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City Council Pct. 1

Susan Hale

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Please introduce, yourself and tell the voters why you are running for the Pct. 1 City Council position.

My name is Susan Hale; I moved here 16 years ago and quickly got involved in a variety of the non-profits to see what I could do to help our community. I own a small business and directly understand the impact of council decisions.

If elected, what priorities will you work toward during the upcoming term as a council member?

During my four-year tenure on the council, I have focused on aggressively recruiting new businesses to our city, have improved the relationship between the City and the County governments, and have provided greater outreach to our citizens. I will continue to make these my priorities.

As part of the team on the council, we have seen significant growth in just a short period of time. Polyguard and Pactiv have expanded their production lines with capital investments totaling $75 million and creating 35 new jobs. We have sponsored two existing companies for the Enterprise Zone program, Guardian Industries and Navarro Regional Hospital, which will lead to $55 million in capital investment. Most recently we welcomed Audubon Metals, which will create 100 jobs and a $50 million capital investment. To address housing concerns, there are currently three housing developments in progress—Cedar Crest Apartments, Wally Properties, and the Infill Program. We have also seen the addition of national retail establishments and restaurants, including but not limited to Ashley Home Furniture, Starbucks, Chic-Fil-A, and KFC. Increasing the tax base helps our citizens in two ways: the per capita cost of providing services decreases and also provides a greater variety of services and opportunities to our citizens.

How do you feel time in the private sector has influenced your thoughts on the city budget, economic development or other issues facing the city, and local residents?

It is the same concept; you don’t spend money you don’t have. This year, we were able to provide raises to first responders and lower the tax rate. In part, because we know that the expiration of a TIFF will generate enough money next year to pay for these raises. To make sure that we could fund it this year, we delayed most capital improvements.

What would you consider to be the biggest opportunities and challenges for Corsicana? How do you plan to work with the Mayor, City Manager, and other council members to solve those challenges?

While my study of the budget is meticulous, I feel my greatest asset to the citizens of Corsicana is my ability to be a voice in our community. I hosted four community forums, when those failed to gather a large audience, I took the issues directly to where it was being debated—social media. After realizing that the timing of our work sessions was not conducive to a large turnout, I asked the Mayor to live stream these sessions resulting in greater awareness. When we consider implementing or refining an ordinance, I go directly to businesses and people directly impacted by the adoption. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about issues, call me at 903-355-0949.

Corsicana City Council, Pct. 1

Arlen Swartzentruber

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Please introduce, yourself and tell the voters why you are running for the Pct. 1 City Council position.

My name is Arlen Swartzentruber. I’m simply running to give the taxpayers a voice they need. I’m a proud father, business owner, and a small government conservative. I decided to stop simply complaining about problems and instead try to step up and do something about it. Taxpayers should come first, not bureaucrats, not politicians.

If elected, what priorities will you work toward during the upcoming term as a council member?

My priorities are very simple because they represent the wishes of the taxpayers in Precinct 1. First, be sure our police officers and firefighters are taken care of! They are vital to our city so they should be treated as such. I will have their back! Second, improve communications between City Hall and the citizens. Government has nothing the people didn’t pay for so it’s my belief the citizens should be in the loop. Third is to make Corsicana an attractive option for businesses. We are being overlooked as an option with these companies despite our Prime location, Lower cost of living, and wonderful people Obviously these are big goals and I won’t be able to accomplish these things on my own but with the help of the council and other leadership we can put ourselves back on a path of success.

My priorities are very simple because they represent the wishes of the taxpayers in Precinct 1. First, make first responders a priority. They are vital to our city so they should be treated as such. Second, improve communications between City Hall and the citizens. Government has nothing the people didn’t pay for so it’s my belief the citizens should be in the loop. Third is to make Corsicana an attractive option for businesses. We are being overlooked as an option with these companies despite being in a prime location. Obviously these are big goals and I won’t be able to accomplish these things on my own but with the help of the council and other leadership we can put ourselves back on a path of success.

How do you feel time in the private sector has influenced your thoughts on the city budget, economic development or other issues facing the city, and local residents?

The private sector is all I know. I’m not a politician. I’ve never been able to push an “easy” button for revenue (raise taxes) so I’ve always lived within my means as a business owner. I’ve always earned what I’ve gotten and I’ll continue that attitude into a leadership position.

What would you consider to be the biggest opportunities and challenges for Corsicana? How do you plan to work with the Mayor, City Manager, and other council members to solve those challenges?

