Democratic U.S Representative candidates for Texas District 10 election answer questions about policies, priorities

Voting for the March election begins Feb. 20, and there are several positions to vote for in the state of Texas. The following Democratic candidates for U.S. Representative District 10 in Texas have answered several questions from Community Impact Newspaper about their candidacy and what actions they would take if elected.

Tawana Walter-Cadien
Hometown: Beaumont, Texas

Experience: Walter-Cadien has a master’s degree in public administration from Texas Southern University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Prairie View A&M University. As a registered nurse she has been the quality assurance director and MMA surgery supervisor for Texas Health Steps and a Medical Case Worker for pregnant women and infants. Walter-Cadien has also been the chair for the Jefferson County Precinct 26 Democratic Executive Committee.

Top priorities: Health care, veterans rights, senior rights, national security, education

What are the biggest challenges for District 10 in the coming years?

Texas may be like a whole other country, but District 10 faces the same challenges economically as the rest of the country. While our cities may be thriving—and rapid growth there requires a redesign of our disaster preparedness, flood mitigation, affordable housing and traffic-control strategies—our rural areas are suffering from limited resources and lack of access to vital services. Hospitals are closing; mothers in labor have to travel hours to deliver their babies or receive obstetric services; family farms and ranches, and small businesses of all kinds, are being swallowed up; and children are moving away permanently because they lack opportunities at home.

As the Baby Boomers continue to retire, many are doing so with no pension or personal retirement savings of any consequence. Social Security has to be strengthened, and federal wraparound services have to be deployed across the district. We cannot rely on charitable or religious institutions alone to save our seniors from desperation.

For District 10 to maintain its wonderful variety, all communities have to be properly resourced and equally represented.

Why did you decide to run for elected office?

Prior to the train wreck of the current administration, with the Red Wave of 2010, I saw the writing on the wall. Congressional representatives—including Michael McCaul—were not representing people, but corporations and their party line. This did not fare well with me then and still doesn’t now. I am not only a candidate, but I, too, am a constituent that has been—and is still being—underrepresented and misrepresented by Congressman McCaul, who is unresponsive at best and abusive at worst. I know that I am the voice, advocate and representative needed in the U. S. Congress. I am not afraid to fight for what is right on behalf of American people, families and workers. I have spent my entire professional career and personal life advocating for the basic rights of individuals and groups. I have proven my commitment to this district by not waiting for the train wreck to come. Since I moved into my home in Cypress, Texas in 2011, I have been fighting full-force to unseat a representative who has consistently voted against women, health care, seniors … and the list goes on, ad nauseam.

That brings us to now. Americans are paying very close attention to the impact the current administration and Congress is having on their lives. Across party lines, Americans have finally—after all this time—seen that writing on the wall. If we don't change who is in Congress, America as a whole will suffer. During the 2016 General Election campaign, I was able to gain voting support from citizens who had never voted for a Democratic candidate in their lives. I had taken time to speak with them and explain the role of the United States Congress. It was during that time that their eyes began to open, and they began to realize that their representative had been voting against them. Now, even more people on the other side of the aisle are understanding the role of the United States Congress. For more than six years I have traveled tirelessly throughout the Texas 10th Congressional District, making people awaken to the fact that they can control their own destiny, simply by changing who represents them in Congress. I know that they understand now, and will vote accordingly. They know because of my work ethic within the community, that they can trust me to do exactly what I have said that I will do. I’m not afraid to fight for what is right, in fact, I long to do it. I'm also not afraid to talk to anyone, regardless of which side of the aisle they call home. My goal is to make sure that Americans have a fighting chance by having a representative who will focus on their lives when making decisions on policy. Americans deserve to have someone that will work to protect their benefits, secure their workplace, and take the long view to assure a safe, healthy and bright future for themselves and their children.

What makes you uniquely qualified to serve in the state of Texas?

This is not my first rodeo. With hard work and persistence, the voters have elected me cycle after cycle as their Democratic candidate. I have gained ground on Congressman McCaul, closing in on him. With every new endorsement, every established voter who comes to my side, every new voter who registers to cast a ballot for me, and the continued support of thousands of voters who have already done just that, I can take the seat and begin the true work of a representative, which is working for the American people, Texans in particular. Texans really need a fighter.

