Quality education is critical to a child’s success—and the foundation for an informed democracy and our community’s well-being. All children, no matter where they live, deserve the chance to reach their full potential. As a parent with young children in public schools, education is and will remain a priority for me.
We must pay our District 134 teachers quality salaries so that we can attract the best talent and let them do their job, teach. We must invest in public education and work to ensure its success. When this happens, we will attract more parents to live in our district and convince more to stay, which means that more taxpayers and business owners will thrive and keep our economy strong. Recent events, however, may drastically shift control of our schools out of local control. As Representative, I will focus on making sure that we better fund teacher salaries and competitive student programs, allow communities a say in their children’s education, give school administrators more discretion in their spending decisions, and support quality schools in District.
Hurricane Harvey shattered communities in the Houston-area, destroying lives, dislocating residents, and disrupting businesses. As experts agree, our rules on detention and new development exacerbated the crisis by facilitating construction in flood-prone areas and preventing water from soaking into the soil, instead promoting run-off. The Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium published reports in 2019 that warn that Houston-area and Texas authorities haven’t done enough to revise these regulations and create policies with an eye to preventing mass flooding when the next hurricane strikes. We must work to balance the demand for real estate with the need to build for the future and limit new construction in flood-prone areas. As your Representative—and as someone who also dealt with the consequences of Hurricane Harvey—I will fight for development policies that proactively address flood-zone risks and seek to limit the harm from major storms in the future. This is simply too important to ignore.
Houston is a city of immigrants. As the daughter of an immigrant and a wife to one, I value the historic role that immigrants have played in our city, state, and country and believe we need common-sense immigration laws at a Federal and State level. Although immigration law is Federal law, State laws can make a large impact on immigrants and our communities. With an experienced immigration attorney in Austin, it will prevent bad bills and encourage sensible bills, as I will understand how the complex system works in theory and in practice from my 11 years as a practicing attorney.
In 2017, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 4, which makes it lawful for police officers to check the immigration statuses of the people they detain and imposes penalties on institutions that fail to cooperate with federal authorities. Although this law would seem to make our communities safer on paper, in reality, it only makes undocumented immigrants more fearful of any interaction with authorities, even when they want to report being a victim of a crime. During Harvey, I actively spoke on media to encourage immigrants to seek shelter and not be fearful of SB4. This law creates more opportunities for crime and danger in communities, not fewer. As your representative, I will support repealing parts of Senate Bill 4 and enacting bills like House Bill 35, which would enable undocumented immigrants to legally obtain temporary driver’s licenses. If passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law, House Bill 35 would allow us to insure more licensed drivers and make our roads safer. More transparency will foster more safety on the roads and in our cities, and that is something I will fight for as your Representative.
The pro-small-business environment of Texas and Houston is one of the characteristics that make this state great. As a small business owner for a decade, I know there are great opportunities in this state for people looking to start or build their business, but we can do more. Houston needs a larger, better educated workforce in order to attract businesses in the future. I will fight to make sure we continue to support quality public and secondary education, and make sure that the state stays out of wasteful, time-consuming legislation like bathroom bills that damage our reputation with companies. When Texas is the place for companies large and small, we can all benefit from the economic boost in jobs and tax revenue.
We all need our basic health needs met. Although we have much to be proud about in Texas—including our state-of-the-art medical centers, the envy of the world—our state routinely lags behind in health insurance coverage, and this is hurting our residents.
According to the Urban Institute, Texas is home to 4.7 million uninsured residents under age 65, some of the highest numbers in the country. Texas also comes in 37th in America’s Health Rankings. Experts agree that these poor showings stem from a lack of healthcare coverage and the reliance of those without it on expensive emergency room visits.
We must do more to lower the costs of healthcare coverage, prevent freestanding emergency rooms from charging their patients exorbitant costs out of sync with other medical establishments, and encourage preventative thinking by ensuring that Texans can access medical care for routine checkups. As your Representative, I will vote to accept funding through the Medicaid expansion, a program that has reduced uninsured rates in neighboring states by half.
Like you and many across our state and nation, I’m haunted by the specter of gun violence. I graduated from high school the year the Columbine High School massacre took place. Since then, mass shootings have become the norm in the United States, not the exception, with Vox reporting more than 2,000 separate mass shootings occurring since 2012—including the one in our own backyard, at Santa Fe High School, in 2018. As a mother of two children, I can no longer stand by and let the corporate gun lobby pass reckless laws that arm the wrong people and put our lives and the lives of our children in danger.
There’s no denying the impact of climate change on our community. When Imelda hit this year, many families were still recovering from Harvey. Extreme weather events are becoming the new normal, and represent an existential threat to Houston and everyone who lives here.
It’s well past time for the state of Texas to take an active role in fighting back. We must support a statewide transition to sustainable energy production and invest in upgrading our electric grid to take advantage of green energy innovations.