Voter Guide 2018: Four candidates vie for U.S. District 22 seat

Incumbent Republican Rep. Pete Olson faces three challengers this year for U.S. District 22. The district includes Sugar Land, as well as sections of Missouri City and Katy, and the Pearland, Manvel and Alvin areas of Brazoria County.

Learn about each of the candidates here.


Pete Olson (R)


Experience: five-term congressman, U.S. naval aviator
281-643-7103 www.olsonforcongress.com
What do you hope to accomplish in your term?
With explosive job growth and 6.5 million currently unfilled jobs across the country (many in manufacturing and the energy sector), we need to ensure job training and vocational programs are helping meet the extraordinary demands of our growing economy. While I am proud to have helped pass the largest investment in 10 years for American national security and our military, we need to continue strengthening our military and better securing our borders. Finally, I want to ensure the funds secured to rebuild and recover from Harvey are being used most effectively to assist our families and prevent future flooding.

What makes you qualified to hold this office?
My service as a Navy pilot serving overseas in defense of our country, my work in the U.S. Senate on behalf of Texas and my current work as a Congressman delivering solutions to expand job growth for our families and strengthen national security for America.  The conservative reforms I have helped pass have resulted in a booming economy, dominant American energy sector, a major reinvestment in our military, and expanded trade relationships around the world. On the Energy and Commerce committee, I have worked to expand export of U.S. natural gas to allies like India to enhance both our economies.

What should voters keep in mind at the ballot box this November?
The last two years are what a real recovery looks like. America’s labor market is the strongest in nearly 20 years. More than 1.5 million jobs were created following passage of much needed tax cuts. Our 3.9 % unemployment rate is a 17 year low. Wages are growing faster than they have in a decade as businesses hire at a record pace. We are also defeating ISIS and better protecting our nation thanks to a re-investment in our military.  The strength of America is on the rise, going back to old policies will only harm growth and weaken our country.





Sri Preston Kulkarni (D)


Experience: diplomat, Pearson fellow, Pearland to Parkland co-founder
346-291-4793
www.kulkarniforcongress.com
What do you hope to accomplish in your term?
I want to stand up for everyday Americans. I don't accept corporate PAC money because I want to serve as a voice for the middle class and focus on fixing the issues that affect average Americans the most. Rising healthcare costs are at the top of that list. When I was in college, my father got cancer, and I dropped out to take care of him. The cost of his treatment nearly bankrupted my family. That should never happen in America. In Congress, I will work to make sure no family will ever go bankrupt because of the cost of medical care.

What makes you qualified to hold this office?
I grew up here in Houston and went on to serve my country, under both Democratic and Republican Administrations, for nearly 15 years as a Foreign Service Officer. I have dealt with America’s hardest national security issues, having served abroad in places like Iraq, Israel, Taiwan, and Russia, and also having served as a foreign policy and defense advisor in the Senate. I speak six languages, which is important in a district as diverse as ours. And, as your representative, I am committed to being available to you and accountable to you.

What should voters keep in mind at the ballot box this November?
I joined the Foreign Service because I wanted to speak for American values abroad. But I came back home to Texas because right now, we need to speak for American values here at home. This is the time we must decide who we are as a nation, what we stand for. We must fight the rising tide of fear, anger, and division. Values like compassion, reason, and decency are not “liberal” or “conservative” values - they are American values. And we must fight for them at the ballot box this fall.





Kellen Sweny (I)


Experience: division manager, city of Houston Health Department
281-643-7103
www.kellenforcongress.com
What do you hope to accomplish in your term?
My first priorities are comprehensive education reform and addressing the national debt. Globally, the U.S. ranks 38th in math and 24th in science, yet spends the most per student. We must eliminate standardized tests in their current form, bring creativity back to classrooms, and allow teachers the freedom to address their students’ individual needs. Additionally, as national debt nears $21 trillion and the budget continues to run at a deficit, the CBO and OMB should be combined and reckless overspending ended. We must stop setting up future generations for economic failure.

What makes you qualified to hold this office?
Education and experience can vary, but my commitment to servant leadership is what qualifies me for this office. We need representatives who put aside partisan politics and find the best options to move us forward. We need Congress to look like our nation, represent our communities, and move beyond their focus of self-preservation. Sound bites, headlines, and grandstanding are simply re-election tactics; we need Congress to actually govern. I will work to transform the current, broken status quo by constructing the government we all deserve: a government owned by the people, working for the people.

What should voters keep in mind at the ballot box this November?
If we vote the way we always have, we will see the same outcomes we always have. Independent is not ‘lukewarm’. Just the opposite: Independent is doing the hard work of bringing together differing opinions and turning them into lasting policy. A Congressperson should represent their constituents, not a party or special interests. As an Independent, I am free to listen to this community which historically votes 60% Republican, 40% Democratic. In a such balanced district, it’s unfortunate that our current representative votes 96% of the time with his party, rather than our district.






John B. McElligott (L)


832-651-2129

McElligot did not respond to requests for information.


By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.

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