Meet the candidates for Texas House District 132

0

Incumbent Mike Schofield (R-Katy) is facing Gina Calanni (D-Katy) in the race for Texas House of Representatives District 132 seat. Both candidates have experience as legal professionals and are in favor of school finance reform in Texas.

Community Impact Newspaper reached out to both candidates for answers to some of the top questions affecting their district. Their responses are below and have been lightly edited for clarity.

Rep. Mike Schofield is the incumbent for Texas House District 132.

Mike Schofield, Republican

Occupation: Attorney, representative for Texas House District 132

Experience: Incumbent for Texas House District 132, policy adviser to former Gov. Rick Perry, GOP state convention delegate, attorney

Top priorities: Tax relief, protected voter ID, school finance reform, border security

Website: www.mikeschofield.com

1. Should the state tap into its Rainy Day Fund in order to expedite and pay for flood control measures in the Houston area?

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, flood prevention is one of the most important issues affecting Katy and Cypress. When natural disasters have struck other areas of the country, the federal government has stepped up to fund the projects. U.S. Congressmen Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and John Culberson (R-Texas) have been instrumental in securing federal funding for a third reservoir in the Katy prairie to protect us from future floods.

Only after we determine the extent of available federal funding should we consider using the Rainy Day Fund for one-time expenses for flood control projects, particularly those that are not covered by either the federal government or the $2.5 billion Harris County bond that recently passed.

2. If elected, what steps would you take to firm up educational financing in the state?

Our current state-wide “one size fits all” school finance system cannot fit the needs of providing an education in districts in large counties like Harris (with 4.5 million people) and [small] counties like Loving in West Texas (with about 88 people). We need an entirely new structure, most likely one that doesn’t try to treat enormous and tiny districts identically. Instead, we need to consider a system that puts school districts into tiers based on their size and funds each size district in a way that best provides for its actual needs.

Simply having the state [of Texas] pay more under the current system won’t solve anything. The system is broken. The state gets its money from the same place the property tax system does—Texas taxpayers. If you don’t like Robin Hood, in which a portion of your property tax money goes to other districts, you really won’t like increasing the “state” share, where all of your sales tax money goes to Austin to be spread around the state. We need a real solution.

3. What should be done by the state of Texas to ensure that the border is secure?

Texas has spent over $1.6 billion to secure the border because the federal government [has not]. We need to keep working to secure our border and ensure that people who follow the rules and enter legally can immigrate here, but we must be very clear that people cannot come here illegally and expect our taxpayers to pay for their education, health care and social services. To that end, Texas will continue to supply National Guard troops, equipment and expertise to patrol the border.

4. What will you do to maintain low unemployment in the state and ensure Texans are earning enough money to live on?

If Texas were a country, it would have the tenth largest economy in the world. Our economy continues to outpace every other state because Texans insist that their government maintain low taxes, a low and consistent regulatory environment that doesn’t stifle job growth, and a legal system that discourages the frivolous litigation that wastes resources that can better be used to grow the companies that provide jobs for Texans.

The best thing the state can do is continue to provide that environment and the necessary infrastructure (particularly highways and an education system that provides a knowledgeable workforce), then stay out of the way and let Texans’ ingenuity continue to drive a thriving economy.

Gina Calanni is the democratic candidate for the Texas House of Representative District 132 seat.

Gina Calanni, Democrat

Profession: Finance director

Experience: Over 20 years of experience working in legal, financial and energy companies for both the private and public sectors in Texas.

Top priorities: Public education finance reform, flood control, affordable access to health care and ending human trafficking

Website: www.ginacalanni.com

1. Should the state tap into its Rainy Day Fund in order to expedite and pay for flood control measures in the Houston area?

A special session should have been called to address the needs of Harvey and aid in recovery, yet our incumbent representative was not willing to challenge leadership to provide support for the district and suggested that Texans should “shelter in place.”

As someone who was displaced by Harvey, it was evident that we needed assistance and support.
Equally important, we need to move away from reactive legislation and move toward proactive data driven policy solutions.

We should be developing our infrastructure projects before they wear down. Unless we focus on storm damage preventative developments, we will continue to see unnecessary large scale devastation from storms as they hit Texas.

2. If elected, what steps would you take to firm up educational financing in the state?

The problem is not constrained to Katy ISD. Across the state, school districts have found themselves in similar situations where they face budget crunches. Our state leaders have pushed the buck of financial responsibility onto property taxes and have failed to contribute enough dollars to schools to meet the needs of a growing population.

The last legislature voted for the state to provide only 38 percent of funding for our public schools, while in the same breath the legislature voted to increase homeowner’s property taxes by 14 percent.

I will focus on public school finance reform to ensure that our public schools are properly funded. This will be done by providing more state funding as cited in the Texas Constitution Article 7.

3. What should be done by the state of Texas to ensure that the border is secure?

During the last legislative session, Texas appropriated $800 million, which could’ve been used to address the deficits we have in public infrastructure, into border security.

Border security has traditionally been a jurisdiction of the federal government. Every dollar used for the state border project is a dollar that we cannot dedicate to our kids in the classroom, flood prevention and improving access to our health care system.

These are the concerns, I have heard from the constituents of [House District 132]. These are the issues that I will focus on for the district if I’m elected.

Further, as a state, we need to ensure that our citizens feel safe and we are respectful of all human beings.

4. What will you do to maintain low unemployment in the state and ensure Texans are earning enough money to live on?

Low unemployment is good, but how many of our Texans are working more than one job in order to make ends meet?

In order for Texas to be competitive, we have to invest in our K-12 public education system to prepare our children for the workforce. A public education offers not only an educated society, but also an attractive workforce for businesses. When we focus on properly funding our public education and creating a pathway to college or trade schools, we are ensuring a successful future for Texas by putting forth the best candidates that the state can offer.

Texas is an innovation leader, and in order to maintain this, we must provide our upcoming generations with the tools they need to achieve the American dream.

Share this story
COMMENT

Leave A Reply

Back to top