Q&A: Here’s what Democratic candidates for Texas state Senate District 15 had to say about flooding, criminal justice and other issues

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State Sen. District 15 John Whitmire and two challengers, Damian Lacroix and Hank Segelke, are on the Democratic ballot in the March 6 primary election.

Damian Lacroix

Top three priorities: Lacroix did not respond to requests for comment.

Occupation: N/A

Years lived in District 15: N/A

www.lacroix4texas.com
lacroixfortexas@gmail.com

Lacroix did not respond to requests for
comment.

Hank Segelke

Top three priorities: improving infrastructure, criminal justice reforms, removing unnecessary regulations

Occupation: production manager at a coffee company

Years lived in District 15: 12-plus years

www.hank4txsenate.com
hank4txsenate@gmail.com

What would your top three priorities be if elected to represent District 15?

Improving infrastructure, including building a third reservoir to protect from floods; needed expansion [and] maintenance of freeways and bridges; criminal justice reforms, including abolishing private prisons and funding for testing all rape kits; removing unnecessary regulations and licensing requirements so that the economy is free to grow.

How does your experience qualify you to be a good representative for District 15?

I’ve spent the past 13 years at a local coffee roasting company, making sure that we deliver quality products that grocery shoppers and customers want while making payroll every other week and paying our suppliers. I’m focused on providing good results at a fair price, and that’s what our state government should do, too.

What bills would you plan to file or sponsor in the next legislative session?

I’ll file bills to redirect a significant portion of civil asset forfeiture funds to testing rape kits and to add procedural protections in criminal trials.

As state senator, what role would you play in flood mitigation efforts in District 15?

The legislature has to prioritize the building of a third reservoir, and I’ll work to identify the location and to fund land acquisition and construction. We can’t wait any longer.

John Whitmire*

*Incumbent

Top three priorities: health care, education, criminal justice reform

Occupation: attorney, state senator since 1982

Years lived in District 15: 45-plus years

713-868-5000
www.johnwhitmire.com

 

What would your top three priorities be if re-elected to represent District 15?

  1. Health care. I will continue to advocate for Medicaid expansion in Texas and will continue to use my seat on [the] Senate Finance [Committee] to push for increased funding and access for our many critical health and human services including mental health, women’s reproductive care, maternal mortality, and services for our disabled children.
  2. Education. The state must step up and make funding public education our top priority. We rely too heavily on property taxes to fund public education when we should be funding it with general revenue. I will also continue to oppose vouchers in any form and will work to reform our school finance system so that all of our public schools are adequately and equitably funded.
  3. Criminal justice reform. We must continue to provide alternatives to incarceration and treatment programs to low-level offenders with particular focus on keeping our juvenile offenders in the community with the services they need. Bail bond reform continues to be a top priority as well as indigent defense.

How does your experience qualify you to be a good representative for District 15?

Having the longest tenure in the Senate, I serve as dean of the Texas Senate. My experience allows me to chair the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and to sit on the Senate Finance Committee.

If re-elected, what bills would you plan to file or sponsor in the next legislative session?

Bail reform will be one of my top priorities. I also plan to file legislation to strengthen the Sandra Bland Act.

If re-elected, what role would you play in flood mitigation efforts in District 15?

The state must play a vital role in the recovery efforts by investing in infrastructure including building a third reservoir. I am fully supportive of using the state’s “Rainy Day” fund to assist in these efforts. We must also ensure that areas hard hit outside of the city of Houston get their recovery needs met.

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Zac Ezzone
Zac Ezzone began his career as a journalist in northeast Ohio, where he freelanced for a statewide magazine and local newspaper. In April 2017, he moved from Ohio to Texas to join Community Impact Newspaper. He works as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition where he covers issues within local school districts and Harris County.
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