COVID-19, flood mitigation, education: Texas House District 130 candidates talk top issues in Cypress, Tomball

Before heading to the polls, see what each candidate had to say about these key issues. (Community Impact staff)
Before heading to the polls, see what each candidate had to say about these key issues. (Community Impact staff)

Before heading to the polls, see what each candidate had to say about these key issues. (Community Impact staff)

Image description


HOUSTON



Texas House District 130




*incumbent






Tom Oliverson*



R



Occupation: Anesthesiologist


Experience: served two terms in Texas House; voted “Best Freshman Legislator” first term; chosen as one of Texas Monthly’s “Ten Best Legislators” for 2019; vice chair of insurance in Texas House; chair of workers comp. committee for the National Council of Insurance Legislators






Why are you running to represent District 130?



TO: My call to public service came from God’s plan for me and my family. It was God’s calling that led me to run for office and it is His call once again that brings me back. Since my first election, I have become a respected voice for prosperity, limited government and innovative policy solutions in Austin. Many of my legislative achievements have received national acclaim and several are now national model policies. With God's blessing, I have the strength and vision to continue to serve our community, and I humbly ask for your vote on Nov. 3.


How would you address COVID-19 response and economic recovery efforts during the 87th Legislature?


TO: We must permanently repeal the unnecessary business regulations that were suspended during the pandemic to promote a speedy economic recovery. Second, we must revisit laws giving chief executives in Texas unlimited, sweeping powers to infringe upon the basic rights of Texans due to a pandemic. These laws were designed for a brief natural disaster, not a nine-month and counting event devoid of any ability of the people to oppose such restrictions. Finally, a comprehensive look at our system of state and local public health resources is necessary to ensure that we are better prepared for the next pandemic.


If elected, what would you do to address chronic flooding in District 130?


TO: Last session we substantially increased funding for flood infrastructure projects. I also amended the budget to provide funding for high-resolution flood mapping that gives consumer-friendly digital models showing actual water accumulation during historic and future flood conditions. We provided better disclosure to prospective home buyers about previous flood damage to property. Finally, I will work with commissioners court and Harris County Flood Control so that bond funding for flooding that is slated for our area is not diverted and repurposed elsewhere.


Following landmark school finance legislation in the 86th session, what are your top priorities regarding public education?


TO: The No. 1 priority is to protect the increased level of education funding I voted for in the 86th legislative session. I won’t accept decreases to this funding if re-elected. I will also continue to push for flexibility and local control in standardized testing as I did when I filed House Bill 4386 last session. I will continue to work with our local school boards and superintendents to improve public education in our district.


As the northwest Houston population becomes larger and more diverse, how do you plan to meet the health care needs of your constituents?


TO: We must make health care more affordable for everyone. Last session, I did so by banning surprise medical bills, requiring price disclosures at emergency rooms and lowering drug prices through accountability. This session I will push for upfront pricing for medical services, increased competition and innovation in the health care marketplace. I will expand convenient access to providers through telemedicine, direct primary care and community health centers. Finally, I want patients to be in control of their health care experience, not tiny cogs in massive government-run health care bureaucracy. I will push for more choice, more convenience and customer feedback tools for quality.









Bryan J. Henry



D


Occupation: political science professor at Lone Star College—University Park


Experience: over 10 years of teaching and leadership roles in public secondary and higher education systems; graduate degrees in education and political science with an emphasis on political theory and public policy; service on Executive Board of the Texas Council for the Social Studies






Why are you running to represent District 130?


BH: I am running for the Texas House to be the voice of working Texas families. District 130 is diverse and deserves a representative who will fight to ensure equal opportunity and equal protection under the law for everyone. As a parent and educator, I understand that families want what is best for their children, and I will serve the district as a compassionate, pragmatic problem-solver willing to work across the aisle to serve all residents.


How would you address COVID-19 response and economic recovery efforts during the 87th Legislature?