Corsicana is a beautiful town full of history and character! We have so much potential here it’s virtually endless. I’ve always had big dreams and that’s what I have for Corsicana. I can’t wait to get elected and share my goals and experience with the current leadership to start living up to our potential! I want to serve you! My cell phone number is 903-654-9759. When I’m given the blessing of serving you please don’t hesitate to contact me any time.

Corsicana City Council, Pct. 2

Ruby Williams

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Please introduce yourself, and tell the voters why you are running for the Pct. 2 City Council position.

I’d like to thank Pct. 2 for your support in the past. I would appreciate your support this term. I am Ruby Williams a life-long resident of Navarro County asking you to continue to support me for your re-elected candidate for Pct. 2.

I would like to continue to represent you on the City Council for the next term. I am there to help you solve attainable problems that will arise when you contact me. My contact number is 903-467-7156, or contact Corsicana City Hall and they will contact me for you, as others have.

There are beneficial services I can notify the community of. I can involve Pct. 2 in the decision-making process for our community.

If elected, what priorities will you work toward during the upcoming term as a council member?

As a council member, my plans are to continue to work towards community development, paving of our streets, housing, fair wages for our city workers, a plan to keep our fire and police departments and city departments fully staffed.

If elected, how would you continue to work toward economic development in Precinct 2, as well as Corsicana?

I will work toward possibly getting a shopping center in areas that can be developed in Pct. 2. If we can get housing, better streets, and businesses that pay a fair wage we can help our city grow.

We are all a part of the city as a whole, but my assignment is Pct. 2. There are 63 miles of roads in this precinct. Some of which are good while some need improvement. We are working with the money assigned to each precinct, to repair as many roads as possible.

Economic Development along I- 45, Highway 287 South and Highway 31 are developing well. Help is needed in many areas with housing and roads. At this time the grant which funds were attained to help alleviate drainage issues is at work and possibly will be a relief of flooding in our area.

What would you consider to be the biggest opportunities and challenges for Corsicana? How do you plan to work with the Mayor, City Manager, and other council members to solve those challenges?

The biggest opportunities and challenges are infill lots and other areas which are available for community and business development. The challenge is to get developers to utilize them. I’m hoping they will seize the opportunities as one contractor has by constructing much needed housing in Pct. 2 as well as other areas in Corsicana.

I will work with the Mayor, City Manager and other council members to solve problems, and make decisions which will benefit the citizens of Corsicana.

We are also concerned and will work with the mayor and city manager to do what we can to help small businesses downtown, and throughout the city. COVID-19 has ravaged our centers, churches, schools and other entities. With your help we will get through the pandemic which has affected all of us.

Corsicana City Council, Pct. 2

Ralph Gonzalez

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Please introduce yourself, and tell the voters why you are running for the Pct. 2 City Council position.

I am Ralph Gonzalez, candidate for Pct. 2 Corsicana City Council. I have lived here all of my life, with the exception of the time I spent in the military. I have seen the issues that the people complain to me about. That is why I decided to become a candidate in this election for councilman in Pct. 2.

My concern for the direction of local government lead me to run. I believe our citizens deserve better. If anyone has any questions or concerns, I can be reached at 903-830-0723

If elected, what priorities will you work toward during the upcoming term as a council member?

My priorities will be the safety and security of our citizens. I am also going to focus on street repair and drainage issues as well as guttered and sidewalks. I will also work to foster economic development by attracting well-paying companies.

If elected, how would you continue to work toward economic development in Precinct 2, as well as Corsicana?

I would work to communicate with my constituents and all of Corsicana’s residents to gather their input on what they want to see in our community. Additionally, I would work to meet with and recruit prospective businesses to become a part of our community. This will not be an easy undertaking, or a quick one but if successful our community will reap the rewards for generations to come.

Economic Development is a team effort, community leaders elected officials and most importantly the people must be involved and communicate in order for our endeavors to be as successful as possible.

What would you consider to be the biggest opportunities and challenges for Corsicana? How do you plan to work with the Mayor, City Manager, and other council members to solve those challenges?

Corsicana has an advantage of being in the middle of a commerce triangle between Dallas, Houston and Waco. We have access to Highways 287, 31 and I-45. We have at our disposal two industrial parks and adequate water reserves.

We have the opportunity to leverage those resources to attract businesses by highlighting logistical advantages of this area.

The challenges we face include unfinished roads and drainage issues. Although we have great police force the perception remains that Corsicana continues to face drug and addiction issues.

As any local tax payer knows we must also address our budgetary and spending issues.

As a council member, my job would be to work closely with the mayor, city manager, economic developer and other council members. My primary responsibility will be to promote our city in order to attract businesses and investment to Corsicana.

