Our campaign philosophy
I'm not a politician, but an everyday person like you. And I am convinced that when real people join together, we can make real progress. Real progress doesn't advance a political ideology or benefit the few at the expense of the many. Real progress improves conditions so that our families, our businesses, and our state can thrive.
Real People, Real Progress
This isn’t just our main campaign slogan — it’s the foundation of our campaign.
When we talk about real people, we mean we are listening to the voices of our neighbors — your dreams, concerns, ideas, insights, and perspectives — so that we can ensure that the voices of real Texans are heard in Austin.
And I include myself in that definition of real people. I’ve never run for elected office before. But like so many of my friends and neighbors who I’ve talked with, I’ve felt frustrated and disempowered by what I’ve seen and heard coming out of Austin. So even though I may not fit the profile of the typical political candidate, I feel called to act, to do something. I decided to run for the Texas Senate so that I can help amplify and lift up the voices of everyday Texans in the state legislature.
When the voices of real people are heard in Austin, then we can make real progress. Too many people feel shut out of the political process. I want to invite more people in. I want to break down barriers so more people can get involved. That’s why if I haven’t heard what matters to you yet, please let me know — come to a Listening Party, send me an email, or call and leave a message on my campaign voicemail, 972-379-7881. However you reach out, I’m listening.
And of course, we’re not stopping with listening: we’re taking action. The first step is running for this Senate seat. But the real impact will happen in Austin, when we can take action informed by that listening, when our voices will become the votes that make a positive difference for our children, for our communities, for our businesses, and for our future as Texans.
Pro-Family, Pro-Business, Pro-Texas
Too often when a candidate says they’re “pro-family,” it means they’re making moral judgments about what your family should or shouldn’t look like. But to me, being pro-family means supporting every family and their needs, no matter their season of life. That’s why I’m committed to addressing quality of life issues that affect our homes, neighborhoods, and public schools. I wish to reduce tax burdens, improve transit, and protect the diversity and individuality of all Texans. I’m especially focused on public education — my wife and I are products of our wonderful independent school districts, and we send our children there, too. I’ll be the Senator listening to our educators.
Our district’s business sector has extraordinary potential, and when our businesses succeed, they generate quality jobs, support new industries, and create entrepreneurial opportunities. But our businesses need effective support and leadership from Texas to compete and prosper globally and locally. They need strong, accessible infrastructure to make it easy for us to get to work and to help them deliver their goods and services to the world. We will support research and development to help them to grow, thrive, and develop new technologies. We will build upon our excellent schools and education offerings, from pre-K to Doctoral programs, to ensure a sturdy pipeline of local talent to meet workforce needs and keep residents employed. I’ll support the needs of employers and employees, to benefit all Texans.
Right now, one political ideology dominates the Texas Senate, and that ideology represents just a fraction of Texans. But we are "the friendly state," so it's time to stop letting these lawmakers use their supermajority to force a divisive and unconstructive agenda on us. Vote for me, and help bring much-needed balance to the Texas Senate. I’ll collaborate with legislators in Austin to safeguard our rights, protections, and equal opportunity for the common good, and represent the interests of all of us. Together, we can make real progress for all Texans.
We say public education is a priority for Texas — but I say, show me where you spend your money and I’ll show you where your priorities really are. Simply put, the State has been spending less and less on public education, putting more and more of the burden on you (and your local property taxes).
In 2008, education funding from local revenue (44.8%) and state aid (44.9%) were about equal and federal funds made up the rest (10.3%.)
But in 2017, while federal funding stayed about the same (10%), the balance between state and local funds shifted: local revenue accounted for 51.5% of education funding, while state aid dropped to 38.4%. That is over a $6 billion difference being propped up by our property taxes.
You might think lowering the state contribution would mean a drop in your taxes, but it does not — your property taxes will need to make up the difference, doubly, after the state skims its share. They set all these rates in Austin — how much you can be taxed, how much they take, and how much they give back.
You might also think that all of the recapture (or “Robin Hood”) funds that the state collects from property-rich school districts go back to education programs to support school districts with greater financial need. But they do not — the state has been taking funds from our school districts’ property tax revenue, through the recapture rules, and spending it elsewhere as it pleases, on things like tax cuts for businesses, or in the Governor’s “discretionary fund.”
We have to stop playing a shell game with public education funding, and protect our children and their education.
I will bring the voices of families and educators to Austin and work to change this convoluted, over-complicated education funding formula. I will advocate for ‘taxparency’ to ensure that revenue collected in the name of education is actually spent on education.
If we can simply safeguard funds meant for education, our school districts can provide appropriately for classroom resources and teacher compensation. We can bolster STEM initiatives and provide public full-day Pre-K classes. And we can honor the teachers responsible for our children's education by attending to TRS-ActiveCare, TRS-Care, and the pension fund.