As I already have as a public administrator and [registered nurse] educator—and as I will in the future in the office of U.S. Congressional Representative—I have had the experience of servicing, working with and for individuals with a variety of backgrounds. It is imperative that representatives have a true sense of what actually takes place in the day-to-day lives of the majority of Americans. In order to effectively craft and support legislation to have maximum positive impact, a relationship with citizens is vital. I have—throughout both my professional career and personal life—had the opportunity to experience the highs and lows of American citizens’ lives. The office of U. S. Congressional Representative should be held by people with a depth of experience in assessing needs, determining solutions, balancing benefits versus risks and implementing plans that fill those needs. All of these qualifications have prepared me to effectively and efficiently serve in this position.

How would you improve the educational system in terms of curriculum and funding of public and higher education?

The educational system is in need of a new mission statement. Starting with pre-K, we need to prioritize critical thinking, teach our children the skills they need to learn new things and encourage them to seek out that learning. We all have to compete in the global economy, and focusing on the jobs of today at the expense of the skills to learn the jobs of tomorrow is a mistake. If we give our students a firm foundation in critical thinking, the basic skills of research, and the confidence to try new things, their educational future will remain flexible enough for them to shape their own career path no matter how radically the job market shifts.

The cratering percentage of college costs covered by federal financial aid—such as Pell Grants and Guaranteed Student Loans—is a scandal. Tuition and fees skyrocket, and middle-class families are priced out of an education for their children, unless they are willing to take on crushing debt. We are the wealthiest nation in the world, and federal financial aid must reflect our commitment to being the best-educated nation, too. It is a matter of national security, national economic growth, and national pride.

If elected what action would you take to reform health care?

As a registered nurse, I have watched in disgust the endless efforts to claw back the gains of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, when what is required is a building upon it. My nonstop fight for affordability and accessibility to health care for all is fueled by my passion for children and adults alike, who are in danger of losing their lives or becoming unnecessarily disabled, due to a failure to appreciate health care as a basic human right, and as a necessary component of a strong economy. I will continue to fight to protect The PP&ACA, CHIP, Medicaid and Medicare, in addition to initiating new health care policies that will further ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Veterans Administration should be allowed to negotiate drug prices, like any other insurer.

Parity for mental health, substance abuse and addiction must be more than a commitment in law only. Congress must exercise oversight to ensure that these vital services are provided the same as any other medical services.

Women continue to be an afterthought in many areas of medicine. Most drugs are not tested for safety in pregnant women or nursing mothers, and while more women are affected by certain diseases and conditions—such as dementia and Alzheimer’s—than men, clinical studies continue to favor male participants of a certain age and size. This has to change.

I’m a nurse, administrator and a public health educator. I could literally write you a book about the things that need to happen next. What has to happen first is an end to this irresponsible and irrational push to constrict healthcare. Lives are at stake.

In what ways could job growth be stimulated? What programs/efforts do you think would help?

Without a thriving middle class, the demand to support strong job growth will never be there. We have to restructure our economy to center work and families. We can’t continue this race-to-the-bottom with states competing to be cheaper than other states, competing to be cheaper than third-world countries. We have to stop rewarding outsourcing, and offering tax breaks to companies without any requirement that they deliver on jobs and growth in return.

I support free community colleges and tuition-free public colleges and universities, but our educational offerings have to include vocational training, apprenticeships, and internships. Federal financial aid should be available for students, too.

Madeline Eden
Hometown: Jefferson City, Missouri

Experience: Eden’s past experience consists of working as a software architect and engineering manager for technology companies like Dell and AMD. Since 2012, she has been the chief technology officer and lead strategist for Blockchain Innovation, Inc. Eden has lived in District 10 since 2007.

Top priorities: Legislative reform, electoral reform, healthcare, net neutrality, cyber security


What are the biggest challenges for District 10 in the coming years?

Environment: Federal aid (FEMA) is still needed for the areas of our district that are still in a state of disrepair after Harvey, and the other climate related events of 2017.  District 10 will need an increased Federal budget for FEMA, so that we are better prepared for the next chain of climate related events that are at this point are unavoidable.