Texas House District 8

Cody Harris (R)

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Please introduce yourself, and tell the voters why you are running to represent Texas House District 8, which includes Anderson, Freestone, Hill and Navarro Counties.

When I first ran for office in 2018, I ran on increasing funding for our rural schools, lowering property taxes, fighting the Japanese bullet train and fighting for our rural values. Last session I co-authored HB3, which injected $6 Billion into our schools including much needed teacher pay raises while also cutting property taxes by nearly $5 billion. We sent an additional 1,000 National Guard troops to the border and allocated an additional $800 million to border security, even though that’s the federal government’s job. I wrote four bills aimed at stopping the high-speed rail. We passed the Chick-fil-A religious protection bill, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, and many pro-Second Amendment bills. Now, Texas is under assault from far-left radicals from around the country trying to flip the majority of the Texas House so they can cram through their own versions of the Green New Deal, roll back abortion restrictions, and ban semi-automatic rifles – all of which will kill the Texas economy and crush our rural way of life. I’m running again to continue the fight for conservative values so that Texas remains Texas.

Government at all levels have been confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, how would you characterize Texas' response?

I would characterize Texas’ response as strong-handed. Both the government’s and the public’s responses to the virus have shown us how great the divide between urban and rural areas truly is. What works for the DFW Metroplex isn’t always what’s best for Corsicana or Palestine. The Legislature must reign in executive authority next session.

Looking toward the next legislative session, what areas would you address to ensure Texas remains a leader in the coming decades?

Before the forced economic shutdowns, Texas had the tenth largest economy in the entire world. We achieved this by creating a business climate with minimal regulation and encouraging small business development across all industries. The first step toward regaining our economic strength is getting all of our business back open as quickly and safely as possible. After that, we must continue to reduce burdensome regulations and high property taxes.

Texas is known for its diversity as well as economic power. How would you work together with other representatives in the region to assist businesses and potential members of the workforce in rural communities?

We have to extend Chapter 313 of the Tax Code to allow rural areas like ours the opportunity to attract new industries to the area. In addition, we must continue our efforts toward creating a skilled workforce, which is why I will be filing a bill next session to allow Navarro College to be able to offer baccalaureate degrees in nursing and other high-demand fields. Accomplishing these things cannot be done without having strong relationships with other representatives. My track record of having four bills passing both chambers and signed into law by the Governor proves that I know how to work with others to get results for our district. I would be honored to continue serving as the Representative for House District 8 next session.

Texas House District 8

Ed Adams (L)

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Please introduce yourself, and tell the voters why you are running to represent Texas House District 8, which includes Anderson, Freestone, Hill and Navarro Counties.

I am Ed Adams and have been living in Navarro County since 1997. I was born and graduated high school in Wilmington, Delaware. I graduated from University of Southwestern Louisiana, now University of Louisiana, Lafayette, with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. I was a platoon sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve. I currently work at Pactiv in Corsicana.

I am running for Representative of the Texas House, District 8, mainly to give voters a choice. First, since the Democratic Party is not running a candidate, without me, there would be no choice in general election and there wasn’t a choice in even the Republican primary. Second, my opponent did not want you to have a choice as he was party to a lawsuit to remove me from your ballot; it failed. Lastly, I want voters in District 8 to have a choice for a candidate who will represent something other than their party.

I am running as a Libertarian because I believe in liberty at all levels. This means less government controls, less taxes, less impediments to how you want to run your life. These were the principals that our country was founded upon and what Texans revere.

Government at all levels have been confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, how would you characterize Texas' response?

COVID-19 has created a chaotic panic throughout the country due to a lack of planning and organized response. Given the diversity of the country, and of Texas, a one-size-fits-all response is not effective. The state response, guided by Gov. Abbott, has been inconsistent and harmful. The state should provide guidance with the best possible current information to cities and counties and leave it that. What might work in Houston or Dallas isn’t appropriate for this district which is mostly rural. This also gives local citizens more say in how they are governed.

Looking toward to the next legislative session what areas would you address to ensure Texas remains a leader in the coming decades?

My opponent is quite proud of a tax bill to reduce property taxes. Unfortunately, this same tax bill increases sales taxes to not only cover the loss of property tax, but increase revenue to the state. Last I checked, that is a tax increase and not a tax decrease. Furthermore, it is making the tax more regressive as the biggest benefactors from a property tax decrease would be homeowners with large houses while everyone would pay the increased sales tax. This bill would benefit people in the suburbs of large cities more than people of this district. It needs to be rewritten to be a real tax decrease.

