Q&A with incumbent Rep. Ron Reynolds, challenger Tom Virippan—candidates for Texas House District 27

Early voting for the November election, when voters will choose candidates for national, statewide and local positions, begins Oct. 13. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Community Impact staff)
Early voting for the November election, when voters will choose candidates for national, statewide and local positions, begins Oct. 13. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Community Impact staff)

Early voting for the November election, when voters will choose candidates for national, statewide and local positions, begins Oct. 13. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Community Impact staff)



HOUSTON



Texas House District 27




* indicates incumbent






Ron Reynolds*



D



Occupation: state representative


Experience: 10 years as a state representative; former associate municipal judge for the city of Houston






What are your top five legislative priorities?



RR: 1. Access to affordable healthcare; 2. Criminal justice reforms; 3. Maintain adequate funding for our public schools; 4. Address climate change; 5. Enact common-sense gun control reforms.



Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent HD 27?



RR: I have the experience, background and training to continue serving as state representative. I grew up in the district and went to local Fort Bend schools. I have a long history of volunteer service with Fort Bend ISD, Fort Bend Chamber Leadership, Boys Club and Missouri City NAACP.



What is the biggest challenge facing the district and how would you address it?



RR: The biggest challenge facing the district is to help our local small businesses survive the financial impact caused by COVID-19 to stay in business. I have worked to assist our local small businesses with the Fort Bend Entrepreneur Program to provide them resources to help them to overcome the unique challenges they face. I have fought for additional funding, provided PPE and used my platforms to encourage my constituents to shop local.



How should the Texas Legislature respond to the coronavirus pandemic?



RR: The governor should call for a special session so that the Texas Legislature can address the record unemployment, school safety, virtual learning and Medicaid expansion to address the nation's highest percentage of uninsured residents.



How will you ensure school districts are adequately funded despite shrinking state revenues because of the pandemic?



RR: I will vote to change the funding formulas to address the state revenue shortfalls and also suggest tapping into the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Bottom line is we must reallocate our resources to ensure that our public schools are adequately funded.









Tom Virippan



R



Occupation: real estate professional


Experience: real estate; education and public service






What are your top five legislative priorities?



TV: 1. Lower property taxes; 2. Strengthen education system and school safety; 3. Ensuring justice and equality for all; 4) Economic opportunity—support businesses and create more high-paying jobs; 5. Improve health care and veteran assistance



Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent HD 27?



TV: House District 27 representation is lacking honesty and integrity. I will bring honesty and integrity to the district. I am a hardworking individual and I will work hard to improve the district from its current situation. I will focus on more economic opportunities. I will not be influenced by lobbyists or special interest groups from doing the right thing for the people.



What is the biggest challenge facing the district and how would you address it?



TV: The district has been represented poorly for almost a decade. Part of the reason, the incumbent was fighting criminal issues and spent time in jail while serving as state representative. There was no leadership in bringing economic improvements. Education system needs major developments. I will work smart to bring real changes and economic prosperity in the district.



How should the Texas Legislature respond to the coronavirus pandemic?



TV: [The] Texas Legislature responded well to the COVID[-19] crisis. More legislation related to multiple areas addressing matters such as public education, unemployment, health care, adult care [and] availability of quality testing/detection systems should be needed.



How will you ensure school districts are adequately funded despite shrinking state revenues because of the pandemic?



TV: Controlling unnecessary spending should be the No. 1 goal, as there is no easy way of increasing revenue during the pandemic. Increasing taxes should not be an option. Focus should be given to allocating resources in enhancing quality of education and teacher’s development. I would suggest each school board should investigate ways of reducing budget 10%-20% in a responsible manner without affecting employments.


By Claire Shoop

Reporter, Northwest Austin

Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition and in December 2021 moved to Austin to become the reporter for the Northwest Austin edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.