The Texas Coalition of Black Democrats is publishing a nine-question survey, which was distributed to all of the 2018 candidates in the Democratic primary.  This page contains statewide candidates only.

The purpose of the questionnaire is to educate Black voters in Texas on each candidate’s stance on critical issues affecting Black voters in Texas.

To see each candidates’ response, click on their picture; and click the picture a second time to hide the answers.

If you have any questions about the survey or have suggestions about the questions that we should consider for future surveys, please email us at info@texascoalitionofblackdemocrats.com.

Attorney General

Justin Nelson

    1. Over the past 40 years African Americans have supported democratic candidates with approximately 88% of our votes.  How will electing/re-electing you benefit African Americans in Texas?

    I will bring to the Attorney General’s role a mission to fight for all the people of Texas — fighting for justice for all and fighting against fraud and special interests. I will be a voice against gerrymandering and a voice for making sure that we protect our fundamental right to vote. The Attorney General should fight for all of us. The Attorney General should stand up to help ensure that people don’t go to jail for missing a furniture payment and that all Texans have equal justice under law.

    2. In the 2016 election, 94% of African American women voted for the democratic nominee for President. How will you work to help this key constituency close the gender pay gap? Reduce skyrocketing maternal deaths in Texas? Provide equal opportunity to access capital to start a business?

    I strongly support equal pay for equal work. With respect to maternal mortality, Texas’s death rate is a disgrace. We can and must focus resources in this area. As a husband and soon to be father of three, I personally support efforts in the Texas Legislature to reduce maternal mortality rates and provide postpartum resources to mothers. Our family is actively involved in new parent support groups, and my wife is the Board Chair of Partners in Parenting (PIP). As Attorney General, I will also make sure that all businesses and banks are following the law and not discriminating based on race or gender in providing access to capital.

    3. Education is the key to help individuals lift themselves from poverty into prosperity, however African American students exceed the national average in Texas, with 60% living in poverty. What will you do to strengthen our public education system?

    As a product of Texas public schools, I believe strongly in a well-funded Texas public education system. The role of Attorney General is to enforce the law and the Constitution, including Article 7 of the Texas Constitution stating that “it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools” because a “general diffusion of knowledge” is “essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people.”

    4. African American entrepreneurs have long struggled to secure capital to start businesses in our community. What economic development initiatives will you champion that will have a direct and positive impact African Americans businesses, employment and entrepreneurship?

    As Attorney General, I will crack down on consumer fraud and make Texas fair for small businesses. For too long, the political class has favored special interests over our interests.

    5. Gentrification is a major issue affecting residents throughout Texas. What will you do to support preserving African American culture and history across Texas, particularly in neighborhoods where gentrification is occurring revitalizing neighborhoods, but pushing our people out?

    I believe it is vital that we enforce our laws related to fair housing. As the Attorney General’s role is to enforce the law, many of the issues raised by this question are for the Legislature.

    6. Please explain your belief about the importance of diversity in Texas and in our nation. What portion of your senior campaign staff is African American? Do you have any African American consultants? Have you purchased advertising at any African American owned media companies?

    E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one. It is the motto of the United States that all should embrace. I am in the process of building out my campaign team. It already includes African American consultants, including in communications and media. I will continue to rely on advisors representing the great diversity of this State.

    7. Criminal justice reform is a high priority for our community. The negative impact of laws currently on the book affect all communities of color and all people who live in poverty. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing repairing the criminal justice system? Please provide your stance on bail reform, sentencing on non-violent drug offenses, ending pre-investigatory traffic stops? What initiatives would you lead the way on in your position as an elected official?

    My role as Attorney General is to enforce the law, not make the law. I will be a voice to speak out for Justice for All and to make sure that we are implementing common sense reforms that have the support across the political spectrum and can pass the Legislature. The Sandra Bland Act was a promising start but more work remains.

    8. Quality affordable healthcare, which includes mental health care is a vital need for the African American community. Too many in our community have died from and lack treatment for treatable illnesses because the lacked the means to seek treatment. Do you believe healthcare is a right that all Americans should have access to? How do we repair our defective healthcare system? Is single payer the answer? Do we just tweak the Affordable Healthcare Act? Do you have a fresh idea to make healthcare a reality for all Texans?

    The solution to health care must come from the Legislature. Here’s what I can do as Attorney General. I will focus on eliminating health care fraud and waste. I will crack down on corruption and illegal billing practices. My opponent Ken Paxton took a $100,000 payoff to his legal defense fund and then settled a health care fraud case for pennies on the dollar. Not on my watch.

    9. African American communities lack healthy eating options. We lack grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables, students who cannot afford to pay for lunch at school are shamed in front of their peers. What actions would you take to help spur business investment to get grocery stores within our communities to fill this void? How do we ensure our students in school get a healthy meal without being traumatized because they lack the funds because they are living in poverty?

    I support families and children having healthy eating options. As Attorney General, my role is limited here. I can ensure an open and level playing field that will make sure that businesses follow the law.


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    Railroad Commissioner

    Roman McAllen

      1. Over the past 40 years African Americans have supported democratic candidates with approximately 88% of our votes.  How will electing/re-electing you benefit African Americans in Texas?
      I am running for the commission that regulates oil and gas. Electing me will begin to take power away from the oil companies that have been regulating and policing themselves and not doing a very good job of it. If elected, not only will I be the only voice that firmly believes in science and climate change and will vote to help humanity survive, but I will be near the seats of power that have a tremendous impact on all of us. It is important to add that I grew up in one of the first suburbs in Houston that was racially integrated, by African Americans and Hispanics, my mother has a masters from Texas Southern; I have a strong connection to the African American Community. The neighborhood I was raised in is called Windsor Village. It is the home of Windsor Village Methodist Church, where Kirbyjon Caldwell is pastor today.

