4 terms Texas House.
MBA Business Management
The most important issue for District 6 in this race is effective representation. Citizens in Smith County need a voice in Austin that listens to them, and not a couple of special interest groups that send you checks for $89,000 checks and have you bought and paid for. I believe I in town hall meetings. I want to work hard for my District on issues that affect us everyday.
1. A Medical School for Smith County! East Texas is the only region in the State without a full medical school that would fund and recruit paid graduate students to work within our healthcare system expanding services including rural health care. Like the UT Tyler expansion, this will usher in a new economic boon for Tyler and surrounding areas.
2. Mental and Behavioral health care: We need to expand how we treat those who need these services in Smith County.
3. Term Limits: I support term limits for legislators. I carried the bill before coming up just one vote short.
We need stronger enforcement along our borders.
We should provide greater services to victims including those who committed offenses forced to commit by the trafficker.
More needs to be done to go after the businesses that promote trafficking and the services they promote.
The state adjusts each district's basic allotment by factors that aren't tied to student need. Outdated indexes does not reflect current realities. Target revenues arbitrarily benefit some districts at the cost of others. Some districts with higher rates are subsidizing the higher funded lower districts. Then, you have districts gaming the system.
Basically, we need a system that funds students and not districts. Schools should receive funding based on what students need.
We need a funding system that allocates actual dollars and provides schools with more autonomy to make trade offs with scarce resources that will help ensure that all schools get a fair shot at hiring talented teachers.
Teachers are treated as State employees only when it benefits the State. Teachers should be treated the same as all State employees especially in the area of health insurance benefits.
I will remain committed to insuring that we do not convert the TRS system and remain with "defined benefit plans".
I will carry a bill next Session to provide for a "13th check" for all retired teachers for TWO consecutive years. This will only affect about 2 to 3 days of interest per year within the TRS system. We have not provided a 13th check in over 10 years; and no raise has been given.
Matt is in his 3rd term in the Tx House and serves on the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, and the Corrections Committee. He is currently a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Matt has degrees in finance and law from Texas Tech University.
Hurricane Harvey relief and funding will be a major effort. We were able to preserve the Rainy Day fund during the 85th Legislative session, and I believe we should use it as appropriate for this situation. Property taxes and school finance reform are also major issues. Restraining the growth in property taxes and addressing local debt are the primary lines of effort.
The legislature has already given law enforcement some new statutory tools to address human trafficking. I believe that the focus under Gov Abbott’s leadership will be coordination and information sharing across government and law enforcement agencies and the public. Educating people on signs and indicators is also an important line of effort. Preventing trafficking, helping victims and punishing criminals are the themes of Gov. Abbott’s new initiative, and I support the additional funding to DPS Abbott has called for.
School finance and property tax/local debt reform go hand in hand. We cannot continue a course that relies too heavily on property taxes. We must find a way to re-balance the funding mechanisms for public schools. Gov. Abbott has laid out a broad approach which has many good ideas. There is also a public school finance commission that recently began its work, and I hope that it will bring practical solutions to the table. The topic can be very complicated. I favor solutions that bring more transparency to local debt initiatives and bring voters into the equation more often.
Great teachers equal great education outcomes. I view the retirement system as part of how we keep and retain the great teachers. I have voted in favor of adding large amounts of additional money to the TRS system in order to keep the commitments our state has made. My mother is a retired public school teacher (special ed), and she, like so many others, has earned her retirement. The goal is an actuarialy sound fund that is healthy, stable, and available for current and future retirees. Retirees living longer and the exploding cost of health care have put increased pressure on the system. However, I support continuing the defined benefit plan for all current retirees, and all current teachers. I will consider changes in the future for new teachers only if doing so leads to a more stable financial outcome that helps us recruit, compensate, and retain the best possible teachers.