The election is quickly approaching. Voters deserve to know who their candidates are and what they represent. Up until election day, Local Profile will publish Q&As with politicians running for this year’s election.

What position are you running for and why?

I am running for the Texas Senate District 8. Government works best when it focuses on three things: what matters to you, preparing for what comes next and providing the seed capital for essential services or infrastructure the private sector refuses to fund. Our Legislature works best when a diversity of ideas, a commitment to fairness, a willingness to compromise and a bias to action exist. I bring this focus and these qualities to the legislative table. This is why I want to represent District 8 in the Texas Senate.

What policies do you hope to enact and why?

Let us start with four policies. First, the Legislature must act to protect our children and public school teachers from school shootings and violence. It is not enough to provide police with bulletproof shields as they attempt to disarm an active school shooter. We must act to prevent any form of violence from ever getting close to a school, a church, a park or a Walmart. I will work with responsible gun owners to figure out the root cause of gun violence and suicides. If gun violence ceases, then the number of guns any individual owns is not an issue.

The Legislature must repeal the Human Life Protection Act and give women back the autonomy to control their bodies and their health care. A woman’s healthcare choices must always be between her and her doctor. Along the way, let’s repeal 2021’s SB 8. Neighbors suing neighbors is not the Texas way. Past legislatures had the wisdom to provide local officials with the tools required to attract and retain businesses and development. These tools are a competitive necessity that work. Just look around. But today’s socially conservative Republican legislators are not convinced Texas still needs these tools. Why mess with an economic development toolkit that gets solid results?

Finally, the Legislature must roll back the recently enacted far-right socially conservative policies that, among others, ban books, threaten public school teachers if they dare speak the truth about historical facts, and limit accessibility to the ballot box. These policies are un-American and threaten our democracy.

What are the biggest challenges facing your district?

Senate District 8 is a diverse district that includes three counties – Collin, Hopkins and Rains. While similarities exist, each county faces its own unique challenges. Collin County continues to be shaped by increasing urbanization as its population grows to three-plus million by 2050. Its challenges include, among others, access to affordable housing, moving goods and people from points A to B to C and then back to A, continued access to fresh water, and a reliable supply of electric power. Hunt County’s needs, especially the western portion, include new transportation, water and sewer, and education infrastructure as families migrate to its affordable housing and quality of life. The expansion of Interstate 30 from a four to six-lane highway between Rockwall County and Greenville, along with continued incremental investments in NETEX (a short-line railroad), will enhance Hunt County’s economic growth. Access to reliable broadband service is an ongoing challenge for Rains County as well as portions of Hunt County. Access is the catalyst required for their economic and community development. Community involvement is what makes local solutions to local problems the best solutions. Unfortunately, recent Republican-dominated legislative sessions have advanced interests for the chosen few which impose a “one-size fits all fix” that you and I get to pay for. Our issues are best addressed locally by our elected city councils and school boards, not in Austin.

This crazy law that forces the majority of Collin County’s school districts to function as the State’s property tax collector has to stop! And few of us have any understanding how the black box, known as your county appraisal district, decide how much our property is worth. But we agree property taxes are out of control and public schools underfunded. Why hasn’t the Texas Legislature considered legalizing and taxing sports betting and other gambling? Or legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and taxing it? Let’s consider these and other new revenue sources to fund public education and reduce our property tax burden. Finally, 2019’s HB 3 is not the comprehensive public school finance solution the Legislature promised. HB 3 has not improved public education, its property tax reductions are not sustainable, and the law has created unintended, often negative, consequences. The Legislature needs to revisit and reform HB 3.

How will your policies affect North Texas as a whole?

The policies I advocate address genuine issues and needs. The majority of North Texans understand public schools lack the resources required to educate all their students and continue their contributions to our communities, demand property tax reform, value continued economic and community development and know the importance of having unfettered access to the ballot box. Women across North Texas are appalled by Texas laws which limit their healthcare choices and control their relationships with their doctors and other medical providers. North Texas city councils and school boards want local solutions to local problems and seethe when Austin interferes. North Texas will not thrive if books are banned and teachers, at all levels of education, threatened for speaking the truth about our collective history and heritages.

What are the biggest challenges facing Texas?