Today, education doesn’t end in 12th grade. That’s why we should also invest in research grants for our university system, and work to control the cost of our public universities.
It’s time to stop looking at college tuition as a costly expense, and start seeing it as a long-term public investment in a well-educated Texas workforce.
But out-of-control tuition inflation has led to student debt that is crushing thousands of young Texans, limiting their job choices and stifling innovation.
Along with limiting rising tuition at our state universities, we also need to find ways to reduce the interest rates on loans, and offer incentives for graduates to return to our local communities post-graduation. We should explore extending loan forgiveness programs to support in-demand career paths that benefit Texans.
We should work with our business community to identify training for in-demand skills that will be the engine to our economy. Private-public partnerships between business and community colleges and vocational training needs to be fostered. And we should expand our community college programs to offer more degrees at more affordable rates, while letting students stay close to home. To grow our economy and secure our prosperity, we must invest in a well-trained, local workforce that is not saddled with a lifetime of student debt.
Economy & Jobs
We have a strong business sector in this district, and I’ll work to make sure businesses here continue to thrive. We need to preserve what we have and grow it in a sustainable way.
But there is more to supporting the business community than just handing out tax credits — all of the decisions legislators make in Austin impact the economy, jobs, and our quality of life. Issues like transportation, education, and fair-pay legislation are all connected.
For example, great public education is a draw and a resource for both workers and employers. Employers need good workers and those workers need to know their children are getting a great education while they are at work all day.
And of course, the children in school today will be our well-educated and highly-trained workers of tomorrow, who have the ability to earn a great living for themselves — but only if we invest in educating them. Pre-K, K-12, community colleges, and public universities all contribute to the economic well-being and quality of life of our state and our citizens. A strong pipeline of talent is essential to both thriving businesses and thriving community.
Simply put, our economy relies on our families and our families rely on our well-functioning economy. We always have to think about both sides of the equation.
And while Texas is great at creating jobs, many of our neighbors in the Dallas area who work full-time still live below the poverty line. That’s not fair. We need to protect entry-level workers from mistreatment. Part-time work should benefit both businesses and workers, and not just be a work-around that allows businesses to depress wages or avoid giving benefits. We also need to make sure the minimum wage keeps pace with other economic factors like inflation and the cost of living in our part of the state.
Sometimes I wonder if our legislators truly understand the economic repercussions of their decisions. For example, last year’s legislative session was dominated by the “bathroom bill” debate. Not only is that bill misguided in its details, divisive in nature, and a poor representation of the concerns and priorities of our state, but it’s bad for the economy of Texas.
Doing the right, moral thing is not about discriminating against a certain subset of Texans. Doing the right, moral thing is doing right by all Texans — and giving all Texans the opportunity to thrive.
North Texas needs to assess all transit solutions beyond its highways. Our region covers such a large area, and continuing to rely upon highways alone will only compound our problems in the years to come. I believe we need to invest in mass transit, express lanes, and bicycle and footpaths, and reduce our daily demand for using the highways. Lowering our traffic and congestion on the roads is the only way to control spending on maintenance.
I do not believe Texans need to resort to tolls to get the transportation solutions we deserve. There has been talk of adding limited toll, or “managed,” lanes to new highway projects to get them started sooner and make the region’s state highway funds go further. And while these “managed” lanes do offer added flexibility to move faster through traffic, adding them isn’t cost effective, nor will they truly minimize commuter congestion. The transit needs of our region and state call for a new approach to infrastructure development to be solvent and effective.
One creative approach that has been proposed is a bullet train between Dallas and Houston, a project that would be largely financed with private funds but would require some public investment and use of eminent domain. I believe this project would greatly enhance our economic opportunity in Texas. Dallas and Houston are too close — and yet too far apart — to be supported by highways and air traffic only. A train connecting these two urban centers will provide faster, easier access to each other’s resources as the state continues to grow. Public revenue growth from the public investment in our infrastructure will outweigh the costs in the long term. The proper and fair use of eminent domain can support this type of project.
I have a yearning to bring real and effective reform to our criminal justice system. There are many possibilities for criminal-justice reform. We pay a huge cost to incarcerate the 140,000+ people currently imprisoned in Texas. I would support a study on the alternatives to incarceration. We should also review sentencing guidelines for non-violent crimes, and re-evaluate minor possession.
And if we want to actually reduce crime — which should be our goal, instead of locking up more of our own citizens — we should commit state resources toward solutions that get at the root causes of a large portion of criminal activity. Two such causes are poverty and substance dependency, both of which we can, and should, proactively address. Smart investments to eliminate root causes of crime can achieve immeasurable benefits for all of us. We need to find ways to eliminate the lifelong burden of criminal history and encourage reformation of behavior, with a goal of reducing recidivism and ensuring that when people leave prison, they are successfully re-integrated into our communities as productive citizens.