Q&A: Republicans running in U.S. Rep. District 7 race talk top priorities

Primary elections are March 3 in Texas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Primary elections are March 3 in Texas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Primary elections are March 3 in Texas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

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Laique Rehman
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Jim Noteware
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Wesley Hunt
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Maria Espinoza
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Cindy Siegel
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Kyle Preston
Six candidates are facing off in the March 3 Republican primary election for Texas’s 7th Congressional District, which covers parts of Houston, Katy and Cy-Fair. The winner of the Republican primary election will be on the November ballot alongside incumbent Lizzie Fletcher, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Early voting is Feb. 18-28, and Election Day is March 3. Visit www.harrisvotes.com for more information.


Laique Rehman

Years in district: 32

If elected, I would: [be] committed to strong national defense, lower taxes, fiscal conservatism, balancing budget, less government intervention and protection of individual freedom.


www.laiquerehman.com

Why are you running to represent District 7?

[I am] unhappy with [the] current representative.

What are your top priorities regarding immigration policy?

We are a nation of immigrants; I am for merit-based immigration.

How do you plan to maintain low unemployment rates and ensure Texans earn livable wages?

[I will] build on the success of our shale oil and gas revolution that has brought in over $200 billion dollars investment just in the Pasadena, Baytown and Deer Park triangle.

What is the most pressing issue facing the nation’s health care system, and how do you plan to address it?

Lack of competition. We have destroyed small business aspect of health. Medicare should be allowed to negotiate drug prices. We need to bring back competition in all aspects of health care.

Jim Noteware

Years in district: 26

If elected, I would change: Washington to have Washington work for the citizens of District 7. To do so, I will seek to align its interests with our priorities, lead by example and hold government accountable.

www.jimnotewareforcongress.com

Why are you running to represent District 7?

District 7’s priorities are all controlled in Washington by federal laws, budgets and administration. My focus will be to keep us safe from future flooding, to promote oil and gas exports and to achieve market-based solutions to [the Affordable Care Act] that encourage competition, innovation and cost reduction.

What are your top priorities regarding immigration policy?

Enforce existing immigration laws, including employer responsibility for e-verify. Not provide social services and other privileges (drivers’ licenses) for illegal aliens. Deny all federal funds to “sanctuary” cities and states. Create new reforms that reflect economic and social reality such as guest workers programs and path to permanent residence for illegal aliens already here with clean records and employment.

How do you plan to maintain low unemployment rates and ensure Texans earn livable wages?

Keep Texas’ economy strong through expanding oil and gas production, including export of LNG from the Gulf Coast. Earn livable wages through enforcement of immigration laws (see above) and reducing or eliminating illegal alien participation in the workforce.

What is the most pressing issue facing the nation’s health care system, and how do you plan to address it?

The most pressing issue is cost explosion. Health care has gone from 14% to 18% of GDP in the 10 years since Obamacare was introduced. The key solution is to introduce Republican-led market reforms that stimulate competition and innovation—such as selling insurance across state lines, transparent pricing and prohibitions on “surprise billing.”

Wesley Hunt

Years in district: 3 ½

If elected, I would change: the way our district is represented. Our way of life, specifically our energy jobs, are under attack right now and I'll fight to protect them.

www.wesleyfortexas.com

Why are you running to represent District 7?

My father, sister, brother and I all served in the armed forces. I did eight years of active duty in the army and flew 55 combat missions in an Apache Helicopter in Iraq. Our values and our way of life are under attack, and I know what it means to sacrifice to defend what’s important. I'm running to make sure that the Houston that I grew up in exists for my 11-month-old daughter.

What are your top priorities regarding immigration policy?

We need to make sure that, first and foremost, we secure our border to stop the flow of illegal drugs and people from crossing. Human and drug trafficking are both huge issues that we see right here in Houston. My first priority is securing the border so we can understand what is coming in and out of our country.

How do you plan to maintain low unemployment rates and ensure Texans earn livable wages?

The economy in the 7th district is one of the strongest in America, and it revolves around energy. Our energy jobs are under attack by liberals in Washington who want to pass the Green New Deal and end the energy industry as we know it. These unrealistic, unworkable policies would be devastating to our area, and lower- and middle-income people would suffer the most.

What is the most pressing issue facing the nation’s health care system, and how do you plan to address it?