Electoral security: The hacking of electoral systems, and voter rolls must be addressed in full force. We have a plan to rebuild our electoral infrastructure using a "trust but verify" system and proven cryptographic technology. It's time we had an election system with verifiable results, transparency and accountability.

Immigration: [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] recipients add almost half a trillion dollars to our [gross domestic product] and many have never lived outside the United States. A clean Dream Act can resolve this issue, so I will support that legislation and demand permanent protections for our dreamers. All of our immigrants need a realistic pathway to citizenship, and I will endeavor to make sure they have one that doesn’t take decades and thousands of dollars to achieve. Those who are working or wish to serve in our Armed Forces should be allowed to contribute to the American economy without fear of deportation for the civil infraction of living in the United States.

Equality: Gender, [race] and marriage are paramount to many in our district. Our fundamental right to equality needs to be secured under federal law. I will advance every opportunity to enact actual change in our system of government,so that those rights will be preserved and enforced under federal law.

Why did you decide to run for elected office?

I’ve lived in District 10 most of my adult life, and I have the experience, resources, knowledge, and political platform to take back our district. Our current congressional representation lacks a fundamental understanding of modern technology, and the dangers it presents to our society. Their ignorance has broken our country, diminished our electoral process and left us more vulnerable than we've ever been. Too many career politicians are in Washington, [D.C.], serving their own interests at the expense of hard-working Texans. It's time to change that by electing representatives who will serve the will of the people. We need to take back our country and create a secure democracy where every vote counts. I will work to make that happen.

What makes you uniquely qualified to serve for the state of Texas?

I’ve resided in District 10 for over 20 years and have been living here without adequate representation for almost 14 years. I understand that there is a disconnect between the people of our district and their representation. I take advantage of emerging technologies and grassroots solutions to better communicate with all of the people in our district. I’m promoting a platform for change that leans towards the center of our political spectrum; which allows me to better relate to a larger group of voters than our other candidates. Additionally, I have over 25 years of experience with network security and software development. That means I’m able to contribute an extensive understanding of electronic threats to our economy, national security, and way of life. While many in Congress concur that the threats are real, few have the understanding necessary to identify vulnerabilities and secure our nation’s infrastructure.

How would you improve the educational system in terms of curriculum and funding of public and higher education?

The public education system is a critical component of our national infrastructure. With the advent of our new Secretary of Education, more funding will be siphoned from public education by way of vouchers and funding for scholastic religious programs. I support a tiered and modular common core curriculum, as well as other solutions that counteract the “one size fits all” mentality of our current system. The federal government should also provide increased funding for our public schools and reduce the funding gaps to limit inequalities. We need baseline federal standards, so that children from all socioeconomic backgrounds have the same opportunities.

The total outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. is $1.2 trillion. Student debt negatively affects our economy and the government should play an active role in reducing it. When 44 million Americans pay large monthly payments on their outstanding student debt, they have less money to spend, invest or start a business. The government should not be profiting off of student loans; they should provide opportunities to students for refinancing their loans or have caps on the finance rates for student loans. Employers should be offered incentives to pay off their employees student loans. Additionally, regulations can also be implemented to lower the tuition rates for public universities and community colleges so there is better accessibility for all students seeking a higher education.

If elected what action would you take to reform health care?

The United States is the richest country in the world without universal healthcare. We need to move quickly toward a single-payer or Medicare-for-all solution. This could be accomplished by building from our existing Medicare program and gradually lowering the age requirements, year by year, until all Americans are eligible for benefits. This will effectively stabilize prescription and health care costs, streamline the administrative processes and focus on providing universal health care coverage for everyone.  

In what ways could job growth be stimulated? What programs/efforts do you think would help?

The appropriate role of the United States government as it relates to job creation, is to enact policies that provide a stable balance between the number of unemployed persons and the available jobs required by our labor force. Some different approaches to fostering a positive environment for job creation might currently include one or more of the following strategies:

  • Provide tax breaks and enact legislation to help support and grow the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.

  • Modify corporate taxation rates to facilitate increased job creation through infrastructure spending.

  • Subsidize educational institutions that teach trade skills and provide on the job training for their students.