      2. In the 2016 election, 94% of African American women voted for the democratic nominee for President. How will you work to help this key constituency close the gender pay gap? Reduce skyrocketing maternal deaths in Texas? Provide equal opportunity to access capital to start a business?

      Voting for democrats is the right thing to do to help with the gender gap problem, skyrocketing maternal deaths, and to help to provide equal access to capital. That much is clear. The question of why the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats should support me in the primary, which is contested, is the greater question. First I believe that woman make great leaders and as a gender need to be elevated. I say this often. The other fact is that African American woman deserve a helping hand. They are the matriarchs of our communities. As for maternal death rate, the fact is that Republicans have shuttered nearly all the clinics in Texas that provide important prenatal care; they closed them to trick the fundamental Christian vote into thinking they are the pro-life party. It is a hypocritical stance. Though the position that I am running for does not directly impact these key questions, my position in this important statewide office would allow me to be closer to the positions of power that do impact African American woman.

      3. Education is the key to help individuals lift themselves from poverty into prosperity, however African American students exceed the national average in Texas, with 60% living in poverty. What will you do to strengthen our public education system?I must state again here that while the position I seek does not directly impact this issue, I will do my best to advocate for the African American student. My parents were public school teachers in Houston, I grew up with modest means, but fortunately with educated parents. Our society, our country, will suffer greatly if we continue to create greater distance between the haves and the have nots. I speak of this in the video which launched my campaign in July 2017 that is on my website: mcallenfortexas.com. There I call out this problem.

      4. African American entrepreneurs have long struggled to secure capital to start businesses in our community. What economic development initiatives will you champion that will have a direct and positive impact African Americans businesses, employment and entrepreneurship?
      It is imperative that elected officials know and appreciate that African Americans deserve a leg up. I would look for opportunities to provide that. I will encourage students from African American schools to visit my office and to see what I am doing and I will encourage them to strive.

      5. Gentrification is a major issue affecting residents throughout Texas. What will you do to support preserving African American culture and history across Texas, particularly in neighborhoods where gentrification is occurring revitalizing neighborhoods, but pushing our people out?
      I am studying now for the Congress for a New Urbanism (CNU) exam. An important component of CNU thinking is diversity in communities. We know that the best communities and the most sustainable communities going forward will not be “gentrified”. They will be dynamic, of mixed races, mixed ages, and of mixed socio-economic classes. They are communities that are safe 8-80. That is they are communities where you would let your 8 year old walk someplace and where your 80 year old grandmother can walk safe from crime and from a trashed out sidewalk that she can trip on. That is the ideal. We must strive valiantly for it. I know it is problem. I lived many years in an hispanic neighborhood that became gentrified, were minorities were pushed out.

      6. Please explain your belief about the importance of diversity in Texas and in our nation. What portion of your senior campaign staff is African American? Do you have any African American consultants? Have you purchased advertising at any African American owned media companies?

      Diversity is the future. Diversity in the workplace, in the schools, everywhere. The alternative is not a place that will endure. It is that simple.

      I don’t have a staff yet and I haven’t purchased much. Mine is a grassroots campaign.

      7. Criminal justice reform is a high priority for our community. The negative impact of laws currently on the book affect all communities of color and all people who live in poverty. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing repairing the criminal justice system? Please provide your stance on bail reform, sentencing on non-violent drug offenses, ending pre-investigatory traffic stops? What initiatives would you lead the way on in your position as an elected official?
      The criminal system is highly flawed in the U.S. It has been for a very long time. First, the people in power need to recognize this and know this. They do not. We need many more progressive people, people of color, woman and woman of color in power to find the creative solutions that will elevate all of us from the scourge of how we treat our fellow man who has been sucked into a life of crime or just happened down the proverbial wrong street at the wrong time.

      8. Quality affordable healthcare, which includes mental health care is a vital need for the African American community. Too many in our community have died from and lack treatment for treatable illnesses because the lacked the means to seek treatment. Do you believe healthcare is a right that all Americans should have access to? How do we repair our defective healthcare system? Is single payer the answer? Do we just tweak the Affordable Healthcare Act? Do you have a fresh idea to make healthcare a reality for all Texans?

      Texas ranks dead last in the U.S. for spending on mental illness. My family has had to endure mental illness. It is very difficult. Texas makes it worse by totally dismissing the existence of it.

      Yes, I believe healthcare is a right. Our healthcare system in the U.S. is severely broken. People, especially our old people, die daily in our healthcare system. The system is focused too much on profit. This is the very thing the Bible warns the so-called Christians about.

      Right now I think universal healthcare is what is needed. That is a system in which every one has coverage. I believe that the way the terms are used in the U.S., single payer means the same thing.

      9. African American communities lack healthy eating options. We lack grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables, students who cannot afford to pay for lunch at school are shamed in front of their peers. What actions would you take to help spur business investment to get grocery stores within our communities to fill this void? How do we ensure our students in school get a healthy meal without being traumatized because they lack the funds because they are living in poverty?

      There is a very smart democrat, Kim Olson, running for the Agriculture Commissioner. We need to elect her as she knows about school lunches. Studies have shown it is simply better to buy breakfast for all the kids in the school. It eliminates the shame, increases grades, etc. etc. I just got back from a trip to South Africa. I heard about the “passes” black South Africans had to have to walk about. It is about shaming. We need to take a common sense approach to this and pay for it.

      On the food desert problem. Easy, governments should incentivize people and companies to put stores with good food in all our neighborhoods.

      God bless you all. If you vote for me in the primary and I am fortunate enough to defeat the incumbent, we will have turned this ship around so that all of us, all people, are blessed.


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      US Senate

      Beto O’Rourke

        1. Over the past 40 years African Americans have supported democratic candidates with approximately 88% of our votes.  How will electing/re-electing you benefit African Americans in Texas?
        Some of my top priorities in Congress have been improving our healthcare system and criminal justice reform. If elected to the U.S. Senate, African American Texans would have a voice on these matters and others that our current Senator simply doesn’t provide.

