Issues

 

Partisanship makes for an exhausting game of tug of war and most citizens are left feeling like the rope. The time for inflammatory rhetoric and blatant power grabs must end. It’s time for common sense, cooperation, and compromise.

Us vs. Them isn’t working. It shouldn’t be about keeping a district Republican, flipping it Democrat, or the other way around — it should be about every citizen being represented with fairness, objectivity, and dignity.

Faith and Politics intersect. They always have. I am a man of faith, but far too often politicians have used faith as a political lever to pull for support. I think politics are a terrible way to fulfill the great commission (to make people Christians) and a terrific way to fulfill the great commandment (to love God and love your neighbor). Faith will always inform my decisions, but my faith is not the only faith and my values are not the only values. I will represent the whole district, united as humanity in pursuit of shared goals of peace, health, and community.

Politics are best when they’re local. For TX-132, we have a plethora of issues to tackle right here at home. Some of the most critical needs include ensuring access to affordable healthcare for everyone, being serious about flood control solutions, addressing the lack of public transportation in the region, and not allowing property tax rates to make home ownership impossible. Most people, regardless of their political affiliation, want the same things — health, happiness, and wholeness for themselves and their families. While national political conversations are important, at times they are a distraction from more pressing local matters.

I’m Pro-Life, but I believe the partisan jockeying around the issue of abortion is unhelpful. To truly be pro-life, we must be intellectually honest enough to recognize that we also need to advocate for better access to healthcare for all citizens, address gun control in a reasonable way, and be willing to admit that the treatment of immigrants should be dignifying and respectful — otherwise, “pro-life” doesn’t mean pro-life at all, but merely anti-abortion.

Scare tactics and fear mongering are unhelpful. We don’t have to make enemies out of the other side to achieve progress. We can find shared values in pursuit of the common good when we’re willing to look at each other through the common lens of humanity.

The economy is in need of serious reform. The weaknesses of trickle-down economics have left millions of American exposed. A human-centered capitalism is necessary for all to thrive. Our present state of corporatism rewards the mega-rich rather than the middle class. I believe in the idea of a universal basic income and the other tenets proposed by Humanity Forward.

I will always advocate for the marginalized. Refugees should be welcomed, and dreamers and immigrants given a pathway to citizenship that is unencumbered. The poor should be given every opportunity to succeed. Equal civil rights should be available to every Texan regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. If they’re doing the same work, they should receive the same pay. In addition, I am a proud signer of the Prayer & Action Justice Initiative, calling for racial justice in America.

Many of my positions are well-articulated by The And Campaign, and indeed I believe that issues are far too nuanced to simplify as we have in recent years.

Flooding remains a vulnerability for District 132. I support the construction of a third reservoir, the increased funding for buyout programs for houses already built in floodplains, legislation to cease further development in these at-risk areas in flood plains, and support for The Katy Prairie Conservancy in order for them to achieve their master plan and preserve more open space north of Katy. 

Additionally, outside District 132, I support the plan to construct the “Ike Dike,” providing additional protection for downtown Houston in the event of a direct hit to our coastline. Even with these high-priced items all being done, we’d spend less than we do on the clean up of a major hurricane. (Hurricane Harvey cost $125 billion)

The problem with trickle down economics is it trickles down. While it’s slowly dripping some benefits to those in need, a handful of corporations are growing exponentially more wealthy and a large swath of our population is being left further behind. I support the idea of “human capitalism” as proposed by the Humanity Forward movement. Much needed funding could be achieved by taxing behemoth corporations (Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, etc.). 

Human Capitalism relies on the following tenets:

  1. Humans are more important than money.
  2. The unit of a Human Capitalism economy is each person, not each dollar.
  3. Markets exist to serve our common goals and values.

The focus of our economy should be to maximize human welfare. Sometimes this aligns with a purely capitalist approach, where different entities compete for the best ideas. But there are plenty of times when a capitalist system leads to suboptimal outcomes. Think of an airline refusing to honor your ticket because they can get more money from a customer who purchases last-minute, or a pharmaceutical company charging extortionate rates for a life-saving drug because the customers are desperate.

Our capitalism has morphed into corporatism, and we are overdue for some empathetic corrective action.

I support the legalization of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, for three reasons:

  1. Legalizing marijuana would save taxpayers millions of dollars annually by ceasing the incarceration of those charged with drug possession. Many scholarly articles have placed this savings between $100-$200 million per year. 
  2. Legalizing would allow the state to tax the legal growth and sales of cannabis and generate even more income for much-needed initiatives. With the potential (as some states already have done) of earning a half-billion dollars annually, funds could be allocated for healthcare, education, and other social services, helping to solve critical budgetary shortfalls in the coming years. 33 states have already decriminalized marijuana for medicinal use, and 11 have done the same for recreational use. Texas is missing out on the opportunity to participate in this industry, and therefore missing out on the economic impact legalization can have. 
  3. By legalizing marijuana in Texas we will continue to secure our border. Since 2014 the amount of smuggling activity at the U.S./Mexico border has fallen consistently as more and more states have legalized marijuana. If Texas follows suit, this number will continue to drop and make the border safer. 

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