This session I promise to stand up for the real issues facing our great state such as addressing the structural revenue problem, keeping schools and libraries open, and addressing the budget deficit without robbing our children’s future. Below are some issues I will continue to work on during the 84th Legislative session.
Public schools are at the center of our democratic system and at the heart of our community. Texas currently ranks near the bottom among states in funding for public education and the proposed budget plans to cut funding even more. Our schools must return to teaching and be provided the resources they need and then ensure they are wisely used. If our schools can be the best they can be, the positive results will follow.
The wealthiest nation on earth should also be the healthiest nation on earth. That means access to quality medical treatment and preventative care. This session I am working on a bi-partisan bill that will help us better understand and, consequently, help to decrease, the growing obesity problem in Texas. An estimated 1.8 million adult Texans have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 460,040 adults are believed to be undiagnosed.
Texas has the unfortunate distinction of leading in the number of uninsured residents, many of whom are children and seniors. We need to restore the hundreds of thousands of kids cut off the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, and making sure our state-assisted nursing homes are properly funded. We also must open more neighborhood-based clinics to reduce the burden on our emergency rooms and provide badly needed basic and preventive care.
Protecting citizens from violent crime is government’s top priority and the state has a critical role to play in helping cities and counties ensure this essential right to safe communities and a good quality of life. Our local communities must have the necessary support to maintain quality law enforcement agencies through hiring and training officers with and supplying them with the tools to carry out their duties. I will seek more funds to provide more crime fighting essentials for law enforcement agencies.
The motor fuel tax must be returned to funding our highway system and TxDOT should focus on their mission of building and maintaining the best roads in America. In addition, a local option to improve our roads should be considered so communities can move forward with much needed projects where the state is unable to participate.
As a San Antonio City councilman, I promoted innovative clean air policies that made a difference in people’s daily lives, including our successful fight for clean air municipal vehicles such as natural gas-running garbage trucks and hybrid city vehicles. I will continue to fight for common sense efforts to reduce emissions and improve our air quality, support legislation to clean up toxic pollution on public school buses that puts children at risk of asthma and other debilitating diseases, oppose efforts by out-of-state investors to build dirty coal-burning plants that would foul our air, reject corporate special interests trying to impose costly tolls on existing highways, and increase state and federal funding for parks and recreation areas.