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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Texas House, District 132

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    Gina Calanni (Dem) Marketing Manager

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    Carlos Pena (Dem) Attorney/Engineer

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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 will you do as a member of the Texas Legislature to ensure that all Texas children receive a quality education?

What role should the Texas Legislature play in addressing the problem of human trafficking in our state and in providing funding for programs that support victims?

Education/Degrees St. Edward's University B.A. Political Science
Professional Experience Over twenty years of experience working for both the public and private sectors of legal, finance, and technology companies.
Community Involvement Elijah Rising Gala Chairperson for 2017 (an organization that fights sex trafficking) Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrar Habitat for Humanity School Volunteer Homeroom Parent Harvey Meal Provider for First Responders and Displaced People
Campaign Email
Campaign Website
Campaign Phone (512) 694-1944
Twitter @gina_calanni
Public Education and Financing, Flood Control, and Sex trafficking. We need to increase the amount of money for our public education while at the same time addressing our growing property taxes. The amount of money raised each year for our schools has gone up while the amount invested back into them has gone down. We need to fix this. Flood control, we have to come up with a viable solution for a third reservoir as well as better regulation for developing properties in flood prone areas. Sex trafficking, we are the number one city for sex trafficking in the world. We have to enforce our SOB laws and shut down businesses that are operating modern day brothels in our communities. I pass by five different brothels on my way home on one street alone. These businesses are marginalizing women and children and it needs to stop. Humans are not commodities.
I am committed to ensuring that all Texans have access to quality education. There cannot be limits on the amount of special education students per school or district. We have to make sure our schools have the resources and funding needed to be successful and I will work hard to make this happen. I will vote for increased funding to our schools and making sure that early education and special education classes thrive and are given adequate resources to succeed.
I have been an advocate for victims of sex trafficking for several years. I served as a chair person for the Elijah Rising Gala last year and worked directly with victims. Sex trafficking will surpass the sales of illegal drugs in the next five years. To address this problem we need to enact legislation that penalizes the traffickers and not the trafficked. We need to provide adequate programs that give these victims time to heal and recover. We have to be culture changers and change the demand. We need to shine a light on the darkness of sex trafficking and provide aftercare for the victims. We need to provide more education in our schools and communities about sex trafficking and how to identify it. A better system must be put in place for our children in the foster care system to ensure that they are not preyed upon and that we protect them from the traffickers.
Education/Degrees St Mary's Law School (Doctor of Jurisprudence), St Mary's School of Business (Master of Business Administration), University of Texas - El Paso (Bachelor of Science in Electrical/Computer Engineering)
Professional Experience Assistant General Counsel (energy attorney); Computer Engineer (software developer and programmer)
Community Involvement Worked as a counselor and advocate for children; a volunteer firefighter and emergency care assistant. Also through church mission work, I have helped build a children's home; was a hurricane relief volunteer and have worked with local food pantries
I view elected office as an opportunity to humbly serve, and like many of my fellow Texans, have grown frustrated with the lack of professionalism from many of our elected officials and believe we need average citizens, other than career politicians, to serve our community. Accordingly, I believe the first issue directly affecting fellow Texans is to ensure that our elected officials answer to the average Texan and not to well-funded special interests. So, I have chosen not to take campaign contributions (monetary or otherwise) from anyone. Further, if elected I pledge to donate the annual salary from the position to worthwhile churches or other charitable organizations that have a proven track record of helping those who are in need. I plan on keeping an open mind, prioritizing policies that will help Texas families achieve the American dream; maintain fiscal responsibility; attract businesses to the State and ensuring that Texas children are availed of the best education anywhere.
First of all, I believe in listening to the front-line experts on this issue--the school teachers themselves. Teachers must be empowered and we must understand existing obstacles to effective education under the current system. We must also seek to address all real or perceived problems inherent in a system that all too often pushes ideas onto teachers from the top down. It is imperative that we identify and incorporate best practices for improvement from other Texas school districts; those from around the country, and indeed from around the world and incorporate as applicable. For example, there are systems that aim to teach to the “whole child” that are receiving positive reviews and outcomes. This approach emphasizes both subject matter proficiency along with practical application and stimulates students' natural curiosity. It is equally important to recognize that children learn best when they are healthy, properly fed, and grow up in stable environments.
Human trafficking in Harris County and Texas at large is a very real legal and humanitarian issue. Action must be taken sooner rather than later. Human trafficking must be attacked at every opportunity–at countries of origin as well as trafficking destinations. Stiff criminal penalties and civil remedies against anyone participating in the human trafficking chain or who aid and abet in such trafficking should be pursued. Moreover, victims must be effectively represented and efforts to detect, prevent and prosecute traffickers must be closely coordinated by Texas with other countries, the federal government, other states and local governments by law enforcement, activist organization, and related social governmental agencies to address victims' specific needs and to ensure they are placed back with family as soon as practicable. In addition, traffickers found guilty of such crimes should be required to pay court costs and contribute to reimbursing taxpayers and compensating victims.