We need to find ways to make healthcare more affordable. I believe the way to do that is with free market reforms that allow competition to drive down prices and drive up quality. Increased transparency on pricing, allowing health care to be purchased across state lines and more flexibility with plans would all be a good start. A big government takeover of health care would makes matters for worse.

Maria Espinoza

Years in district: 34

If elected, I would change: the ease with which criminals cross our border illegally, and the overreach of government into industry and education.

www.mariaforcongress2020.com

Why are you running to represent District 7?

I am running because I'm the only candidate with federal legislative experience and the only one who has accomplishments that placed Texas families first. I am not a politician and am not owned by open border corporations or DC Swamp donors that replace hard working Americans with an illegal alien cheap-wage workforce—I represent the people and understand their needs. We need safe, lawful immigration; prevention of federal over-reach that stifles industry and threatens our education system, and improved flood protection in Houston. These are my priorities, and why I am running to be the people’s congresswoman for District 7.

What are your top priorities regarding immigration policy?

I'm a strong supporter of our current immigration laws; I believe they need to be better enforced. We need to build a border wall and I support the president in his stand to build it. We need to fund and support our border agents, and give them the tools they need to keep our border secure.

How do you plan to maintain low unemployment rates and ensure Texans earn livable wages?

First, we need to keep money in people's pockets. President [Donald] Trump's tax cuts have done just that, and the booming growth of the stock market and GDP is proof that it worked. I support those tax cuts. Second, I intend to push back against unnecessary regulation—we can simplify other regulations to increase companies’ efficiency and increase output, and increase the demand for workers in Texas.

What is the most pressing issue facing the nation’s health care system, and how do you plan to address it?

I will push back against health care insurance companies that artificially inflate health care costs. I also will fight against hospitals that create monopolization of health care and raise prices unfairly. I will work to make room for a free market system in order for prices to be competitive. Finally, I do not support the [Affordable Care Act]—it violates the sacred doctor-patient relationship, and that is unacceptable.

Cindy Siegel

Years in district: more than 35

If elected, I would change: the bureaucratic red tape that burdens appropriated money after a natural disaster. We must simplify the process to get much needed dollars for recovery and mitigation projects.

www.cindysiegel.com

Why are you running to represent District 7?

I am running to fight against the socialist policies that are dominating the Democrat[ic] party. I will fight for my daughters’ opportunity to achieve the American dream just like I will fight for your children and grandchildren. I am running to secure our border, defeat “Medicare for All” and the “New Green Deal.” I am running to return a conservative voice to Congress from the 7th Congressional District.

What are your top priorities regarding immigration policy?

First, nothing can happen regarding policy until our southern border is secured. Physical barriers, technology and patrol must all be part of the plan. Once secure, we must reform our antiquated asylum laws, increase our immigration courts to more efficiently process claims and create a system that moves quickly on highly qualified and trained immigration applications to fill much needed American jobs.

How do you plan to maintain low unemployment rates and ensure Texans earn livable wages?

Unemployment rates and wages are tied directly to business expansion. We must keep taxes low and eliminate unnecessary regulations to give the business community the best opportunity to compete in the world markets. Low unemployment puts upward pressure on wages as business[es] compete for workers.

What is the most pressing issue facing the nation’s health care system, and how do you plan to address it?

The most pressing issue facing our health care system is the rapidly rising costs. We must eliminate [the Affordable Care Act] and replace it with a free market system to put downward pressure on prices. Insurance companies must be allowed to sell across state lines. Hospitals, clinics, labs and all providers must be required to post their pricing online. Patients need choice in the market place. Finally, we must return decision making to the doctor and patient, not a bureaucrat in Washington D.C.

Kyle Preston

Years in district: 11

If elected, I would change: the slow progress of flood remediation work.

www.preston4tx.org

Why are you running to represent District 7?

I have been disappointed with our government’s rehabilitation responses post-Harvey, and I feel like my background in civil engineering can help the district.

What are your top priorities regarding immigration policy?

I have traveled to 30+ countries around the world and had to show proper documentation to enter every one of them. We need to ensure that our borders are protected in America.

How do you plan to maintain low unemployment rates and ensure Texans earn livable wages?

We need to open up new markets for the energy industry. We need to ensure laws are not put in place that hinder U.S. companies from being globally competitive.

What is the most pressing issue facing the nation’s health care system, and how do you plan to address it?

The cost of health care is not transparent. It is one of the only places that I spend money that I have no idea how much something costs.
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By Danica Smithwick

Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She covers public education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development, nonprofits and more in the Cy-Fair community.


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