Proper funding of our public education system should be given top priority.
Research shows beyond question shows that investment in public education generates vast social and economic benefits for everyone – our kids, our communities, our businesses, and our tax base. We must fully fund early learning programs and K-12, expand access to community colleges, and make it possible for those who seek a college degree to do so without incurring crushing debt.
Economy & Jobs
Texas benefits from its entrepreneurial spirit, deep capital, leading technological expertise, vast natural resources, and above all, people with a can-do attitude, all working together in a productive tax and regulatory environment in the geographic center of the country where the sun shines often… No wonder we have one of the most productive economies in the world! Now, as a friend once said to me, “There’s so much to be proud of here, why screw it up?” I will not allow an anti-business, backwards social agenda in Austin to destroy or threaten the great benefits – economic and social – generated by the thriving business sector we’ve worked so hard, so cooperatively, to build. Instead, I’ll pursue policies that improve our infrastructure, simplify our tax system, and invest in the productive capacity of our people.
Infrastructure & Environment
Texas is implementing a laudably ambitious water infrastructure development plan, to respond to flooding and drought, to conserve and store water, to ensure a reliable supply of clean water, to protect and promote our diverse ecosystems. Designed to harvest the power of regional knowledge and expertise, the plan recognizes that Texas’s highly varied topography requires developing plans at the local level. I was pleased to work with Chairman Perry and Vice-chairman Brandon Creighton on the water committee to move this legislation forward (including amendments to emphasize the importance environmental stewardship in the process). Separately, I filed SB 1446 to give the TCEQ authority to regulate above-ground storage tanks, which will aid protection of individuals and businesses alike.
We want all Texans to participate in and contribute to our economy and our cultural richness. In addition to the obvious moral correctness of equal opportunity, there is strength in numbers and strength in diversity. Whether it’s equal pay, employment, insurance, or property rights, there is broad agreement on this point. Yet the Texas legislature has repeatedly rejected attempts to pass legislation that would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression; and Texas’s equal pay laws are among the weakest in the nation. If the state legislature can’t get this right, the matter should be left to local governments.
Health & Healthcare
Healthcare is a fundamental human need, and it is vital to the growth and success of our state’s economy. We simply have a decision to make: healthy or unhealthy? Healthy people enjoy a better quality of life, of course. But they also earn more, pay more in taxes, and demand less in state support. If we want to be a pro-business, pro-growth state, if we want people to be free and productive, we must expand access to quality, affordable healthcare in Texas. And we can.
To the extent any of you is playing the partisan scorecard game, consider that criminal justice is the area of most consistent fundamental agreement between Republicans and Democrats. So many great reforms that improve public safety, promote law enforcement, increase fairness and reduce discrimination.