We must increase the amount of funding to education to provide better support for our children and teachers. I want to do this by closing massive corporate tax loopholes that only benefit large corporations. Doing so will also help alleviate the pressure on municipalities to make up funding with local property taxes.
I am against vouchers as they further erode the amount of funds available for public schools, which are already on a limited budget. I will fight to increase funding to public schools and prioritize pre-K, working to make it free and available to everyone.
We need to get back to the goal of education, which is not to simply teach to high-stakes testing.
Texas must stop the attack on women and their right to make decisions for themselves. A woman has the right to decide how many children she will have and that it is a gross overstep of the government to make these decisions for any individual.
Texas needs to prioritize healthcare for women. Since the Texas Legislature abandoned women and low-income health care providers in 2011, the maternal mortality rate has skyrocketed making Texas the leader in maternal mortality in the world. This is unacceptable. I will fight to protect and support healthcare providers to all low-income and underinsured individuals.
Texas should prohibit employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary/wage history. This is an antiquated method to artificially keep employees’ wages low and only serves to perpetuate disparate wages. I will fight for equal pay.
I am a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment. However, I do not believe that the right to bear arms is without limitation. An individual should be able to defend their life and their property with a gun. But that doesn’t mean they also have a right to own a weapon that can annihilate masses of people in seconds. Military style weapons only belong in the military. Weapons like the AR-15 have one mission which is to decimate humans rapidly. The average person should not possess such weapons.
I stand for and will fight for reasonable gun legislation. I propose the following:
· a total ban on semi-automatic weapons with high capacity magazines.
· to close the gun show loophole and requiring all purchases of guns/rifles to undergo federal background checks.
· prohibit the possession of guns for anyone under the age of 21. (hunting rifles excluded).
· Automation of the background check process throughout the U.S.
· Removal of NRA’s non-profit status.
· Remove ban on gun violence research.
· Annual licensing/training requirement for all gun owners.
· If an individual is under investigation for domestic assault or other violent act, the person should surrender all guns/rifles to local authorities until such time the individual is cleared of allegations. If conviction occurs, all rights to own/possess/purchase a firearm is lost.
· Before purchasing a firearm, one must undergo a firearm training and safety course.
· If an individual has been adjudicated incompetent or mentally unfit to rule their own affairs, then they are prohibited from owning/possessing/purchasing a firearm.
As an employment lawyer, I understand how we need to support our employees. By having a strong and happy workforce, we will have strong, successful companies, which result in a successful economy.
We need to remove barriers to employment starting with banning the box. This is prohibiting employers from inquiring about or running criminal background checks until the applicant is given a qualified offer of employment. We should not forever punish someone who makes a bad decision, especially if they are young when they do so. Employers should not be able to ask about the criminal history of an applicant until a qualified offer of employment has been accepted, and then only high misdemeanors and felonies from the last seven years should be required to be reported. There should be a law in place mandating that an applicant can only be disqualified from the position if the conviction directly relates to the job duties of the new position.
Texas needs a mandatory paid sick leave policy. Employees should not have to worry about whether they will be able to pay rent when they or their children are sick. I advocate for three days of paid sick leave to either be accrued or granted by employers after 90 days of employment.
What if I told you that you had no right to know where you came from? Or who gave birth to you? And no right to access your first medical record? In the state of Texas, this is true for most adopted adults, who are denied access to their original birth certificates. This affects their access to critical family health history, ability to obtain a passport and travel freely, and, in some cases, to find their first family in a private, confidential manner.
Restricting access to original birth certificates encourages very public searches, sometimes resulting in the “outing” of birth parents to unknowing family members before the parents are ready. It doesn’t have to be this way. Restoring access to original birth certificates for adults adopted in Texas would correct an injustice, restore privacy to the search and reunion process, and ensure that adopted people can access their own legal record of birth, something that non-adopted people take for granted. A contact preference form would also make it possible (for the first time) for birth parents to make their wishes regarding contact known. We must fix this system, which was created during a time when adoption was seen as something shameful. Let’s restore dignity to the adoption experience.
FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
According to a University of Texas study:
● 79,000 minors and youth are victims of sex trafficking in Texas.
● The average age for sexual exploitation is 13.
● 20% of the nation’s human trafficking victims have been found in Texas.
● There are an estimated 400 trafficked teens on the street each night in Dallas.
● Human trafficking is a $99 million business in Dallas.
● An estimated $6.5 billion is spent on the lifetime costs of providing care to victims and survivors of minor and youth sex trafficking in Texas, including costs related to law enforcement, prosecution and social services.
A Dallas study shows human trafficking victims have a common history of early DPS incidents combined with truancy and runaway incidents. Yet currently there is no system that allows any of the agencies involved to see each other's information, allowing them to potentially identify a high-risk victim. If elected as State Representative for District 112, I want to mandate a statewide system to allow each organization to retrieve data available to identify high-risk victims, allowing for intervention simply not possible today.
It’s time we have someone in Austin who has a passion for ending this modern-day slavery taking place on our streets.
Science is real. Facts are real. It’s time to stop denying the truth. We must take action to turn back the impact humans have made on the planet. We must let go of a past when oil and gas fossil fuels were king. We must embrace renewable energy, starting first with state buildings. Not only is renewable energy good for the environment, it is good for job growth. Texas needs to create incentives for businesses and localities to engage in recycling programs, as well as implement renewable energy resources.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
The Dallas County court system has set up specific courts to address specific issues, including courts to address drug addiction, sex crimes, domestic assault, and mental health. By making certain courts essentially experts in their area, the court system is able to better address the issues facing the offender. Instead of focusing on incarceration, the drug court focuses on potential rehabilitation and therapy. In sex crimes, the court tries to identify victims of human trafficking and address that person as a victim instead of criminal.
Dallas County has moved its focus from retribution to rehabilitation where possible. We have realized incarceration is not one-size-fits-all. By continuing to incarcerate all criminal infractions, we are building a pipeline to overcrowded prisons and continuing the cycle of poverty and dysfunction. I support a statewide system of specialty courts, like we have in Dallas, where the focus can be on rehabilitation when appropriate.
Additionally, the state must address bail reform. The system now essentially holds alleged offenders in jail if they are unable to financially secure their release. This equates to a debtor’s prison. We need to institute a system where the judiciary can decide on the potential harm to the community if the alleged offender is not held in jail. This determination should not be dependent on financial resources available to the alleged offender.