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Rish on the Issues

Health Care

The Texas House has failed to pass legislation to accept the funds for Medicaid expansion in Texas. Spearheaded by the Republican majority and Gov. Abbott, all attempts to expand Medicaid are being actively thwarted. Meanwhile, healthcare costs are out of control and some Texans must make the choice between buying medications or paying rent. We have already paid our taxes for this and yet year after year we leave billions of dollars on the table that would be better spent in improving our health care. Not only is this fiscally irresponsible, it’s morally wrong. As your state representative, I will fight to expand Medicaid so more of Texas’ tax dollars stay in our state.

Women’s Reproductive Rights

It’s time for legislators to recognize that women’s reproductive rights are human rights. Access to safe and affordable reproductive health is the first step to improving our state’s abysmal infant and maternal mortality rate. We need to establish state laws to safeguard and protect guaranteed access to preventative, contraceptive, and reproductive health care, regardless of federal mandates. If we are to move forward with health care reform, we must ensure that these policies are based solely on scientific facts and evidence.

Education

The state legislature passed one of the most comprehensive funding packages for public education in years. The problem? The education reform that Republican legislators allowed to pass is an unfunded mandate after 2022. Worst of all, we are not even at the same level of funding we were when they passed draconian budget cuts almost 10 years ago. Here in the Greater Houston Area, some of the best public schools in the nation are 5 minutes away from the worst-performing schools. We need to do better by focusing on sustainable funding for our entire public school system that pays our teachers their deserving wages and fixes their retirement system, but also that it extends to all school employees. We have an opportunity to make Texas a shining example for our nation. We must make meaningful investments in our public schools and strive for publicly funded Universal Pre-K. We should also work with educators and local boards to improve school curriculums to include “adulthood prep” courses, such as financial literacy and other practical life skills.

Flooding

We still have pending funds allocated to our communities that have yet to be disbursed, even after waiting 2 years. Hurricane Harvey may have been one of the worst environmental disasters to our homes, but the Republican-controlled legislature continues to be a disaster for those who are still recovering. These funds are desperately needed to rebuild and invest in better infrastructure for future natural disasters. Furthermore, we must address the effects and preventative measures for climate change on a statewide level, since our community is one of the most vulnerable to its impact.

Gun Safety

Most Americans, including myself, support the 2nd Amendment AND believe it’s time to enact better gun safety measures. The majority of Texans agree with improving the background check system and closing any loopholes that some people may exploit to allow some gun sales without a background check. The majority of Texans agree that we need to do more to prevent tragedies and we can by incentivizing tax-free storage and safety devices. It’s absurd that there’s more scrutiny for buying cold medicine than guns and ammunition. We CAN do more to protect ourselves and our children while respecting the constitutional rights of gun owners.

Transparency 

We must make our government more responsive and accountable to the people – and that means fundamental reforms to the way we work. Our legislative and governing bodies were designed for 19th-century challenges and they must be updated. That starts with making sure that they’re accountable to voters. We must work smarter and harder for Texans and we can only do so if every resident knows what we are working on and can provide input along the way. Technology allows us to increase transparency in government. 

I support sunshine laws that open government up to the people and encourage active civic participation because Texas has one of the lowest voter participation rates of any state. All of this is eroding our democracy, contributing to increased partisanship and gerrymandering, and discouraging new voices from entering our political system. I witnessed this spiral first-hand while working in the legislature and intend to expose it when I serve so we can restore faith in our legislative bodies and our elected officials.

Property Taxes

The sad reality in Texas is that real estate costs are getting out of control in the major cities, so much in fact that younger generations are unable to purchase homes. On top of that, property taxes are at an all-time high and are poised to increase if Republicans in Austin continue their playbook from the last 25 years. Something must be done to curb both the unsustainable price and property tax hikes. 

So far, they continue to offer terrible solutions, such as raising the sales tax and hamstringing local school districts, instead of confronting the actual issue of the loophole in the Equal and Uniform Statute. Texans lose 5 billion per year in property tax revenue because of this loophole. This is NOT about raising taxes, it’s a simple enforcement of the Texas Constitution and preventing corporations from cheating you out of much-needed revenue. Unless you’re the owner of a $100 million+ dollar skyscraper, you will see a reduction in your property taxes from closing the Equal and Uniform loophole. Furthermore, the state can use this revenue for funding public education and other important state initiatives.