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State Senator, District 12

THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 3. LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT Sec. 3. ELECTION AND TERM OF OFFICE OF SENATORS. The Senators shall be chosen by the qualified voters for the term of four years; but a new Senate shall be chosen after every apportionment, and the Senators elected after each apportionment shall be divided by lot into two classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first two years, and those of the second class at the expiration of four years, so that one half of the Senators shall be chosen biennially thereafter. Senators shall take office following their election, on the day set by law for the convening of the Regular Session of the Legislature, and shall serve thereafter for the full term of years to which elected. (Amended Nov. 8, 1966, and Nov. 2, 1999.)Sec. 6. QUALIFICATIONS OF SENATORS. No person shall be a Senator, unless he be a citizen of the United States, and, at the time of his election a qualified voter of this State, and shall have been a resident of this State five years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of twenty-six years. (Amended Nov. 2, 1999.)Texas State Senate District 12 includes portions of Denton and Tarrant Counties.Map: County Map - noneTarrant County Map: by county County ElectionsTarrant County Elections

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  • Candidate picture

    Jane Nelson

  • Candidate picture

    Shadi Zitoon

Biographical Information

1. Background: What training, experience, and background qualify you for this position?

2. Healthcare: What state legislation, if any, is needed to increase the availability of affordable healthcare for Texas residents?

3. Local Control: How would you balance the interest of the state versus the rights of local communities to self govern?

4. Immigration: What role should the state and local governments have in enforcing federal immigration policy?

5. Gun Violence: What are your recommendations to curb gun violence in our state?

6. COVID-19: What actions do you believe are needed at the state level to address the health and economic impact caused by COVID-19?

7. Voting Rights: What actions, if any, would you take to ensure that all eligible voters have equal access to safe and fair elections?

8. Open Government: How will you ensure government transparency (open records, open meetings) is maintained during a state of emergency?

9. Budget: How will you address the state budget deficit caused by COVID-19?

10. Vouchers: What is your position on using public funds for school vouchers for private schools and why?

11. Public Education: What are your top priorities for public education?

12. Standardized Testing: What role should state standardized testing play in the public school system?

13. Other Issues: What other issues do you believe will be most pressing in the next session of the Texas legislature, and what are your positions on these issues?

Two Minute Video Option: Comment on the recent civil rights demonstrations. (Video cannot be more than two minutes. If the video is not hosted on YouTube include the full URL to the video in the Text Response box. Do not include any other comments in the Text Response box.)

Campaign Phone (817) 488-7400
Education Bachelor of Science (Education/English) University of North Texas
Experience Jane Nelson is a businesswoman and former teacher who served two terms on the State Board of Education before her election to the Texas Senate. She represents District 12, serves as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee and is the highest ranking Republican in the Senate. A strong advocate for business, Senator Nelson has been recognized for her work on health care, mental health and education, along with her record supporting victims of human trafficking, domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Other Address Instagram: senjanenelson
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Campaign Phone (817) 381-8171
Education Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering.
Experience Quality Analyst 2010-present Contractor 2002-2010
I graduated from UTA with a BS in Computer Science and Engineering. In my day job, I work in a local automotive manufacturing plant as a quality analyst. We produce automotive parts for all types of vehicles; I am the guy who makes sure everything runs smoothly. Any problems that come up, I troubleshoot and ensure they get sorted out. I aim to find solutions to problems in the Senate, rather than making decisions based on special interests or party loyalty. Additionally, in the spirit of teamwork, I will partner with experts in crafting evidence-based policy.
It is baffling to me that we have not expanded Medicaid in this state yet. Medically, we lead the US in all the wrong categories.

I think COVID has shown just how important it is to have healthcare available to everyone at an affordable price. Texas has lost out on more than $20,000,000,000 by not taking federal money to expand Medicaid and left millions without insurance. Not to mention, the health and lives that have been lost due to the lack of medical care it would have provided.

Expanding Medicaid and allowing small businesses to enroll their employees in the program would take the expense from them and allow greater economic flexibility. It shouldn’t just be the big box stores and massive corporations that benefit from government bailouts. Why shouldn’t we use the tools available to us as one of the highest GDP producing states in the nation to help entrepreneurs through this time?
As Texans, we are generally in favor of local control, and I believe that communities should be able to govern what happens inside their boundaries. The only exceptions for that local control should be in cases where it affects the health and safety of the surrounding areas. On occasion, we have seen our state legislature betray that principle by imposing its own will on local decision making, even when it does not involve issues of community health and safety.

Just recently we have seen opposition to the decision the Austin City Council made to redirect some of the funds and responsibilities from their police to other agencies better equipped to meet their citizens needs. We should be supporting these creative local solutions to the issues they see in their community. ‘Local control as long as it agrees with me or my donors’ is not the way it should be. Local means local and that should not be partisan.
We should not do the federal government’s job when it comes to the border. Our police are already asked to do too much; we should not be adding to the already impossible job we ask them to do. The border is going to be an increasingly important issue over the coming years. Due to the lack of leadership in dealing with climate change, we will continue to see an increase in climate migration where families are forced to move from their homes due to a scarcity of resources caused by climate change. We have allowed a second class of citizens to be created and abused by people. We see workers get targeted and put in camps on the border, but nothing happens to the businesses who are underpaying and profiting off of these workers' compromised positions. I’m not saying that Texas can naturalize people, nor should we make it inhospitable to workers by increasing overhead, making it harder to hire employees, but we should be at the forefront of driving the discussion on immigration reform.
We need to make sure that gun purchases are not being made by those who should not have them, while protecting the privacy of those making the purchase. We can accomplish this by using a subsidized FFL to verify the backgrounds of transferees (and ensuring no state registry is kept). I also support legislation holding owners partially accountable for guns that are knowingly stolen/ lost and not reported to the police.

