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VOTE411 Voter Guide

State Senator, District 17

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    Joan Huffman (Rep) State Senator, Attorney

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    Kristin Tassin (Rep) Attorney

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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 Louisiana State University, B.A. 1979 South Texas College of Law, J.D. 1984
Professional Experience Former-Harris County Felony and Chief Gang prosecutor, Gen. Counsel to Org Crime Narc. Task Force and Judge of the 183rd Criminal District Ct.- Current State Senator serving as Chair of Senate State Affairs and Vice-Chair of Crim. Justice Committees
Community Involvement Former- Member of the Children's Assessment Center Foundation Board of Directors and currently serving as a Member of Board Of Directors of Child Advocates
Campaign Website http://www.joan
Campaign Phone (713) 304-7868
Twitter @joanhuffman
1. Hurricane Harvey Recovery - As we continue to recover from the devastation of Harvey, we must fund recovery operations and assist families as they rebuild. I will prioritize adjusting tax appraisals, building critical infrastructure, and providing homeowners with better tools to identify flood risks. 2. Public Safety- As a former prosecutor and judge, I know we must ensure the safety of our communities. Doing so means we must defend the rule of law and support the first responders who risk their lives protecting our families. I will continue to work actively with law enforcement, strengthen border security and increase resources for victims of sexual assault. 3. The State Budget- As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee I know we must continue to be good stewards of the taxpayer's money using fiscal restraint. As population grows, we must prioritize education, transportation, public safety, promises to retirees, and the efficient operation of state government.
The Legislature must continue to invest in Texas students. We must recruit and train the best teachers in the nation. Next to parents, teachers are the key to equipping Texas students for a bright future. We should continue to reform education with a focus on the classroom. We created an easy to understand A-F ranking for public school districts and drastically reduced the number of standardized tests. This past session the Legislature made good on its promise to continue providing a stable healthcare option to retired teachers. This challenge is ongoing and I stand ready to address it. It is important to me that children with dyslexia, autism and other learning differences and challenges have access to the help they need. This past session I sponsored an amendment to a school finance bill that added $40 million to schools for grants for dyslexic and autistic students. I will build on this work in the coming Legislature.
We must shine a light on this tragic reality: we have over 300,000 human trafficking victims in the state. The state plays two vital roles in the fight against human trafficking. First, the State criminalizes the behavior of traffickers so that those who perpetrate these crimes and those who keep them in business can be locked up. Since 2014 as Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee on Human Trafficking I have led on this issue and have authored and passed legislation including establishing a statewide tracking system for evidence in sexual crimes, increased criminal and civil penalties for trafficking, compelling prostitution, and related criminal offenses. Importantly, I worked with Gov. Abbott to create the Governor's Child Sex Trafficking Team, which focuses on providing support services to child victims. Second, we must continue to raise awareness and provide law enforcement every tool needed to apprehend and prosecute traffickers who prey on innocent victims.
Education/Degrees Louisiana State University, 1989-1993 (B.S., Quantitative business Analysis, Computer Science Option); LSU Law School, 1993-96 (J.D.)
Professional Experience Dry & Tassin, PLLC, Managing member; Father's Joy Founder (charitable organization supporting children with disabilities and their families); Fort Bend ISD Trustee (2014-present), President (2016-present); Owner Texas Gun Club; Owner Veterans Mfg
Community Involvement Founding PTO President at Heritage Rose Elementary (Title 1 school), Exchange Club of Sugar Land, Appointed by Governor to Special Education Advisory Committee, FBISD Mentor, Mission trips to support families & educators of children with disabilities
Campaign Email
Campaign Website
Twitter @kktassin
Property tax reform, education funding reform, and accountability of bureaucratic agencies and our leaders in Austin. I believe we have failed leadership in Austin, particularly Senate District 17. We must stop the rhetoric and start offering real solutions to the problems Texans face. As Board President in Fort Bend ISD, I cut property taxes for our community while giving teachers a pay raise, something the state government could not do. We have invested in and improved struggling schools for all our students. As a mother of a child with a disability and a long-time advocate for families, I led Fort bend ISD to begin improving special education before it became a headline in the newspapers. We need a senator who understands property taxes and school finance, knows how to solve problems, has the courage to tackle problems & create solutions that actually help people. I will take this experience and record of proven results to the Texas Senate and lead us to solutions for all Texans.
As a school board trustee, I have worked for the past four years to ensure Texas children receive a quality education. I have worked on strategies to improve education in struggling schools, improve special education, reform accountability (STAAR testing) and reform school funding not only for the children in Fort Bend ISD but all children in Texas. I chaired a legislator's district advisory team on education, helped write education legislation, testified for/against various education bills and worked to improve public education for all 5.4 million children in Texas schools. Education funding, over regulation and accountability (STAAR testing) are burdening local communities, driving away teachers, and failing to adequately prepare students for college and careers. It is vital to Texas' economy and future success that we provide solutions to these problems and ensure a quality education for all Texas children. As senator, education will be a top priority.
Human trafficking is horrific, destructive and a threat to the citizens of our state. In making policy decisions, safety must be a top priority. Our legislature, particularly the senate, has not done enough to support the victims of human trafficking and focus on prevention. Studies show trafficking continues to rise in Texas and we are not getting the results needed from our programs. The 2009 victim assistance program, while a good idea, was never funded and thus never able to offer any assistance. We must change this. Our child welfare system continues to be dramatically underfunded leaving them mostly unable to provide the services needed to ensure this vulnerable population does not fall prey to traffickers. It is incumbent upon elected officials to invest in prevention, including education, and support programs and services for victims. We should also leverage private and faith-based programs and incentivize and facilitate partnerships with schools and local governments.