        2. In the 2016 election, 94% of African American women voted for the democratic nominee for President. How will you work to help this key constituency close the gender pay gap? Reduce skyrocketing maternal deaths in Texas? Provide equal opportunity to access capital to start a business?
        I support efforts to close the gender pay gap. I am a cosponsor of The Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to address this problem. I also support efforts to reduce maternal deaths, such as the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act.

        3. Education is the key to help individuals lift themselves from poverty into prosperity, however African American students exceed the national average in Texas, with 60% living in poverty. What will you do to strengthen our public education system?
        I believe we need to ensure public funding does not go to private schools. We must also work to empower teachers to be responsive to their students rather than forcing them to teach to arbitrary high-stakes tests.

        4. African American entrepreneurs have long struggled to secure capital to start businesses in our community. What economic development initiatives will you champion that will have a direct and positive impact African Americans businesses, employment and entrepreneurship?
        I believe we need to lower the barriers to entry for all Americans seeking to start small businesses. We also need to invest in training and apprenticeships to allow more Americans to enter the middle class.

        5. Gentrification is a major issue affecting residents throughout Texas. What will you do to support preserving African American culture and history across Texas, particularly in neighborhoods where gentrification is occurring revitalizing neighborhoods, but pushing our people out?
        I believe the best way to address this issue is to empower those populations that seek to preserve their neighborhoods and culture. We can do that by ensuring access to good schools, jobs, and transportation so that economic development benefits everyone. The more economically empowered African Americans are, the more they have the opportunity to live where they please.

        6. Please explain your belief about the importance of diversity in Texas and in our nation. What portion of your senior campaign staff is African American? Do you have any African American consultants? Have you purchased advertising at any African American owned media companies?
        Diversity in our country is incredibly important. El Paso is the safest city in America and our cultural and racial diversity is the reason for that. Bringing together diverse cultures and perspectives makes us more prosperous and safer.

        7. Criminal justice reform is a high priority for our community. The negative impact of laws currently on the book affect all communities of color and all people who live in poverty. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing repairing the criminal justice system? Please provide your stance on bail reform, sentencing on non-violent drug offenses, ending pre-investigatory traffic stops? What initiatives would you lead the way on in your position as an elected official?
        I believe we should decriminalize marijuana, which would go a long way in reducing our prison population. I also believe private ownership of prisons creates an adverse incentive to keep them full, and so we should end the practice. I am a cosponsor of the Justice is Not For Sale Act which phases out private contracts for federal, state, and local prisons.

        8. Quality affordable healthcare, which includes mental health care is a vital need for the African American community. Too many in our community have died from and lack treatment for treatable illnesses because the lacked the means to seek treatment. Do you believe healthcare is a right that all Americans should have access to? How do we repair our defective healthcare system? Is single payer the answer? Do we just tweak the Affordable Healthcare Act? Do you have a fresh idea to make healthcare a reality for all Texans?
        I believe healthcare is a right. I believe we need to keep the Affordable Care Act and improve its sustainability by expanding Medicaid in states like Texas. We should also allow people to buy into Medicare and/or Medicaid via a public option. Eventually, we should move to a single-payer system.

        9. African American communities lack healthy eating options. We lack grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables, students who cannot afford to pay for lunch at school are shamed in front of their peers. What actions would you take to help spur business investment to get grocery stores within our communities to fill this void? How do we ensure our students in school get a healthy meal without being traumatized because they lack the funds because they are living in poverty?
        I firmly believe in the necessity of healthy eating options for all Americans. We should maintain and strengthen SNAP and school lunch programs. We should also incentivize grocery stores to open in underserved areas to alleviate food deserts.


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        Governor

        Lupe Valdez

          1. Over the past 40 years African Americans have supported democratic candidates with approximately 88% of our votes.  How will electing/re-electing you benefit African Americans in Texas?
          I’m in this race to be a voice for the Texans who have been left behind, kept out, and frankly attacked for who they are, where they are from, and who they love. For decades, opportunity has been withheld from everyday Texans and our state’s riches have only been kept for the few and powerful. That’s not right.

          Let me be entirely clear, African Americans are the Democratic Party’s most loyal voters, they and their issues deserve to be treated as such.

          My commitment is to always be ready and willing to listen and learn, respect the lives affected by my decisions, and stand up so that everyday Texans can get ahead. That’s not campaign rhetoric, it has been the core of my entire life in service.

          2. In the 2016 election, 94% of African American women voted for the democratic nominee for President. How will you work to help this key constituency close the gender pay gap? Reduce skyrocketing maternal deaths in Texas? Provide equal opportunity to access capital to start a business?
          My approach to policy starts from my core governing principle: good government is about finding solutions to real problems – not spinning lies and creating fear. We are in office to get things done for common folks, that’s just common sense and that’s the right thing to do.

          Texas women, and African American women in particular, are being left behind. Texas Governor Rick Perry could have signed a bipartisan fair pay bill that passed the Texas Legislature, but instead he vetoed it. We can get equal pay for equal work passed by the Legislature and I will sign it. But we should not stop there – opportunity for all requires solutions on living wage, paid family and sick leave, affordable college, and early child education.

          Lives are at stake in this race. For decades, the healthcare system in Texas has been neglected and mothers of color are facing the consequences. We must save the healthcare system, get insurance to all families, and push Austin politicians to tackle the maternal death challenges in our state. Thousands of families are facing healthcare tragedies every day and yet the governor does nothing. We can start by truly respecting the lives of everyday Texans.

          Texas government has a massive buying power. We have to make sure those taxpayer funds are used to get the best services and best products, but also to live our values and achieve our policy goals. Minority-owned, women-owned, and historically underutilized businesses deserve the power of the government of Texas to have a shot. It is the right thing to do and it is the best interest of Texas’ economy.