We also need to look at the cause of gun violence in our society. Mental health is stigmatized and that stops people who need help from seeking it out. In addition, there is a lack of coverage for many people. Mental health is part of your overall health and should be covered by your health insurance. Expanding Medicaid is one way we can immediately help more than a million fellow Texans have access to healthcare.
Every path to recovery starts with getting COVID under control. Once people can safely go out again our economy will recover. The key is ensuring that people and businesses can survive until the risk of COVID is over.

All Texans need affordable healthcare. Controlling a pandemic while people can’t afford to go to the doctor if they are sick or even take off work to recover is not the way to do it. We need people to be able to get the treatment they need and have the ability to stay at home to recover instead of going to work and contributing to the further spread of COVID.

Our leaders have abandoned our small businesses with orders that prevent them from opening or allow opening at a capacity that is not sustainable, while also not doing anything to help with the bills that are continually due. We will also need to tap into the rainy day fund to support people. We can expand unemployment benefits to help keep our neighbors afloat and also will help support local businesses.
We need to do all we can to encourage all citizens to get out and vote. We have the ability to do a lot of things to increase the vote, but there has been deliberate suppression to ensure they stay in place. Same-day voter registration, extended polling hours, giving everyone the option to vote-by-mail, removing obstacles to vote (i.e. voter ID laws), increased polling places, and making voting day a holiday are all things that are feasible and could increase voter turnout, and therefore, representation.
Our government needs to be more transparent at all times, not just during a state of emergency. Meetings should always be open to the public where practical and streamed or saved online, as well. Not everyone can take time out of their workday to follow the latest meetings by their elected official, but we should make sure it is easy for them to see the meetings that govern the state. We also need to reduce the cost of seeking public records through the Texas Open Records Act.
Our state and cities are going to be facing historic budget shortfalls. We will have to provide assistance to prevent them from having to decide what services they need to cut (leading to more unemployment). The only other way for these cities to recoup their losses is to increase taxes on people who live there and are already hurting from the economic problems caused by COVID. If the federal government does not pass a funding bill to help our cities it will fall on us to ensure those cities remain solvent.

State agencies have already been told they will have a 5% budget cut across the board, but it is likely that budget shortfalls will lead to a greater deficit than that for many of our agencies. We will need to tap into the rainy day fund as well as find new avenues of funding for our state. Legalizing and taxing cannabis is one way to increase funds. This would also free up money, that is spent on the failed war on drugs, to be used on more constructive programs.
I don’t support using public money for charter/ private schools. If we really want to ensure all children receive a top tier education, we need to invest in our public schools and not divert much-needed money to private entities. Charter schools can discriminate. They are not equipped to best meet the needs of today’s diverse group of learners and can turn students away. We have an obligation to reach all the children that walk through the doors of our schools and ALL means ALL. Period.
School funding must increase. Our teachers are underpaid and overworked, and far too many schools are overcrowded. Adding the new issues that have been caused by COVID, we are not positioning our teachers or our students to succeed. Several of the issues plaguing our schools can be addressed by providing proper funding.

Teachers deserve pay that reflects their status as professionals and is competitive with other job markets as many teachers leave the classroom for higher-paying jobs. The best teachers are leaving the classroom because the current public K-12 funding can’t compete with cost-of-living increases while teacher salaries remain the same. Students are the main benefactors of smaller student/teacher ratios, quality, affordable, and accessible Pre-K programs, good infrastructure, exemplary mentoring, and health programs. None of these factors can be adequately addressed by current funding, let alone a decrease in funding.
High stakes testing like the STAAR test gives us limited information about what went right and wrong during the prior school year. It allows the TEA to rate our schools with an A-F rating and this one letter cannot adequately capture the learning experience or cognitive growth of students during a school year. Current high stakes testing does not allow teachers to provide differentiated instruction. We need to measure children’s progress but current methods only measure a child’s ability to take a test. It is better to use teacher-made (Formative) assessments. This assures testing fits the content that has actually been taught. Then advancement should be decided by a committee for each student formed by parents, teachers, and administrators. This also encourages interaction between the student, their family, and the school, and allows for forming a better curriculum that fits the child’s needs.
Criminal Justice Reform: We need to reform our criminal justice industry into a system that is focused on rehabilitation and not needlessly incarcerating people for low-level offenses or the ‘crime of being poor.’

Cannabis legalization: We are losing out on a multibillion-dollar industry from which the tax dollars can help fund many programs to make our state better. We have already seen many blueprints from the other states that have already begun reaping the benefits, we should use the best of their models and create a system that has opportunity for all Texans.

Climate change: Every few years we are having 100-year weather events. Some of the effects of climate change are already upon us. We need to work to protect our state’s and our nation’s environment. Part of that comes with transitioning to the future and moving away from fossil fuels as one of our primary industries. We also need an environmental watchdog with teeth.