To offset the losses from a property tax decrease, the budget needs to be reduced. The budget needs reduction anyway as it is not balanced. Unlike the federal government, Texas cannot print its own currency to offset deficits. We do not need to leave our children and grandchildren an indebted state.

Lastly, we need to stop sending unfunded mandates down to cities and counties. I would rather not send any mandates from the state downward but if we must, then the state needs to give local governments the funds needed to implement the mandates.

Texas is known for its diversity as well as economic power. How would you work together with other representatives in the region to assist businesses and potential members of the workforce in rural communities?

I believe the best way to improve our communities is to get rid of as much government red tape as possible. A top down, government hand is not the way to improve the community. I would fight to remove red tape wherever possible and streamline new and existing businesses and farms. The power needs to be removed from the government and given back to the citizens.

U.S. House of Representatives

6th District of Texas

Ron Wright

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Please introduce yourself, tell the voters why you’re running.

I’m Ron Wright, and I’m running for second term as your Congressman for the 6th Congressional District. I’ve spent most of my adult life dedicated to public service as a community volunteer, serving on boards and commissions, and in elected capacity. After 35 years in the private sector, I served as an elected official at the city, county and federal levels. I’m married, have three grown children, six grandchildren, and two Labrador Retrievers. I am running to continue to work with other Members of Congress to find common-sense solutions to problems we face here at home. The people of our district deserve representation that will provide top-tier constituent services while voting the values Texans want to see more of in Washington.

If elected what would your priorities be during the next Congress?

My priorities have remained consistent. That includes Constituent Services at home, and standing up for common-sense, conservative values in Washington. Constituent services are the bedrock of my job. I will continue my emphasis on responsiveness to constituent requests for  our office to assist with veteran’s benefits and services, help with passports and visas, assistance with Social Security and Medicare, and any other concerns you bring me. In Washington, I serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee and Education and Labor Committee. I will push for real healthcare reform, ensuring all Americans have access to high quality, affordable healthcare; all students have access to affordable, world-class education under local control; reduce burdensome regulations and expand opportunities for farmers and small businesses; fight human trafficking both at home and abroad; ensure true border security; put our economy back in full force, return to the record breaking economic growth we experienced before the pandemic; return fiscal sanity to Washington.

Polls show the American public desires bipartisan efforts. What issues would  you seek compromise?

In my first term, I have successfully worked across the aisle to get bills passed expanding education opportunities; expanding foreign markets for U.S. energy suppliers; helping U.S. companies compete against Russia and Communist China in developing nations, especially in infrastructure and telecommunications. I am co-sponsor in the House of Sen. Cornyn’s Jenna’s Law, that helps identify and report child abuse. I worked with Rep. Collin Allred to open a new VA hospital in Garland; I worked with  Rep. Marc Veasey to bring the National Medal of Honor Museum to  Arlington.

In the next Congress, I will continue to work across the aisle to reduce  drug pricing without sacrificing research and innovation; expand affordable coverage for all Americans while protecting pre-existing conditions; continue to expand and innovate centers for non-college  education opportunities ensuring that all Americans have access to good paying jobs; keep our promises to seniors and fully fund Social Security and Medicare.

What issues have 6th District Constituents brought to you during this unusual campaign season?

They want to get the nation back on its feet and use what we have learned in the past year to be prepared for a crisis like this in the future. They are concerned about their unemployment benefits, small business loans, and getting kids safely back in school. They want us to support our law enforcement officials and do not want the police defunded. They want us to protect the freedoms and security of their families.

Closing:

The problems facing our nation, while serious, are not insurmountable. We are Americans, we are strong, we are free, and we will get through this pandemic stronger than ever before. It is my honor to represent the people of the 6th District in the United States Congress, and I would be honored to serve another term as your Congressman.

U.S. House of Representatives

Congressional District 6

Melanie Black (L)

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Please introduce yourself, and tell the voters why you are running to represent the people in Texas’s Sixth District, which is Navarro, Ellis and a portion of Tarrant counties in Congress.

I am a Libertarian running for the United States House of Representatives for Congressional District 6 in Texas, covering Ellis, Navarro, and southeast Tarrant County.

I am 58-years-old and work as an RN case manager, and have worked in nursing for 30 years.

Political views are libertarian/conservative.

My political experience thus far:

Twice an alternate/delegate to the Texas Republican state conventions, 2010 and 2012

Delegate to the Libertarian National Convention in 2018

Delegate to the Texas Libertarian state convention in 2018 and 2020

Elected chair to of the Libertarian Party of Navarro County in 2018 and 2020

I left the Republican Party after seeing little difference in the growth of government power and spending between the Republicans and Democrats.