          3. Education is the key to help individuals lift themselves from poverty into prosperity, however African American students exceed the national average in Texas, with 60% living in poverty. What will you do to strengthen our public education system?
          If kids are hungry they just can’t focus on geometry and biology, that’s just common sense. We have to make funding our neighborhood schools a priority, but we will not solve anything if we ignore what our children are facing in their everyday lives.

          Great teachers, equitable resources for every school and every child, and policy that supports the entire community will be necessary to get our children the opportunity they deserve. We can only achieve success when we truly respect the hopes, hard work, and lives of every Texan.

          4. African American entrepreneurs have long struggled to secure capital to start businesses in our community. What economic development initiatives will you champion that will have a direct and positive impact African Americans businesses, employment and entrepreneurship?
          When it comes to the state economy, we need a highly educated workforce, a healthy workforce, and a plan so that all innovators have a chance to succeed.

          Everyone should have the chance to get business with Texas and grow their business in Texas, not just those at the golf courses and country clubs who get along with the rich and powerful. A core component of our economic future must be the success of businesses owned by people of color.

          5. Gentrification is a major issue affecting residents throughout Texas. What will you do to support preserving African American culture and history across Texas, particularly in neighborhoods where gentrification is occurring revitalizing neighborhoods, but pushing our people out?
          We lose our soul when we lose our history. We must increase and expand historical preservation districts that preserve African American communities’ history and culture. In areas where gentrification is taking place, we need to be aggressive in protecting historical neighborhoods, murals, and structures with public and private funds. We can only get to our future when we respect our past.

          6. Please explain your belief about the importance of diversity in Texas and in our nation. What portion of your senior campaign staff is African American? Do you have any African American consultants? Have you purchased advertising at any African American owned media companies?
          Because of who I am and what I believe, I was called every name in the book. I had to clean up the sheriff’s department and I needed to get results. So I put together a strong, diverse team and we succeeded. We pushed to females to senior leadership positions, including the African American woman who I hope will be my successor as sheriff.

          Diversity makes Texas what we are and the governor must respect that. It should be embraced and our hiring practices must reflect that. We are just getting started, I have not put my full campaign team in place. Diversity will be a criteria as my campaign adds staff and consultants.

          7. Criminal justice reform is a high priority for our community. The negative impact of laws currently on the book affect all communities of color and all people who live in poverty. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing repairing the criminal justice system? Please provide your stance on bail reform, sentencing on non-violent drug offenses, ending pre-investigatory traffic stops? What initiatives would you lead the way on in your position as an elected official?
          I am proud to have completely overhauled the Sheriff’s Office in Dallas County. We built trust with our community. We built progressive programs that gave our inmates a chance at a better life.

          Regaining the trust of the community in order for us to provide fair and just law enforcement is critical. In our jails, we should never have debtors prisons. People need to be held accountable, but not necessarily spend that time in jail. Currently, Dallas County provides many programs that non-violent offenders can go into. That should be expanded so that non-violent offenders will always be held accountable, but not have to lose opportunities due to jail time. All stops should be filmed and have reason so that marginalized communities are never targeted. In Dallas County, we have already to led the way on several initiatives: providing programs and trainings to inmates that give them skill, help with addictive behaviors, and programs that help inmates manage their anger. As governor, I would build on and promote these training programs.

          8. Quality affordable healthcare, which includes mental health care is a vital need for the African American community. Too many in our community have died from and lack treatment for treatable illnesses because the lacked the means to seek treatment. Do you believe healthcare is a right that all Americans should have access to? How do we repair our defective healthcare system? Is single payer the answer? Do we just tweak the Affordable Healthcare Act? Do you have a fresh idea to make healthcare a reality for all Texans?
          Healthcare is a right. Period.

          We have to protect the Affordable Care Act and expand Medicaid in Texas. It is the best deal we are facing and the governor refuses to take it. Every family deserves a family doctor and insurance they can rely on. I am committed to working to expand it, adequately funding state mental health facilities, advocating for fixes to the ACA, and stopping the attacks on women’s healthcare. It is the right thing to do and just common sense.

          As governor, I’ll wield the bully pulpit. As we address deficiencies in our healthcare system, we should start by lobbying our members of Congress to fix the Affordable Care Act, fully fund the marketplaces, and stop Trump from sabotaging our healthcare.

          9. African American communities lack healthy eating options. We lack grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables, students who cannot afford to pay for lunch at school are shamed in front of their peers. What actions would you take to help spur business investment to get grocery stores within our communities to fill this void? How do we ensure our students in school get a healthy meal without being traumatized because they lack the funds because they are living in poverty?
          Unfortunately, food deserts are widespread in our state. This is another area where the governor has failed to lead and perpetuate injustice in our cities.

          Kids should never go without a meal or be shamed in front of their peers due their inability to pay for lunch. Rep. Giddings took the lead on this issue during the last legislative session and I would seek her advice to make sure lunch shaming never takes place in our schools. As governor, I would support legislation with teeth to ensure all school districts are compliant.


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          Lt. Governor

          Mike Collier

            1. Over the past 40 years African Americans have supported democratic candidates with approximately 88% of our votes.  How will electing/re-electing you benefit African Americans in Texas?
            Democrats believe they can rely on the African American vote, and too often they exploit this and fail to respond to the hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations of the African American Community. I have seen and sensed, first hand, the frustration that African Americans feel toward Democratic politicians who come around when its election season and then disappear when they win their elections. In my opinion, there is no substitute for “being there”, if you are a Democratic politician. By that I mean investing consistently in relationships in the African American community. Being known, familiar, trusted, liked, and responsive. It is not something that can happen overnight. It is a long term commitment. As for me, I have work to do. Before entering the political arena, I had very satisfying relationships with African Americans in my professional life. But I don’t have the deep, broad relationships in the African American community that I want. I need help, to be perfectly honest. All I ask is the opportunity to earn this. Once earned, over a period of months and years, we can achieve much together, as I will discuss further below.