  • Increase tariffs on imported goods from foreign nations so that American products have an advantage in domestic markets.

  • Enforce the Equal Pay Act and Title VII.

Matt Harris
Hometown: Pensacola, Florida

Experience: Harris graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in chemical engineering an then went on to work for IBM Corp., Paypal Holdings Inc., FICO and hold other data and project management positions. He also served on the Mueller Commision in Austin and the Schalkenbach Foundation. Harris has lived in the district since 1986.

Top priorities: Economic reform, tax reform, health care, trade, environmental policies

What are the biggest challenges for District 10 in the coming years?

The challenges for district 10 are not so different from most of the country. We have an economic system riddled with privileges and monopoly power. Our extremely skewed distribution of wealth is rooted in these privileges, not the workings of a free economy. We need a fair tax system that shifts taxes away from wages and productivity and onto monopoly power, particularly natural resource privileges. We also need to curb the monopolistic power of the big banks. Wall street financial wealth extraction practices must end.

We need many infrastructure improvements from transportation to flood control.

Availability of fresh water will be a continuing challenge across Texas.

Why did you decide to run for elected office?

I don’t think that either party has offered a healthy economic alternative and I want to offer one. We need a fundamental tax shift and a breakup of monopoly power generally. Free markets will never function well unless all people have access to natural resources and are free from taxation on productive activities.

What makes you uniquely qualified to serve for the state of Texas?

My perspective on economics and social justice.

How would you improve the educational system in terms of curriculum and funding of public and higher education?

I would leave curriculum in the hands of experts. There has been a huge increase in our understanding about how people learn and we need to apply it. I also believe we need to better fund education at all levels. The debt loads many students are taking on is not reasonable. We also need to be alert to ways we can use technology to lower costs. For example, some subjects can be learned from experts in recorded sessions, but I also note that not all subjects can be taught in such a remote manner. I also think we would do much better with a year-round school program. Four breaks of three weeks each could still ensure that families have time for vacations, while having much more flexibility about how to use their family time.

If elected what action would you take to reform health care?

I support creating a single-payer health insurance system. There is no real free market in health insurance or health care. Let’s face the facts and plan accordingly. We should also use the bargaining power of the federal government to lower drug costs, particularly for seniors. We also need to keep our rural hospitals open. Many have been badly hit by the Texas legislature throwing away available Federal Medicaid funds. Health services are a vital link in the vibrancy of all communities. I also support federal research into medical science. I am also concerned about the unequal access to healthcare and am still studying possible solutions.

In what ways could job growth be stimulated? What programs/efforts do you think would help?

We need to shift taxes off of work and other productive investment and move the tax burden onto the natural resource base and other monopoly structures. For example, we technically own the airwaves, which have been given over to the large telco and media companies. If we charged the annual market value of those assets that we own, we could remove almost $1 trillion (about one-fourth of annual federal expenditures) from the wage taxes such that everyone earning less than $70,000 wouldn’t pay income taxes. The tax on the natural resource would be positive for the economy because the corporations underusing them would be forced to put them to full use or let go of them to someone who would. The removal of taxes from workers would obviously be net positive. The tax would serve the added benefit of probably breaking up some of the larger corporations and someone local could get a broadcast license and server the community much better than a distant Sinclair Broadcasting Company.

Kevin Nelson
Hometown: Austin, Texas

Experience: B.S. degree from Texas A&M; graduate work at the University of Texas; PhD from Stanford. Worked several years in publishing industry and taught at Austin Community College.

Top priorities: Affordable health care, tax fairness and working to improve a dysfunctional political system.


What are the biggest challenges for District 10 in the coming years?

Editor's note: The candidate did not answer this question.

Why did you decide to run for elected office?

I decided to run because I am extremely unhappy with the national political situation, and I would like to do what I can to improve it. I would like to see a day again when most of us can feel proud of our political system instead of embarrassed about it.

What makes you uniquely qualified to serve for the state of Texas?

I won't say I'm uniquely qualified, but one thing that perhaps sets me apart is that I believe procedural problems are important to look at. We must consider not only which decisions the government makes, but how it goes about making those decisions. To that end, I place a high priority on procedural reforms such as abolishing the electoral college, ending gerrymandering, and imposing better regulation on so-called "super-PACs" [political action committees.