My interest in running for Congress is a desire to help support the growth of the liberty movement as promoted by the Libertarian Party, both in Texas and the US.

It's my hope to introduce more people to the concept of small government and personal freedom.

My goal is to promote a message of liberty and promote more choices in electing our representatives.

For too long, the Duopoly of the Democrat and Republican Parties have maintained control and worked together to suppress alternate party candidates.

If elected, what would your priorities be during the next Congress?

• Moving toward an end to income tax or at least moving to a fair tax plan

• Working toward making Social Security voluntary

• Looking into the spiraling costs of healthcare and seeing where the government contributes to them, with an eye to decreasing that wherever possible. Along with this would be exploring options for people to have health coverage that they can afford.

Polls show the American public desires bipartisan efforts from their Representatives, what issues would you look to seek compromise?

I have confidence that it will be possible to work together with both parties on issues yet to be determined. Any legislation seeking increased liberty and less government is very likely going to have my support.

What issues have District Six residents brought up to you during this unconventional campaign season?

COVID-19 is the biggest issue right now. People are fearful of the possible long term effects of this virus; at the same time many people want the economy fully opened up. They are being led to believe a relief bill is coming, but Congress is dragging it's feet on it's passage.

Another hotly contested issue is the High Speed Rail project. There is little doubt it will be a huge expenditure of money, cause a lot of ill will with the eminent domain that it'll require, and the need for fast travel from DFW to Houston at such a high cost is questionable at best.

U.S. House of Representatives

Congressional District 6

Stephen Daniel

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Please introduce yourself, and tell the voters why you are running to represent the people in Texas’s Sixth District, which includes Navarro, Ellis and a portion of Tarrant counties in Congress.

I’m running for Congress because it’s time for independent leaders who will put people over party politics. I was born and raised in Texas, became the first in my family to graduate from college, and started a small waste disposal business from the ground up. The number one reason why I’m running is because of health care and Washington D.C.’s inability to handle it. Washington is broken because too many politicians like my opponent, Ron Wright, care more about loyalty to their party than working for the people they were elected to represent. Instead, he has been a yes-man for President Trump, voting with him 96% of the time. Wright’s extreme views are dangerous and out of touch with common-sense North Texas values. He has written op-eds criticizing what he calls "Black English," suggesting hanging bodies over barbed wire fences, and having Saudi Arabia-style public beheadings here in Texas. He even suggested that white males should be on the endangered species list and receive federal protection. He stood by these extreme statements this summer when repeatedly asked to refute them. This extremism shows up in his policies, including when he voted against protecting healthcare for Texans with pre-existing conditions, voted against lowering prescription drug prices, and supported his party’s healthcare plan that would raise premiums. We need common sense solutions, not partisan extremism and yes-men.

If elected, what would your priorities be during the next Congress? 

My top priority will be to reduce healthcare and prescription drug costs. I have close family members and friends who struggle to pay for basic necessities. I know people who pay more for their monthly insurance premium than they do for their monthly mortgage, and that should strike any person as wrong. As a lawyer, I take on insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations on behalf of working Texans, but that’s not enough: change needs to come from the top. Everyone deserves access to quality healthcare and life-saving medicine without breaking the bank. If elected, I will protect coverage for  those with pre-existing conditions and fight for lower prescription drug prices for everyone.

Polls show the American public desires bipartisan efforts from their Representatives, what issues would you look to seek compromise?

I live in a very small town that is predominantly conservative. I’m no stranger to compromise and consensus. Not only will I need to work with different representatives from across the country – I will need to work with the various representatives from my own state, many of whom I differ with politically. If elected, I promise to work with anyone who has good ideas, regardless of party lines, to deliver results to Texas. I won’t let extremism and partisanship get in the way of good judgement.

What issues have District Six residents brought up to you during this  unconventional campaign season?

Before the pandemic, the number one issue residents concerning residents was rising health care and prescription drug costs. COVID-19 has amplified that and has shone a light on how much having quality public health affects so many aspects of our lives. I now hear a lot about the economic struggles small businesses and families are going through because we weren’t prepared for this pandemic. It did not have to be this bad. We need to listen to public health experts, not politicians, to get us through this crisis. The federal government must ensure state and local governments have the resources needed to combat the pandemic. That includes making sure frontline workers have PPE and making testing free and fast in every community. It also means making sure small businesses get the financial support they need to get them through this crisis so they can re-open when it’s safe and bring their employees back to work.