            2. In the 2016 election, 94% of African American women voted for the democratic nominee for President. How will you work to help this key constituency close the gender pay gap? Reduce skyrocketing maternal deaths in Texas? Provide equal opportunity to access capital to start a business?
            Republican politicians in Texas, the folks I am running against, are obsessed in my opinion with the accumulating of personal wealth rather than investing in the health and well being of Texas communities. That’s the bad news. The good news is that many Texans were raised in the church, are generous of spirit, want to see our communities thrive and our neighbors live healthy, long, fulfilling lives. My goal as Lt Governor will be to give voice to these Texans. To let the better angels of our nature influence state policy. Those of us who want our communities to thrive, who want compassion to animate our actions, can move boldly to help our communities in so many ways. Fair and equal pay, support for start-ups, healthcare, education, living wage, retirement security…these are the things many Texans care about, for themselves and for heir neighbors. But we are held back by Republican leadership who don’t allow these ideals to be expressed in public policy. So when together we defeat Republicans, and free Texans to live the values we hold in our hearts, we can make enormous progress.

            3. Education is the key to help individuals lift themselves from poverty into prosperity, however African American students exceed the national average in Texas, with 60% living in poverty. What will you do to strengthen our public education system?
            Public education is, and has been, the centerpiece of my political ambition. I ran for Comptroller when Texas cut education spending; I was infuriated that they would lie about deficits long enough to fire 11,500 teachers. I believe public education is the most important thing we do as a state, because its what allows our children to make their way in life. Texas is moving in a direction where the sons and daughters of the well-to-do have the best opportunities, at the expense of everyone else. I believe this is morally wrong. Every Texas child deserves an excellent education and a chance to succeed in life. Furthermore, we are a prosperous state; there should be NO POOR SCHOOLS. It’s going to take more money, and that money needs to find its way to schools that need our help. I know where the money is (closing the Equal and Uniform loopholes that benefit big corporations to the tune of $5 billion, to be precise), and we need to re-do the allocation formula so that schools that need the help, get the help! Most Texans agree with me. But the Republicans in power frustrate this aspiration. I am a CPA with many years working on the world’s largest and most complex mergers and acquisitions. I’ve dealt with complex challenges; overhauling our school funding mechanism to level the playing field for all Texas children will be just another such challenge. I’m up to the task! My passion for education extends beyond K-12. Trade schools and community colleges that are high quality, located in communities where they are needed, and within reach financially of all young people are critical components of giving young folks the skills they need lead healthy, prosperous, and fulfilling lives.

            4. African American entrepreneurs have long struggled to secure capital to start businesses in our community. What economic development initiatives will you champion that will have a direct and positive impact African Americans businesses, employment and entrepreneurship?
            Government contract regulations should give minority-owned businesses advantages they lack otherwise. It’s in our collective best interest to foster entrepreneurship and business success in minority communities. Credit support is another means of helping minority businesses; discrimination in credit practices are real and government must level this playing field. The fact is, business success is something that passes from generation to generation. Helping a business get off the ground and thrive has a multi-generational impact and contributes to the health and vitality of the community. Having said the above, I confess that my business expertise is lacking when it comes to economic development in the African American community and I look forward to listening, learning, and being an effective advocate.

            5. Gentrification is a major issue affecting residents throughout Texas. What will you do to support preserving African American culture and history across Texas, particularly in neighborhoods where gentrification is occurring revitalizing neighborhoods, but pushing our people out?
            This is a very good question. It is the first time I have been exposed to it. So, if I am to be honest, I must say that don’t have an answer. I will take this on and develop a point of view, hopefully with your help!

            6. Please explain your belief about the importance of diversity in Texas and in our nation. What portion of your senior campaign staff is African American? Do you have any African American consultants? Have you purchased advertising at any African American owned media companies?
            I plan to purchase advertising on African American owned media, as I did in my race in 2014 for Comptroller, but we will not be spending advertising money (other than e-media) until later in the campaign. As for staff, my first hire and one of my right hand men is Courtney Grigsby, a long time Democratic operative and member of the African American community. Before I retired from PwC, I helped build and lead a team that was considered one of the most diverse in the firm, including two African Americans (on a team of 10 people). And we were the clear leader in the market we served (the Houston energy market). I believe that diversity means success in business, and I expect it will mean success as Lt Governor. Sadly, America has taken a hard turn away from diversity; we have turned in the direction of prejudice and bigotry. It’s heart breaking, and it tells us how fragile this situation is. I am PROUD to be a Democrat, and proud to be fighting to halt this backward trend and get back to supporting and advancing inclusiveness and respect. I am also very proud to be on a state-wide slate that is diverse (just a few moments ago I learned that an African American woman will be joining us as Texas Comptroller candidate and I will be a very active coach and mentor, having run that race in 2014). When I am elected Lt Governor, my senior staff will be diverse, just as my PwC team was diverse. Hopefully Courtney will stay with me, and there will be other positions to fill and when I am finished the team will mirror Texas. Diversity will be the order of the day in the Collier administration.

            7. Criminal justice reform is a high priority for our community. The negative impact of laws currently on the book affect all communities of color and all people who live in poverty. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing repairing the criminal justice system? Please provide your stance on bail reform, sentencing on non-violent drug offenses, ending pre-investigatory traffic stops? What initiatives would you lead the way on in your position as an elected official?
            Far too many Texans are incarcerated for minor infractions. I do not support this governing philosophy. I believe in law and order and responsibility for ones behavior, but the punishment must be proportionate to the crime. I believe this can be addressed by sentencing reform at the state level, which I support and will seek to achieve. I also observe that African Americans are far more likely to be face harsh sentences and incarceration for minor infractions than others, and this is not only unfair but has long lasting, negative impact on the individual’s (and his of her family’s) life. I am committed to addressing this. And body cameras have shown us what we needed to see. Justice in Texas is not blind. As the state’s top legislative leader, I can “set the tone at the top.” Beyond that, I can and will convene working groups to explore all possible means of influencing local law enforcement to solve this problem. Most Texans are repulsed by the things we’ve seen, and expect top leaders to involve themselves in fixing the problem. I am committed to doing just that. I support bail reform, and I oppose pre-investigatory traffic stops.