How would you improve the educational system in terms of curriculum and funding of public and higher education?

Among the educational policies I support are increased funding for Pell grants and Title I assistance to local school districts. In particular, we need to do a better job of ensuring the Title I money is going to the districts that really need it.

If elected what action would you take to reform health care?

There are many, many steps we could take to improve our health care system. Two ideas I like that are potentially achievable in the near future are encouraging Medicaid expansion and enacting the public option that was part of the original proposal for the Affordable Care Act.

In what ways could job growth be stimulated? What programs/efforts do you think would help?

We don't just need job growth—we need to create better jobs. Tax relief for working people would be a step in the right direction. We should also create a better collective-bargaining environment for workers so that they have more power to negotiate on their own behalf. Existing laws that prohibit harassment of organizing efforts need to be better enforced, and the penalties should be made more serious.

Mike Siegel
Hometown: Oakland, California

Experience: Siegel has worked as an educator in public schools and Teaching for America as well as founded two nonprofit organizations. He also served as executive director for Oakland Leaf in California. Siegel is now an assistant attorney in Austin and is currently the lead attorney for the city’s challenge to Senate Bill No. 4.

Top priorities: Health care, immigration reform, minimum wage, women’s rights, education


What are the biggest challenges for District 10 in the coming years?

The challenges in our district mirror the nation: lack of health care, unfair immigration policies and a growing gap in opportunity between the wealthy and the rest of us. Unfortunately, the incumbent has not taken seriously his commitment to public service and has instead acted in his own interests, whether it is approving a tax plan that transfers a trillion dollars from working people and government programs to the richest Americans; voting to end health care for millions; and proposing a wasteful, divisive border wall that will do nothing to make us safer. I will begin by supporting efforts to provide quality health care for every American. Without health care, we cannot succeed at work, and we cannot ensure the safety and well-being of our families; instead, we are faced with economic and personal ruin. Access to health care is a critical foundation for the growth of our district and nation. I will also support immediate efforts to invest in infrastructure in Central Texas and the Gulf Coast. The $18 billion border wall proposed by Michael McCaul is government at its worst—pandering and ineffective. Here in the 10th District, the first priority should be to invest in flood infrastructure. The Addicks and Barker dams in Houston were on the brink of collapse during Hurricane Harvey, endangering the lives of thousands of Texans. We need to reinforce and expand these facilities and others. We also need to rebuild bridges and roads and put Texans to work in the process.

Why did you decide to run for elected office?

I am running for Congress to fight for everyday working Texans. I am offended by the conduct of the current representative, Michael McCaul, who refuses to meet with concerned constituents and only votes in the interests of his wealthy friends and allies. Central and Gulf Coast Texas deserve a representative who will fight for workers, students, immigrants, seniors, people of color and all of our neighbors and community members who are suffering under the Trump administration. I was inspired to run by the recent gains made by Democrats in Virginia and Oklahoma and by the opportunity to run a serious campaign in the 10th Congressional District. Since the Republicans gerrymandered Texas in 2002-03, McCaul has dominated every general election. In the last few election cycles we have fielded a relatively nominal Democratic candidate, who has mounted little to no ground campaign. I was raised in a community organizing household and intend to bring a determined grassroots approach to this District.

I see the 10th District as an opportunity for us—as working people, union members, supporters of immigrant families and believers in the resistance to Trump—to start taking back Texas. Before gerrymandering, the 10th was the district of Lloyd Doggett and before that the district of Lyndon B. Johnson. I am running a campaign that will knit together some of the diverse constituencies that, when united, will give working people a chance to have a real representative in Congress.

What makes you uniquely qualified to serve for the state of Texas?