Texas Senate District 22

Brian Birdwell (R)

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Please introduce yourself, and tell the voters why you are running for Texas Senate.

My name is Brian Birdwell. I am your current State Senator and have had the honor serving the citizens of Senate District 22 since they elected me to office in 2010. During this time, I have introduced a diverse range of impactful legislation that includes broadening access to higher education, strengthening eminent domain laws protecting landowners, expanding self-defense rights of law-abiding gun owners, strengthening legislative oversight of state river authorities, increasing technical and associate-degree options for high school graduates and adult students, serving Texas veterans and their family members, and authoring the strongest border security package in Texas history – the Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act. In 2017, I led the successful effort to make Texas the eleventh state in the nation, to pass a resolution and corresponding legislation calling for an Article V convention of states. And during the last legislative session, I passed impactful legislation that made the first significant changes to the alcoholic and beverage code in decades as well as legislation giving taxpayers more ability to control taxes through via bond election reforms.

I am running for re-election to the Texas Senate to continue the fight to protect the rights of all Texans from government overreach and to protect life, defend our Second Amendment rights, and to keep our taxes low so we can keep Texas strong, prosperous and a bastion of freedom.

If elected, which issues would you like to focus on during the next session of the Texas Senate?

First, the main topic of the 87th Legislature will be the impact the pandemic has had on the lives and rights of the citizens of Texas. The shutdown has brought my attention to a structural issue in state statute regarding the Governor's authority to issue an emergency declaration in perpetuity without legislative input. One of my main maxims is that we have to legislate to structure, not to personality.

This pandemic is unprecedented as it relates to current statutes, and something that the State has never been through. Gubernatorial Emergency Disaster Declarations serve an important purpose, and historically, are not used for longer than 30 or 60 days. Because the state has not experienced a pandemic like this one, the current statute has worked. However, the pandemic has proved that legislation is needed to ensure checks and balances are in place. I am working on legislation that will ensure that if an unprecedented pandemic happens in the future, a Governor will be required to involve the Legislature and receive legislative approval if an emergency declaration goes past a specific time and involves a majority of the population in the state. In addition to this important legislation, Texas has a $4.6 billion deficit, which will require reductions to state agencies and programs to balance the State's budget as required by state law. Times such as these require a disciplined and experienced state Senator to ensure appropriate and necessary reductions are made to the budget while also protecting our most vulnerable citizens.

As the Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources & Economic Development, it is imperative that we continue to support our State's energy production and infrastructure. I will ensure that Texas retains its position as a national and international energy powerhouse. I will also be continuing my focus on Appraisal District reform. Although we passed historic property tax reductions last session, that is only half of the equation. By reigning in and reforming Appraisal Districts, we will produce real and lasting property tax relief to the citizens of Texas.

And finally, this session is a Redistricting year. However, we are unsure if the census numbers will be reported while the legislature is still in session. If not, my colleagues and I expect we will be back in Austin for a special session to fulfill our redistricting responsibilities.

Both candidates in this race have served in the U.S. Army. How did military service prepare you for public service and ultimately the Texas Senate?

As is demonstrated in my daily words and actions, my constituents know that serving a career in the United States Army has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. The Army instilled in me the discipline and love of selfless service necessary to effectively represent the people of Senate District 22. As any veteran can confirm, I was also trained to follow the orders of my senior officer. In my current role as your State Senator, my commanding officer is the constituents of Senate District 22, who for the past decade have elevated me to a position of authority not above them, but in service to them.

The mental and physical rigors of the various positions I held throughout my military career developed my ability to discern important issues with critical analysis, recognize and embrace the differences between the State and federal constitution responsibilities, and rightly equipped me to protect the liberties of Senate District 22 and Texas.

What do you believe are the issues Texas faces in the next decade? What would be your approach to address those challenges?

The main issues Texas will face in the next decade stems from both the blessing and the curse of being a great state which has attracted steady population growth. If our population continues to rise at the same rate, the State will need to develop the necessary transportation, energy, and water infrastructure to support such growth. Texas, in particular, must develop a good and less expensive purification process for salt and brackish water. This will allow the coastal regions to tap into the resources of The Gulf of Mexico for potable water and allow other freshwater sources to remain upstream in central and west Texas.