            8. Quality affordable healthcare, which includes mental health care is a vital need for the African American community. Too many in our community have died from and lack treatment for treatable illnesses because the lacked the means to seek treatment. Do you believe healthcare is a right that all Americans should have access to? How do we repair our defective healthcare system? Is single payer the answer? Do we just tweak the Affordable Healthcare Act? Do you have a fresh idea to make healthcare a reality for all Texans?
            First, I have dealt with the horror of a mental illness crisis in my family and I know how terrified and helpless the caregiver can feel, to say nothing of the person who has been afflicted. Texas policy is almost indifferent to mental illness; far too many Texans and their families feel there is nothing or nobody to relieve their fear and suffering. This must change. The same can be said for Texans with disabilities, and parents with children with special needs. In Texas, if you aren’t affluent, its really difficult and it shouldn’t be. In simple terms, we need compassion in public life. Its what Texans want; its what Republicans refuse to contemplate. As for access to health care, I believe it is an absolute human right and we must keep working the problem. Affordable Healthcare Act was a great start, but rather than perfecting it, our (Republican) leaders are destroying it. I strongly favor reversing this and making ACA work. I also believe Texas should expand Medicaid. Once ACA is working, we should then ask who is falling through the cracks and help them secure access to quality healthcare. If Washington ruins health care for everyone but the rich, which I fear is their motivation, then Texas should become masters of our own destiny and develop a health care system that ensures everyone has access to care and nobody is faced with financial ruin if they become sick. Specifically I favor a single payer option that offers high quality, basic services, but also allowing commercial insurance companies to outperform the single payer (if they can). Done properly, it can achieve the best of single payer and market-based systems. Regardless of the process arrangement, there should be no lifetime limits, no loss of coverage due to pre-existing conditions, premium relief for working Texans who can’t afford coverage, and no in-network vs. out-of-network surprises.

            9. African American communities lack healthy eating options. We lack grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables, students who cannot afford to pay for lunch at school are shamed in front of their peers. What actions would you take to help spur business investment to get grocery stores within our communities to fill this void? How do we ensure our students in school get a healthy meal without being traumatized because they lack the funds because they are living in poverty?
            When I was a student, lunch was free. Period. I favor free meals for all children. No shame, no questions, just healthy meals. Its hard to imagine a better investment of public funds because when children are healthy, not hungry, can learn. I am very concerned about access to grocery stores, and I think it’s in our best interest to resolve this. Candidly, I don’t know what the answer is. I look forward to learning more about this so that I can advocate an informed point of view. Its in our collective interest to solve this.


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            Texas Commissioner of Agriculture

            Kim Olson

              1. Over the past 40 years African Americans have supported democratic candidates with approximately 88% of our votes.  How will electing/re-electing you benefit African Americans in Texas?
              I believe that no vote should be assumed and that every vote should be earned. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), under my direction, will support current and new African American farmers and will work to ensure healthy food access for all Texans, including our children who rely on school meals for their nutrition.

              2. In the 2016 election, 94% of African American women voted for the democratic nominee for President. How will you work to help this key constituency close the gender pay gap? Reduce skyrocketing maternal deaths in Texas? Provide equal opportunity to access capital to start a business?

              I believe that no vote should be assumed and that every vote should be earned. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), under my direction, will support current and new African American farmers and will work to ensure healthy food access for all Texans, including our children who rely on school meals for their nutrition.

              I am happy to share that Texas has more black farmers than any other state and leads the country in the increasing number of new black-owned farms. Freestone County, Texas, has more black farmers than any other county in the U.S. However, African Americans make up only 3 percent of the state’s total farmers. I will directly address farm ownership among African Americans by supporting programs that benefit new and beginning farmers. This will include connecting aspiring farmers with resources such as USDA grants and loans, providing Young Farmer Grants through TDA, addressing agricultural infrastructure needs in rural communities, and strengthening both domestic and export markets.

              In our state’s 1,153 school districts and 9,220 schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program, we serve lunch to over 3 million children every school day. Many of our students — 60% of all students in the state — are eligible for free or reduced price meals. TDA has a great responsibility to ensure that children who take part in the school lunch, school breakfast, summer meals and other nutrition programs administered by the state receive nutritious and tasty food.

              TDA will also take a lead role in addressing food access issues that negatively impact the health of our state’s residents. African Americans are among the most impacted, with significantly higher incidents of overweight and diet-related disease. We will strengthen nutrition programs and emergency food programs, promote healthy worksite activities across the state, and support new, innovative marketing efforts that overcome access issues in what are known as “food-deserts.”

              TDA is poised to be a leader and model for other states by dedicating the tools and resources necessary to support African American farmers and ranchers, and to ensure healthy kids, healthy families, and healthy communities across Texas.

              3. Education is the key to help individuals lift themselves from poverty into prosperity, however African American students exceed the national average in Texas, with 60% living in poverty. What will you do to strengthen our public education system?
              A strong and effective public education system is critical to overcoming poverty. I am a proponent of Texas public schools, having served on the Weatherford ISD board and working for the Dallas ISD as HR Director. Under my leadership, I will ensure that TDA uses its resources to strengthen our public education system. TDA administers the National School Lunch Program and other nutrition programs, and has the opportunity to encourage universal eligibility that can help remove the stigma of eating school lunch that some students experience who receive free or reduced price lunches. TDA can also work closely with partners at the Education Service Centers and others to offer nutritious, flavorful, and culturally appropriate foods in our schools along with nutrition education programs. The lunchroom can also be a classroom! TDA also provides grants to urban schools to create and maintain school gardens. We will actively seek additional funding to strengthen and expand this program, so that any school that wants a garden will get resources to build one.

