Q&A: See what Democratic candidates for Texas House District 126 had to say about flood mitigation and public education reform

With State Rep. Kevin Roberts leaving District 126 to campaign for the U.S. Rep. District 2 seat, several candidates have filed for the March 6 primary election for the district, including Democrats Undrai F. Fizer and Natalie Hurtado.

Find a Q&A with the two candidates below, and find a Q&A with the three candidates running in the Republican primary here.

Undrai F. Fizer

Top priorities: Health care, urban affairs and community civility, immigration reform
Occupation: Goodwill Ambassador with iChange Nations, publisher, jazz pianist
Years lived in District 126: almost 10 years
Phone Number: 832-229-5392
Email address: [email protected]
Website: www.fizer4texas.org     

Why are you running to represent District 126 in the Texas House of Representatives?

I am running for this particular office to do my part in reestablishing a wise, compassionate, and strategic dialogue between government and constituent. In the midst of the many personal needs concerning culture, religion, and health care, many of us feel like “data” instead of people. Therefore, there is no longer trust, pride or dignity that is seen in our elected officials, and the community has lost its way. I want to do my part in reigniting a passionate and visionary connective amongst our citizens.

If elected, what efforts would you make toward flood mitigation, and how do you believe those projects should be funded?

We were all taken by surprise by this “Katrina-like” hurricane in our city. I too, suffered financial loss because of it. We need to develop a strategic team to research dams, reservoirs and bayous in our city; we need to provide adequate insurances; we need to also update our deeds of property ownership. Many of us live in homes that were deeded to our parents and did not update any information simply because many could not afford to do so. Many lost out because they were not the legal owner of the property. We need adequate training, education and information on ownership, especially amongst African-American and Hispanic communities. As for the funding, I believe our “Rainy Day” fund could be used in some of these funding options. I don’t believe the community is ready for a raise in taxes for this.

What are the most significant challenges facing the state’s public education system, and how would you address them if elected?

Many are speaking concerning vouchers. I believe that we need to re-ignite the value and spark in education concerning our children. Many children in certain communities have lost their desire to learn. They see no future nor vision. Before we address the “problems of education,” we need to address the lack of value of education in our communities. Our district ha[s] some of the best schools ever. But participation amongst students is low, and crime has risen from the hands of these students. My heart is to help change that if and when elected.

What issues do you think need to be addressed regarding health care in Texas? What legislation would you look to file or support?  

From this cause is the main reason I am running for office. I am a beneficiary of The Affordable Care Act. I believe that health care is a right for all Americans, especially our senior citizens. It should not be deemed as an “entitlement for the poor.” Just because someone isn’t a millionaire doesn’t mean that they’re poor. It saved my life. To be treated as insignificant and irrelevant is not what our community or state needs. I would fight for health care for our citizens and to ensure cost[s] remain affordable and effective. I would connect to issues that serve for the protection of health care rights and benefits, as well as issues in our urban areas. We need education and trust in our civic and civil rights and duties. We need more inclusivity in our district.

Natali Hurtado

Top priorities: Education, access to health care, public safety
Occupation: Director of Services for Hawes Hill & Associates
Years lived in District 126: 2.5 years
Phone number: 281-826-4157
Email address: [email protected]
Website: www.natalifortexas.com

Why are you running to represent District 126 in the Texas House of Representatives?

I am running for state representative to be part of the policy-making process and to make sure that laws that are being put into place are to better our society and not to divide one group from another. I am a mother of three and want to ensure that our public education system is kept strong and funds are being allocated properly to support our children, educators and administrators. I strongly believe that if we wisely invest in our public schools, they will be the very schools we want our children to attend. Additionally, I want to improve access to affordable healthcare for Texas families. Lastly, It is important that we focus on legislation that moves our state forward and not backwards. Our legislators currently are spending too much time trying to pass discriminatory laws when they should be working on issues that truly have a positive impact on people.

If elected, what efforts would you make toward flood mitigation, and how do you believe those projects should be funded?

What I have come to learn is that with flood mitigation there is no short-term solution. What would need to happen in the immediate future is a buyout of current undeveloped properties that are along Cypress Creek. Additionally, the state would need to allocate funds for the purchasing of existing properties to remove people from the flood plain to prevent what so many families experienced during Harvey from happening again. 

What are the most significant challenges facing the state’s public education system, and how would you address them if elected?

I believe the biggest challenge is funding our public education system. As it stands, we are burdening our homeowners with increasing property taxes while the state is steadily reducing its obligation to fund our schools. The current system is both unfair to residential taxpayers, including many in District 126, and is underfunding our schools. Additionally, if elected to office I would look into changing the “equal and uniform” section of Texas law, which is essentially a loophole for big businesses to circumvent paying their fair share of taxes—money that would go directly to our public schools and lessen the burden on homeowners.

What issues do you think need to be addressed regarding health care in Texas? What legislation would you look to file or support?

I believe that we should expand Medicaid in Texas. Medicaid expansion would not only insure many more Texans, it is a good deal for the state, since nine dollars in federal money are matched for every dollar of state money spent. Too many people are having to make tough decisions—deciding between whether to pay their bills or pay for their medication. This is absolutely unacceptable and needs to change. By expanding Medicaid, more Texans can begin taking preventative measures when it comes to their health instead of waiting until they are very ill to seek care, which is often more expensive and leads to bad outcomes. Additionally, because so many people are left with no choice but to go to the emergency room since they don’t have a primary care physician, it is placing an unnecessary burden on taxpayers who are having to foot the bill via their local hospital districts. If elected, I would work hard with my colleagues to make Medicaid expansion a reality in our state and make sure people are getting the care they need. It doesn’t make sense to turn away funds from the federal government for the sake of party pride. Texans’ health and well-being must come first and be a priority, not an opportunity for party politics.

By Danica Lloyd

Editor, Cy-Fair

Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2016. As editor, she continues to cover local government, education, health care, real estate, development, business and transportation in Cy-Fair. Her experience prior to CI includes studying at the Washington Journalism Center and interning at a startup incubator in D.C., serving as editor-in-chief of Union University's student magazine and online newspaper, reporting for The Jackson Sun and freelancing for other publications in Arkansas and Tennessee.


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