Another pressing issue will be the decennial census requiring the legislature to redraw the maps of the State's Appellate Courts in 2023. In the legislative session immediately after the redistricting session, the legislature is required to consider the scope and size of our 14 appellate courts. The last time these appellate districts were redrawn was in 1983. Since then, the State of Texas's population has ballooned and shifted to different geographical locations throughout the State. This has led to an unbalanced distribution of appellate cases between the various districts. I believe in 2023, the legislature will need to redraw the appellate court maps to have 14 courts with balanced populations. This will ensure that the citizens of Texas can have an efficient and reliable court system and their cases heard in the court for which they chose the judges who sit on the bench.

Texas Senate 22

Robert Vick (D)

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Please introduce yourself, and tell the voters why you are running for Texas Senate.

I am a Texas resident for 35 years. I grew up in South Georgia, where I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in History and Political Science as well as a Master’s Degree in Government Administration. I spent the early part of my career in public service and economic development, before creating several successful small businesses. I am a resident of Granbury and have never run for political office before.

For years I have watched our Legislature make decisions based upon an extreme political philosophy promoted by a small group of West Texas billionaires. Our Legislators are fearful, and rightly so, because if they don't adhere to the billionaires’ agenda they’ll find themselves facing a well-financed primary challenger.

We don’t have a Legislature that exhibits true public service. They simply don’t put the economy, health, and welfare of all Texans first. Such considerations have been pushed aside in favor of pleasing their campaign funders. My opponent, our current State Senator, received 90% of his campaign cash from special interests, lobbyists, and corporate PACs. My campaign is funded by small donors and I have not accepted any special interest or corporate PAC money. I will represent only the people of the district, not the special interests that my opponent relies on.

My opponent has been on the public payroll his whole life, he really doesn’t know the struggles facing the average Texan. The legislation he has introduced or supported doesn’t help the average Texan. He sponsored the notorious “bathroom bill”, supported the “campus carry bill”, and led attacks on local control of our tax rates, our zoning laws, and the franchise fees assessed by city and county on cable and cell providers.

Texas wastes taxpayer money defending lawsuits, suffering boycotts, and negative national attention because of the culture-war bills passed by our legislators. This is not responsible and productive leadership, but it is what his West Texas billionaires demand. I ask you to name one thing he's done to make life in Navarro better? You can't and chances are you've never even seen him. 

He opposed legislation to support teachers and public education. The groups that rate a Legislator's support for public education all give my opponent a failing grade.

I have the knowledge, skills and experience to represent the best interests of Texans. Remember, what any Texan thinks of President Trump or Nancy Pelosi doesn't matter when it comes to saving your local hospital, fixing your roads, creating real economic opportunity and local jobs, or reducing your local property taxes. These are the things that make a difference in our lives and what your State Senator should be focused on. And I pledge to put your interests first. I'm running because I know we can do better.

If elected, which issues would you like to focus on during the next session of the Texas Senate?

First, expand Medicaid. While the Medicaid expansion was intended to be national, a June 2012 Supreme Court ruling essentially made it optional for states. Since that ruling, 38 States have expanded Medicaid. That many of the expansion states are Republican-controlled proves it isn’t a partisan issue; Texas simply lacks the political will and apparently, common sense. Because Texas has not expanded Medicaid, there is a gap between the current Medicaid earning ceiling, where people are dropped from Medicaid coverage, and the Obamacare floor, to qualify for subsidies to help pay for insurance. It is that gap that expanding Medicaid was intended to cover...but Texas has chosen not too, arguing that we can’t afford to pay our 10% share of the costs.

We have to understand that we, the taxpayers are already paying for indigent care. Since hospitals have to treat anyone that walks in, when that uninsured patient is treated we pick up that tab via our property/hospital taxes, and higher insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.

If we want true and real property tax reform and a better economy look at the benefits to be gained in Navarro County by Medicaid expansion.

There is a portion of your Federal Taxes you sent to Washington earmarked for Medicaid. Since Texas didn’t expand Medicaid, that portion doesn’t come back to us. It goes to pay for Medicaid in those other 38 states that were smart enough to expand Medicaid. 

I’m suggesting we bring our tax dollars back and put them to work in Navarro.

Expansion will provide care for 2,300 currently-uninsured residents of Navarro and bring over $12,000,000 a year into the local treasury. It will create good jobs for physicians, physician assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners, and the orderlies, receptionists, and other support staff. 

Injecting an additional $12,000,000 into the Navarro economy will lead to an estimated $35,000,000 in total economic activity. Just as it has played out in the states that expanded Medicaid, it will become the largest economic development project we've seen in years. It's just common sense.

Second, support public education. We pay our teachers $6,000 to $7,000 less than national average. Our per-pupil expenditures rate us near the bottom. Our retired teacher compensation rates dead last, 50th out of 50. Maybe we don't have the resources to be number one right away, but we need to quit racing to the bottom and start moving up. 