BH: Our current leaders’ indecision and indifference has devastated our communities, and they continue to downplay the threat of the virus. If elected, I will support policy grounded in science and the advice of public health experts. I will make sure schools receive the resources needed to educate children safely, support legislation to help people and businesses get back on their feet, provide all workers with paid sick leave and fix our broken unemployment insurance system.


If elected, what would you do to address chronic flooding in District 130?


BH: As a flood victim, I know how devastating it is when an extreme weather event upends people’s lives. Representing 130, I will fight for investments in flood mitigation infrastructure to protect homes and businesses, prioritize improvements to our reservoirs and drainage systems and ensure that developers are held to high standards. I will also push for investments in renewable energy and contribute solutions to the climate crisis that is making extreme weather events more destructive.


Following landmark school finance legislation in the 86th session, what are your top priorities regarding public education?


BH: Funding for public education is a continuous investment in our children, educators and retirees. We must increase the state’s contribution to keep pace with population growth and reduce the tax burden on property owners. In response to the pandemic, we must fully fund our schools regardless of how students opt to learn and suspend accountability ratings and standardized testing for this school year. Finally, retired teachers must be given the annual cost-of-living-adjustments that they deserve.


As the northwest Houston population becomes larger and more diverse, how do you plan to meet the health care needs of your constituents?


BH: Texas is one of only 12 states that refuses to expand Medicaid. Consequently, we have the largest uninsured population in the country and lose billions of dollars in federal assistance. I will fight to expand Medicaid to improve the health of our residents and increase funding for our health care system. I will also push to lower prescription drug prices and advocate for Texas insurance plans to cover birth centers and expand women’s options during childbirth.


By Danica Lloyd
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She became editor of the Cy-Fair edition in March 2020 and continues to cover education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


MOST RECENT

Dozens of clinics throughout the county offer COVID-19 testing services. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
COVID-19 testing locations remain open in Montgomery County and more local news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

Shoot 360 is coming soon to the Cy-Fair area. (Courtesy Shoot 360)
Shoot 360 to bring unique basketball training center to Cy-Fair area

Shoot 360 uses interactive technology to help athletes develop their shooting, passing and ball-handling skills.

With the biennial Texas Legislative Session set to begin Jan. 12, a number of bills have already been filed by state representatives and senators who cover the Cy-Fair area. (Courtesy Fotolia)
See what bills have been filed so far by Cy-Fair-area state legislators

With the biennial Texas Legislative Session set to begin Jan. 12, a number of bills have already been filed by state representatives and senators who cover the Cy-Fair area.

Harris County continues to report more confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Cy-Fair area. (Community Impact staff)
1,434 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Cy-Fair from Nov. 18-24

Harris County continues to report more confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Cy-Fair area.

Heading into Thanksgiving, Texas Medical Center continues to report uptick in hospitalizations

The total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Texas Medical Center facilities has increased by more than 50% over two weeks.

The Harris County Justice Administration Department is working to release final reports and launch pilot programs in early 2021. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Harris County Justice Administration Department makes headway on countywide criminal justice studies

The department is working to release the final versions of several studies and launch pilot programs with local law enforcement groups in early 2021.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

Nekter Juice Bar is now open in Cypress. (Courtesy Nekter Juice Bar)
Nekter Juice Bar opens new Cypress location

The new juice bar opened this weekend at the Boardwalk at Towne Lake.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Shake Shack opened its new standalone location at The Woodlands Mall in November. (Courtesy Christine Han)
Shake Shack opens in The Woodlands Mall and more Houston-area updates

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

The Skeeters will be the first-ever independent baseball league team to become an MLB team's Triple-A affiliate. (Courtesy Sugar Land Skeeters)
Sugar Land Skeeters selected as Triple-A affiliate for Houston Astros

In joining the Houston Astros organization, the Sugar Land Skeeters will be the first-ever independent baseball league team to become an MLB team's Triple-A affiliate.