Texans face a stark choice this November. Will we choose to embrace democracy despite its warts and flaws? Do we really believe no one is above the law? Are we committed to “all men are created equal” along with one man, one vote? Do we trust that the authors of our Constitution intended it to be a living document, interpreted as our nation learns, grows and adapts? The alternative is a return to the segregated south and its Jim Crow laws. A society so afraid of diversity it bans books, regulates speech, and is fearful of anyone or thing that’s “different.” Elected officials are so disdainful of its citizens that they make voting difficult and subjugate the will of Texas voters to the priorities of those who hold power or have great wealth. A government that prioritizes individual rights and profits over the common good. Voters willing to embrace a tyrant who believes he, or she, is above the law and accountable to no one. Simply put, that’s our choice. I believe the overwhelming majority of Texans embrace democracy. However, there is a vocal minority who feel the world has changed so much and so rapidly that they no longer recognize it. Remove all the noise and this minority has just one demand, change back. But there is no going back, Texas and the world have already changed.

How is your district changing?

Generally, District 8’s population, along with economic opportunities, continues to grow. Collin County’s population is increasingly diverse, and its rapid urbanization has revealed issues such as homelessness and the increasing need for mental health services that were previously the domain of big cities. Given ever-increasing property values, access to affordable housing is a real issue.

Across the District, higher property values and taxes have forced some long-time property owners to sell their homes or businesses because they just cannot afford the taxes. Hunt County’s population surge has surfaced new infrastructure needs. Lack of adequate public school funding has led to larger class sizes, low teacher morale and administrators struggling to make ends meet while keeping education standards high. The ever-present threat of increased gun and other violence directed at schools has taken a toll on parents, children, teachers and administrators just as we were beginning to experience the end of the global COVID pandemic. Many in District 8 are exhausted and just want their lives to return to normal. Finally, the women in District 8 are making their voices heard as the state limits their healthcare choices and autonomy.

What book that you’ve read has had the biggest impact on you?

Following the collapse of Enron in the early 1990s I came across a book, The CEO and the Monk – One Company’s Journey to Profit and Purpose. The book describes the partnership between a CEO and a former monk as they led a small local utility to become one of the country’s largest energy providers. The leadership team believed in always doing the right thing and embracing the best its employees and the communities the company served had to offer. This book was written after the collapse of Enron and as management teams increasingly embraced and incorporated the shareholder value concept in their strategic thinking and planning. The CEO and the Monk is a total and complete contrast to both. The concept of “doing the right thing” significantly impacted my decision-making process. While I always strived to do the right thing, after reading this book I consciously incorporated this question in my decision-making process. Now, whenever I am stuck in a dilemma or faced with a difficult decision, I always ask myself ‘what is the right thing to do?’

What does the future hold for your district and for Texas?

With proper leadership and good public policy, a great future awaits every current and future Texan. Challenges surround us. They have energized us, but never stopped us. Texas is blessed with an abundance of diverse talent, creativity, energy and tenacity, which when combined, makes us unstoppable. Education is the spark to our future. Texas will commit to making the appropriate public investments in elementary, secondary, special needs, vocational and higher education. The social and economic returns will be enormous. In the end, Texas will no longer have the dubious distinction of being one of the bottom fifteen states in per capita spending on public education. The reality is carbon-based fuels are a necessity and will continue to be a significant source of the world’s energy supply for years to come. But Texas has the talent, skilled workforce and investment capital to lead, and will lead, the world’s transition from carbon-based to clean, renewable energy, along the way creating new, high-paying jobs. We just need a few courageous visionaries to stand up and show us the way. They are here, somewhere in Texas.

In the past two years, Texas experienced a severe freeze, followed by widespread drought and then one of the hottest, if not the hottest, summers on record. Then it rained, a lot and the flooding came. We know it, so let’s admit it, climate change is here. Texans are adaptable. So, we’ll imagine, design, engineer and then build the infrastructure we need to thrive during the next era of human history. While education is the spark, our diversity of ethnicities, cultures, religions, arts and ideas is what binds us together and keeps us Texans. Embrace it! But let’s face it, this is Texas. The arguing and debating among us will never stop. It’s the purpose that matters. Texans remain committed to the greater good and remember we are all in this together. We refuse to turn away from each other since that will destroy this creation, we call Texas and home. After all, everyone knows the SEC is the superior conference as well as the future of Texas football!


Local Profile will continue to release Q&A segments with politicians running for various positions in this upcoming election.