I'm proposing we aim for the middle; that we just become average. Under my leadership we will aim for 25th by the year 2025.

Third, criminal justice reform. We must soundly reject and replace the excruciatingly unfair cash bail system and replace it with a risk-assessment bail system. I support enacting legislation that requires people suspected of minor, non-violent misdemeanors be issued a summons to appear in court rather than placed under arrest. I will support legislation that treats drug use as a public health challenge rather than a crime.

If you cause a car wreck, you pay. If you accidentally injure someone you pay. If you commit a crime you pay the victim nothing. I support efforts to place a stronger emphasis on compensation to crime victims by the criminals themselves.

Both candidates in this race have served in the U.S. Army. How did military service prepare you for public service and ultimately the Texas Senate?

As the son of a working-class family I did not have the advantages to immediately pursue a college education. I had to do the hard work to make something of myself.  I had semi-military experience as a member of the Civil Air Patrol during my high school years. I entered the US Army as a private, because of my Patrol experience, I was placed in a leadership position as a squad leader my very first day. In short order I moved up to Platoon Commander and eventually Company Commander. Upon completion of all my training I took my first assignment as a Military Policeman.

My quick accomplishments and strong desire led me to enroll in the Army's Infantry Officer Candidate School. Eighteen months after entering the Army I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and was immediately transferred back to the Military Police Corps. After gaining valuable field experience I was recruited and became an Instructor at the prestigious US Army Military Police School at Fort Gordon.

My military experience taught me to respect, value, trust and support all members of law enforcement and the military. However, the top-down leadership skills necessary to make an Army function do not apply easily within a democratic society. In the Army you "order it so" while in civilian life we suggest, explain, present, build consensus and then ask for support. You answer to the people you serve, that's how it's supposed to work.

After my military service I graduated from college with a Bachelors Degree and later a Masters Degree in Government Administration. Not long after, I became the Executive Director of The Fort Stewart Impact Coordinating Committee answering to General Norman Schwarzkopf, and a committee of eleven public officials. Our group provided land use planning, economic development and government administration advice and services to the surrounding communities impacted by the relocation of the 24th Infantry Division. I was selected, in part, because of my ability to move smoothly between the military and civilian worlds and get things done in both environments.

The most valuable skill I learned in the military was how to bring both civilians and military stakeholders to a consensus. It is that skill I will depend on as the Texas State Senator representing District 22.

What do you believe are the issues Texas faces in the next decade? What would be your approach to address those challenges?

First, the climate crisis and the world’s response to it is having a profound effect on Texas already, and is expected to accelerate. Oil and gas have been the backbone of the Texas economy for years. The industry accounted for 30% of our total gross domestic product as little as ten years ago. However, as the world moves away from gas and oil, last year the industry contributed only 9% to our GDP.

Transitioning to clean/renewable energy is already underway. Last month the Federal Reserve of Dallas identified 192,600 jobs in the oil and gas extraction industry. Now for the first time, there are more Texans employed in the clean energy field, over 233,000!

Every economist agrees the era of oil and gas is slowly but inevitably coming to an end. We must double our effort to transition workers from this fading industry into fields with a more promising future. Let's expand vocational, technical, public and adult education efforts. It's good for the environment and it prepares out workers for the future.

Second, if you are fortunate enough to have had a good job all your life and finally get to pay off your house you'll find you paid as much in property taxes as you paid to the mortgage company. Real, honest property tax reform is long overdue. That money pays for indigent legal services, some roads and bridges, health care costs for those who can't afford to pay their healthcare bills, as well as public education. The state needs to assume more of these costs. We used to complain about Federal taxes but because of our poorly run state legislature but we now pay far more to Austin. For all of us, this has to end.

Third, we must provide broadband and good internet connections to our rural areas. Telemedicine, virtual school learning, and economic development demands better service. Our small businesses must have high-speed internet service to survive in the 21st century. We, in the legislature, must address this. We need to bring the same urgency that gave us rural electrification in the 1930’s. If a company wants a franchise in-town, they should be required to service outside of town, too.

Fourth, there should be no classification called "working poor". No Texan should be paid poverty level wages that require them to rely on public assistance to make ends meet. I support legislation that requires a living wage of $15-an-hour.

Finally, I support the expansion of workplace rights such as flex time, comp time, workplace time, for child nursing, etc., and paid family leave in all employment contracts, as well as an end to right-to-work laws. These were passed with corporate political donations, and should rightly be called right-to-work-for-less.

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