              4. African American entrepreneurs have long struggled to secure capital to start businesses in our community. What economic development initiatives will you champion that will have a direct and positive impact African Americans businesses, employment and entrepreneurship?

              As mentioned above, TDA has an important role in economic development, including grants for communities and individuals. I will conduct an in-depth analysis of these and other programs to determine demographics of past recipients, and will prioritize outreach to African American communities and other underrepresented communities. Additionally, TDA will help farmers and other food producers to access federal resources through USDA and other sources, with a similar prioritization of support.

              I will also work to bring broadband internet access to rural areas across Texas, to help farmers and other businesses use online tools for education, training, marketing, and conducting transactions.

              Texas has many other resources available to support African American entrepreneurs and business owners. Among them are our land-grant universities. I will partner with Texas A&M, Prairie View, and other institutions around the state to provide business training to farmers in the state, to help African American farmers and others operate financially viable agriculture and food-based businesses.

              TDA, under my administration, will also build the Go Texan program. I will make certain this food and agriculture marketing program is open and inclusive, with particular outreach directed towards traditionally underserved businesses, such as African American-owned companies.

              5. Gentrification is a major issue affecting residents throughout Texas. What will you do to support preserving African American culture and history across Texas, particularly in neighborhoods where gentrification is occurring revitalizing neighborhoods, but pushing our people out?

              6. Please explain your belief about the importance of diversity in Texas and in our nation. What portion of your senior campaign staff is African American? Do you have any African American consultants? Have you purchased advertising at any African American owned media companies?
              My campaign is based on listening to Texans about what matters to them, and I will ensure that the voices of African Americans are amplified by seeking out connections with leaders in African American communities and by engaging African Americans regarding staffing and consultations. I currently do not have any paid staff or consultants and have not begun purchasing advertising.

              7. Criminal justice reform is a high priority for our community. The negative impact of laws currently on the book affect all communities of color and all people who live in poverty. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing repairing the criminal justice system? Please provide your stance on bail reform, sentencing on non-violent drug offenses, ending pre-investigatory traffic stops? What initiatives would you lead the way on in your position as an elected official?
              Although not directly focused on criminal justice and the impact on communities of color, TDA can still play an important role by addressing some of the root issues, including education and economic opportunity. As stated above, TDA will support our public educational system by making sure that children have nutritious, flavorful, and culturally appropriate food so they will be healthy and ready to learn. TDA will also ensure equitable access to economic development resources, with emphasis on underrepresented populations, including communities of color.

              8. Quality affordable healthcare, which includes mental health care is a vital need for the African American community. Too many in our community have died from and lack treatment for treatable illnesses because the lacked the means to seek treatment. Do you believe healthcare is a right that all Americans should have access to? How do we repair our defective healthcare system? Is single payer the answer? Do we just tweak the Affordable Healthcare Act? Do you have a fresh idea to make healthcare a reality for all Texans?

              I do believe that all people should have access to quality healthcare. Through TDA marketing and nutrition programs, I will directly address issues of healthy food accessibility in all areas of the state, and through the TDA Office of Rural Health, I will make sure our rural areas have appropriate facilities and staffing.

              Food choices are significantly influenced by our environments. If fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins are unavailable, or unaffordable, then a family may not be able to make good choices about what to eat — just as is stated in the following question. I will fully address the healthy food access topic below. It is important for the TDA leadership to understand the relationship between food access and prevalence of diet-related health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, with higher rates of occurrence among African Americans.

              Regarding healthcare access, I will work to strengthen the State Office of Rural Health and the programs under its purview. I will build on the Health Care Workforce Program so that these rural areas are adequately staffed. I will seek out sufficient funding for the The Rural Health Facility Capital Improvement Program (CIP) which provides grants for establishing or improving healthcare facilities in rural areas. And, in compliance with the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, TDA will cooperate with other state and local agencies to complete a statewide rural health plan and support rural healthcare network adequacy.

              9. African American communities lack healthy eating options. We lack grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables, students who cannot afford to pay for lunch at school are shamed in front of their peers. What actions would you take to help spur business investment to get grocery stores within our communities to fill this void? How do we ensure our students in school get a healthy meal without being traumatized because they lack the funds because they are living in poverty?

              First, I would like to offer my appreciation for your including this question, as the Texas Department of Agriculture works directly on school meals and food access issues. Thank you for posing this question to all candidates being considered for endorsement.

              As I’ve previously stated, the school lunch program, along with breakfast, healthy snacks, and summer meals programs, are critical for the health of our children and their ability to learn. Under my leadership, TDA will take a comprehensive approach to eliminate the stigma of school meals. Innovative concepts such as breakfast in the classroom can encourage students to eat healthily to start the day. Many communities can participate in “universal eligibility” for free school lunch through a USDA rule referred to as the Community Eligibility Provision, which provides free lunches to all students, thus removing the distinction between students who pay versus those who do not. Other strategies include “blended lunch lines” where components of a complete meal and the “a la carte” items are intermingled, so that it is not obvious which child is getting what food, and removing cash from the equation, with all purchases made with a type of debit card. TDA will promote these and other evidence-based approaches.

              You may have heard the old adage about school lunch, “It’s not nutrition unless they eat it.” In order to encourage more participation in school meals, the food that is served in cafeterias must look and taste good and be culturally familiar and appropriate. If more students found the lunches appealing, then they (and their parents) would opt to participate in the school lunch program, which would help reduce the stigma. TDA works with the twenty Education Service Centers around the state to provide training and support to school food service workers. I will bolster those training programs and seek out other opportunities to boost the appeal of school meals.

              Another school meal program that also benefits agricultural producers is Farm to School. By encouraging school food service operators to purchase directly from farmers in their communities, schools can help keep money in their area and get the freshest and most flavorful foods for meals, generally for about the same price. By promoting local foods in cafeterias, children also develop a connection with their food and with farmers. My TDA administration will dedicate resources such as USDA grants that would be needed to expand Farm to School in Texas.