I have a lifetime of public service behind me and a commitment to engaging and representing a broad array of communities through my campaign and congressional office. At each stage of my professional career, I have dedicated myself to fighting for those who don’t have a voice at the highest levels of power. After college, in 1999, I started work as a public school teacher, training in Houston with the Teach for America program and then teaching third, fifth, and eighth grade in the public schools. I served as a teacher’s union representative, fighting against the privatization of public education and reform efforts that were thinly veiled attacks on teachers and public school districts. I collaborated with other educators to start two nonprofit agencies and provided free after-school and lunch programs for hundreds of children and youth. Through my work in public education, I worked across diverse racial and economic communities and developed a deep understanding of what it will take to reinforce the foundation of democracy, the system of public education. I became a lawyer with the goal of affecting social change. After graduating from Cornell Law School, I started work as a civil rights lawyer, representing workers who suffered discrimination and whistleblowers who suffered retaliation. I took on unpopular causes, representing arrested protestors who were fighting “for the 99 percent” and against the concentration of wealth in the hands of the very few. I also represented Latino youth who were wrongly labeled as “gang members” by an ambitious politician seeking to make a name for himself as “tough on crime.” I am not afraid to stand up to powerful forces, and to fight for what is right—even when I subject myself to criticism for taking an unpopular position. I am currently an assistant city attorney for the city of Austin and a lead attorney in the lawsuit to invalidate Senate Bill No. 4, the recent anti-immigrant bill signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. My role has been to work with elected leaders and community organizations, coordinate with city attorneys and outside advocates, and present evidence showing how anti-immigrant hysteria hurts our schools, our economies and our communities. Overall, I have dedicated myself to fighting for public education, for civil rights, and for social justice. In part because of my body of work, I have gained the support of numerous unions and labor organizations so far in my campaign, and dozens of volunteers have joined our effort to take back Texas. This campaign will undertake what no recent campaign has attempted—to go door-to-door across the 10th District, to speak to voters and see what really matters to each of us. It is my belief that many of us here are dissatisfied with the current leadership—regardless of what our party affiliation is—and that the people are ready for a change.

How would you improve the educational system in terms of curriculum and funding of public and higher education?

The role of the federal government is to support the states in providing a quality education for all students, regardless of economic background, race or disability. I would support efforts to increase federal funding through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, to guarantee smaller class sizes, well-trained teachers, culturally appropriate curriculum, support for disabled students and facilities that are safe, modern and developmentally appropriate. Congress has failed to prioritize education funding and is instead wasting tax dollars on unnecessary weapons programs, failed military adventures abroad and tax cuts that benefit only the richest Americans. I want to reprioritize federal spending to ensure quality public education and a safety net that provides a level playing field for all of us, regardless of birth. I believe that the federal government must intervene in the market for student loans, both to control costs and to regulate unscrupulous lenders and for-profit institutions. Congress must increase appropriations for Pell Grants and other federal programs that allow all of us to access higher education.

If elected what action would you take to reform health care?

I support the “Medicare-for-all” bill proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and similar efforts to provide universal access to high quality health care. Until such efforts are realized, we must preserve and expand the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid, and we must fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

In what ways could job growth be stimulated? What programs/efforts do you think would help?

I believe in the New Deal approach of FDR and will support immediate, massive investments in infrastructure as a way to stimulate economic growth and put Americans back to work. We need to rebuild and expand the flood infrastructure in Texas, and we must repair our bridges, roads and transportation networks. The federal government must also invest in rail networks and other transportation solutions that will address gridlock across major urban centers. In terms of energy, the federal government must assist American workers who are locked in failing fossil fuel industries by providing investment and incentives for clean renewable energy. Here in the 10th District, it is not enough for us to want to close the Fayetteville coal plant as a source of pollution, although of course we want clean air and water. We must also develop and invest in a fair transition for workers in those industries, to ensure that our families do not suffer due to a changing economy. Congress must also reverse wasteful and harmful policies that will hurt job growth. Tax cuts for the wealthy do not create jobs—as we know from recent scandals, when the rich get richer they do not invest in America, but instead hide their money abroad in secret accounts. So we need a fair tax policy that will keep money in the pockets of working people and those of us who spend our money here and reinvest in local economies. Congress must also take action to ensure an open Internet, and restore net neutrality. The recent [Federal Communications Commission] decision to allow preferential and predatory Internet services does nothing to benefit rural Texans who need access to information and technological services, and it does nothing to support innovative Texas businesses that are creating jobs in the new economy.

