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VOTE411 Voter Guide

State Senator District 31 - 2018

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    Kel Seliger (Rep)

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    Mike Canon (Rep)

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    Victor Leal (Rep)

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Biographical Information

Describe your qualifications for this office and what your priorities would be if elected.

Education is essential for a strong Texas. What is your opinion or suggestion for the following: Improving K-12 education? Vouchers for private schools and/or home schooling? Making higher education more affordable for students struggling with the cost?

How can the Legislature strengthen the economy, avoid budget shortfalls and encourage creation of jobs?

As a lifelong Republican, I value low taxes, local control and the judicious use of taxpayer dollars. As the product of Texas public schools, I have special appreciation for the difficult task assigned to educators with limited state resources. I have championed public education issues by relying on input from educators and often hold my annual town hall meetings at schools.
We must replace the Robin Hood system of funding public schools, which is driving the increase in property taxes statewide. Certainly in light of the new federal cap on property tax deductions, we must consider the impact to Texans and work to find a solution for properly funding public schools. College education must be affordable, that’s why I authored bills to freeze tuition and limit tuition increases. Also, I have always supported additional funding for financial aid programs and authored the bill that will require institutions to better inform students about student loan debt.
The Legislature should pass my constitutional amendment to cap the balance of the Economic Stabilization Fund and, once that cap is reached, reduce the rate of the severance tax on the oil and gas industry. This would result in a direct impact on job creation through the reinvestment of those saved tax dollars by that industry.
I have two degrees in Economics and a law degree. As an attorney, I have spent over four decades, advocating for companies and individuals in the business world. I served as a City Councilman and Mayor of Midland for 7 ½ years. My priorities would include working to (i) reform School finance, (ii) improve public education, (iii) bring control of government back to the local level and (iv) make Texas Government more cost effective.
I question the advisability of subjecting our students to standardized testing. We should give more flexibility to the local school districts and allow them to teach children, instead of “teaching to the test” The issue of Vouchers is a very complex matter. In general, however, I do support the notion that all parents should have a choice in selecting the school best suited for their child. The charge for tuition should be commensurate with the service delivered. To the extent possible, the following should be utilized to make higher education more affordable: (i) high school college credits, and (ii) technology.
Government should be limited to providing certain governmental services, the most important being the safety and protection of its citizens. Aside from those limited services, the government should allow the free market to function, with the least restraint possible. Legislators should work to make government cost effective, and strive to keep taxes and regulations at a minimum. If the free market is allowed to operate without governmental interference, the economy will flourish and jobs will be created. When the opposite occurs, entrepreneurs and business owners become hesitant to expand, which leads to the lost jobs, rather than creating job opportunities.
My qualifications for office begin with my experience as a long-time smal-business owner who employees over a hundred associates in Leal’s Mexican Restaurants. I have also served my hometown of Muleshoe as Mayor, served at the Region 17 Education Service Center and been appointed to several state agencies including the Texas Facilities Commission, Texas Finance Commission, Tax Reform Commission.

Also served as a director at Care-net Crisis Pregnancy Center in Amarillo.
Eliminate the egregious testing we now have and find something better to measure. Support our teachers by getting more funding into the classrooms including raises for the teachers. Give power and preference to parents, teachers, and students over the bureaucrats in Austin.

I do not support vouchers for private or home schooling. I do support more vocational studies. I support tax benefits for companies who offer scholarships to students to pursue higher education and also attaining specific degrees at reduced costs.
The legislature should keep taxes and regulations low and maintain infrastructure and facilitate a great education system to keep our economy strong. We attract and keep businesses with a predictable and light regulatory environment and a fair and low tax structure. We reduce the burden of our property taxes that have put our inalienable right of property ownership at risk.