Tami Walker
Hometown: Shamrock, Texas

Experience: Walker graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s in accounting and graduated with a juris doctorate from University of Texas at Austin. She worked for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the FCC, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Department of Transportation and held other legal and executive positions for 28 years.

Top priorities: Ethics in government, voters rights, women’s rights, tax reform, gun control


What are the biggest challenges for District 10 in the coming years?

  1. Lack of access to health care

  2. Voter suppression and money in politics. I would enact campaign finance reform to prevent corporations and special interests from buying elections and influencing the votes of lawmakers. I support federal legislation to prevent the disenfranchisement of minority voters. I support automatic voter registration when obtaining a state issued ID, adequate polling locations, expansion of early voting and the prevention of the purging of voter rolls immediately prior to elections. I support nonpartisan redistricting commissions in all states and measures to prevent cyber interference.

  3. Lack of environmental protection. I support stricter standards to prevent pollution of our air, water and food. We should outlaw dangerous pesticides that result in the death of bees and cause health issues in humans. We need federal policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to reverse global warming and to promote clean energy and infrastructure.

Why did you decide to run for elected office?

During the past year, every day there has been news about a governmental action that I thought was terrible for the country—from a vote to strip health care from millions, to giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, to shooting wolves in their dens, to failing to take action on CHIP and DACA. I decided that I needed to personally do everything in my power to take back the country and make government work for people. I felt I needed to step up and serve.

What makes you uniquely qualified to serve for the state of Texas?

I have 28 years of legal experience in different industries related to energy and infrastructure, including gas transmission, telecommunications, transportation, wind farm development and engineering. I’ve worked in a lot of different regulatory frameworks with state and federal agencies. This will enable me to work across the aisle for practical solutions. I have been a working mother and understand the needs of working families. I understand the inequalities that still exists in the workplace. This district has three distinct segments: Austin, Houston and rural Texas. I grew up in another area of rural Texas, I lived in Austin for 18 years and the Houston area for 14 years. I can relate to all three populations. I am passionate about change and I’m willing to do the work implement policies that transform Texas for the better.

How would you improve the educational system in terms of curriculum and funding of public and higher education?

Public education is the bedrock foundation of American society. Our dynamic economy requires strong, well- funded public school systems staffed by talented faculty. While I support the rights of Americans to educate their children in the kind of school they choose, I believe the federal government should only be in the business of funding secular schools that serve all children, no matter their background. Pre-kindergarten programs should be universal. Studies show pre-k boosts student outcomes. It also helps families by mitigating the growing expense of child care. High schools should offer robust dual-credit trade programs in partnership with local community colleges so that our high school graduates have a head start at career training with less debt. 

Community colleges, the backbone of thriving communities of all sizes, should have greater public funding. Federal programs aimed at student debt management, including income-based repayment plans and public service loan forgiveness programs, should be preserved and enhanced. Education is not a business. Students are people, not test scores. Public schools provide enormous social, emotional and community benefits well beyond achievement numbers on paper. Support should be aimed at the whole child, not just those skills that can be measured on a standardized test. Laws and programs that help vulnerable populations, from IDEA and special education to Title IX and gender equality, must be protected and enforced.

If elected what action would you take to reform health care?

I believe we should pursue health care for all Americans, through an expanded single-payer Medicare system. If that cannot be accomplished immediately or if it must be phased in, I would propose that we stabilize the Affordable Care Act with marketing to young people, reinstated mandates, cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments and a reinsurance program similar to Medicare Part D to address high cost patients. I would also support safe importation of prescription drugs to reduce cost and the regulation of pharmaceutical companies to reduce advertising and price gouging. We should protect Medicaid programs serving vulnerable children, adults with special needs and the elderly and we should fund Planned Parenthood to make reproductive care more accessible. I would support legislation and policies to save rural  hospitals and emergency services.

In what ways could job growth be stimulated? What programs/efforts do you think would help?

We should implement a comprehensive infrastructure plan to rebuild crumbling roads and bridges; build flood control and sea walls; [and build] light rail in cities and internet in rural areas. We should create tax incentives to encourage companies to manufacture in America; develop products and jobs of the future through research and technology; lessen their carbon footprint; provide profit or stock sharing with employees; and develop and utilize more clean energy, such as wind and solar. We should develop trade deals that allow the United States to benefit from and contribute to the global economy. We should promote STEM and job training programs in high schools and community colleges for trade and medical skills and phase in a higher minimum wage. We should support labor unions, public education, and immigration reform to address labor shortages.


METRONext is the agency’s $3.5 billion bond approved by voters in November 2019, which aims to ease traffic congestion, add expansion to the METRO, and make accessibility and safety upgrades.
(Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
METRO Board approves $1.3 billion budget, discusses METRONext projects

The METRO board of directors met Sept. 21 to give an overview of the drafted budget as well as to receive public comments. It was unanimously approved at the Sept. 23 board meeting.

The Texas Secretary of State's office has launched an audit of 2020 election results in four of Texas’ largest counties: Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Collin. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Texas Secretary of State's office announces audit of 2020 election results in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant and Harris counties

In a statement released Sept. 23, the office said it anticipates the state Legislature will fund the process.

Kyle City Council voted 6-1 and approved the new citywide trail master plan that will utilize 2020 bond election funds for trails that will help connect Austin to San Antonio. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI Nation roundup: Perfect Game coming to Cedar Park; Kyle City Council approves trail master plan to connect Austin to San Antonio and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 24.

Lone Star College System was awarded funding from Metallica's All Within My Hands Foundation for the third year in a row. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lone Star College System receives funding from Metallica foundation for technical training

Lone Star College System has received around $225,000 over the past three years from the band's nonprofit foundation.

Comcast will award $1 million to small businesses owned by people of color in Fort Bend and Harris counties (Courtesy Fotolia)
Comcast Rise Investment Fund to award small business grants in Harris, Fort Bend counties

Comcast will award $1 million to small businesses owned by people of color in Fort Bend and Harris counties.

Several parents of New Caney ISD students spoke at the district's Sept. 20 board meetings about recent allegations that a student brought a firearm to Porter High School's Sept. 18 homecoming dance. NCISD Superintendent Matt Calvert stressed that no gunshots were fired at the event, and that the district is investigating the allegations. (Wesley Gardner/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI Nation roundup: Round Rock ISD trustees considered for censuring; New Caney ISD addresses allegations of student with gun at campus event and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 23.

Houston resident Marissa Hanson spoke on keeping tax rates low during the Harris County Commissioners Court public hearing on Sept. 21. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County Commissioners propose tax cuts at cost of Harris Health System funding

On average, Harris County homeowners may see lower tax rates in the next year, but it will come at the cost of $17 million in funding for the county’s hospital district, according to Harris County Administrator David Berry.

There are eight statewide propositions Texans will get to decide at the polls Nov. 2. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
8 statewide propositions on Texans' November 2021 ballot and what they mean

Brandon Rottinghaus, the University of Houston’s political science chair, breaks down each Texas proposition before voters head to the polls in November.

 It has been under construction since February 2020 and is expected to open by spring 2022. (Emily Lincke/ Community Impact Newspaper)
Construction continues on Hewlett Packard Enterprise's new global headquarters in City Place

It has been under construction since February 2020 and is expected to open by spring 2022.

 Redistricting is one of the items on the Texas Legislature's third special session, and the state Senate released proposed maps on Sept. 18. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Senate releases proposed redistricting maps as special session begins

Redistricting is one of the items on the third special session, and the state Senate released proposed maps on Sept. 18.

Gosling Road will be expanded to four lanes between Creekside Forest Drive and Gatewood Reserve Lane, including the Spring Creek bridge. (Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Construction on long-awaited Gosling Road bridge to begin this fall

The contract was awarded to NBG Constructors, Inc. on July 20, and a purchase order will be issued in September.

While vaccinations in Harris County picked up in the spring following the expansion of vaccine eligibility in December to individuals in phases 1A and 1B, they have since slowed in the summer months. As of Aug. 30, just under half of Harris County’s total population had been fully vaccinated. (Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
As vaccinations lag, experts say herd immunity may be unattainable

While the demand for COVID-19 vaccines peaked in the months following its release to the general public, demand has since dwindled over the summer months leaving 50.44% of the Spring and Klein-area’s total population fully vaccinated as of Sept. 13.