              Another approach to school food that builds participation centers on educational efforts. Children are exposed to a significant amount of advertising for foods that may not be healthy choices. I will make sure that students and their parents also get positive messages about healthy foods. School gardens also help to educate young people about local foods and can build on students’ knowledge and connection with fresh foods. I will promote the TDA School Garden Grant Program and seek additional resources to reach even more schools.

              One of the key elements of my policy platform is that all people should have access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food. Under my administration, TDA will support legislation and policies that ensure food access for all. This will include healthy food finance initiatives, which can provide grants and other incentives to bring grocery stores to underserved areas; healthy corner store initiatives that incentivize local convenience stores to offer healthier food options; and healthy supermarket programs that encourage stores to redesign their layouts to more prominently display healthy food options (imagine a checkout line with fresh fruit and juice instead of candy and soda!). I certainly understand the need for food retail businesses to make a profit, but I will work with those retailers to determine what other barriers exist to locating in underserved areas and offering healthier foods, and do whatever I am able to address those challenges.

              I also understand that we rely on grocery stores for the majority of our food purchases. However, there are other options worth exploring. Home delivery services are becoming more economical, for example. Also, there are nontraditional strategies that establish greater community control over their food supply. Some of these include buying cooperatives, which can be organized through churches, schools, community centers or other gathering places. Neighborhood-based farmers’ markets offering culturally appropriate and affordable foods or even community gardens where families can grow their own food can be located at similar sites.

              I am motivated by the opportunity to help improve access to healthy foods for all Texans. I am eager to begin the work that this will require and am also eager to share with all my fellow Texans the celebrations of success as we reach our goals.

              My campaign website presents my stance on the issues addressed above as well as others. Please check it out at https://www.kimolson4txag.com/Issues.html or feel free to contact me at any time if I can provide additional information.

              Thank you for your consideration.


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              Commissioner of the General Land Office

              Miguel Suazo

                No Response.


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                Comptroller of Public Accounts

                Joi Chevalier

                • Democrat: Yes
                • Position Sought: Comptroller

                1. Over the past 40 years African Americans have supported democratic candidates with approximately 88% of our votes.  How will electing/re-electing you benefit African Americans in Texas?

                The Comptroller is a very unique role: it is firstly financial and non-legislative, which means the concerns are rooted firmly in budget and projections: revenue, tax, investment, and outcomes, which do not necessarily sway between sessions. It allows for a consistent approach, long-term, to continually demonstrate how legislation, finance, and decisions affect Texans. There’s a pulpit available to the Comptroller, and today is it extremely underutilized. I look to restore that voice and viewpoint of how actions can adversely (or positively) help Texans, and even specific communities.

                2. In the 2016 election, 94% of African American women voted for the democratic nominee for President. How will you work to help this key constituency close the gender pay gap? Reduce skyrocketing maternal deaths in Texas? Provide equal opportunity to access capital to start a business?

                There are several initiatives on the table to discuss this wage gap and income inequality. Fightfor15 represents a baseline for a livable minimum wage (in current economics).

                Regarding skyrocketing maternal deaths in Texas, there is a correlation between medical bias against African-Americans, how African-Americans are treated or given, and their potential for higher incidents of misdiagnosis. All three must be addressed. Healthcare, preventative healthcare, and preventative pre-natal healthcare must be accessible and affordable and not viewed as a luxury.

                Having knowledge to teach business development and how to plan for intergenerational wealth development. There is capital access available in microloans, community lending, alternative lending, seed lending, angel lending, and the SBA. The key is knowing where it exists, what you as an entrepreneur and your company need to look like as viable companies — and this is not traditionally taught in African-American communities. Teaching and planning ownership is vitally important in order to make headway. As an owner of an incubator, I see this everyday and work hard to combat this in our community.

                3. Education is the key to help individuals lift themselves from poverty into prosperity, however African American students exceed the national average in Texas, with 60% living in poverty. What will you do to strengthen our public education system?

                A forward-thinking and smart Texas budget and forecasting (and Texas dollars) should reflect the priority growth needs within the state, for example: shifting some of misused ‘border security’ funding to local and higher education; funding pre-K programs; meals programs within schools; Medicaid expansion or restoration of healthcare and educational programs to our disabled students or most underserved communities.

                4. African American entrepreneurs have long struggled to secure capital to start businesses in our community. What economic development initiatives will you champion that will have a direct and positive impact African Americans businesses, employment and entrepreneurship?

                Too many programs are buried within the Comptroller’s office that could make an impact – better utilization, visibility of HUB and procurement programs. However, the key is to think in terms of innovative entrepreneurship – in how technology and other industries encourage new business, new leaders, and new products. All 3 must be developed simultaneously in the black entrepreneur through public and private partnership:

                • There is capital access available in microloans, community lending, alternative lending, seed lending, angel lending, and the SBA. The key is to know where it exists, what you as an entrepreneur and your company must to look like as viable companies to others in order to achieve success — this is not traditionally taught in African-American communities and is necessary.
                • Increased visibility of and access to local incubators, accelerators, chambers, and non-profit small business education groups (SBDCs, SCORE, community/technical college access) is essential – social capital, scaling, and like-minded community is essential to all business success and continuing personal, professional, and operational development is key.
                • Create interdisciplinary program within Comptroller’s office that creates clear paths for MBE growth: from initiating business with the Comptroller, to accessing the network of existing non-profits to educate and grow the entrepreneur/business/product, to supporting operations for scale of product, to access to public-private finance.

                5. Gentrification is a major issue affecting residents throughout Texas. What will you do to support preserving African American culture and history across Texas, particularly in neighborhoods where gentrification is occurring revitalizing neighborhoods, but pushing our people out?

                I would certainly support many ideas that have been discussed as ways of preserving African-American culture and history through its neighborhoods:
                – sunset of select property taxes for increasing age over 80+ is a practical way of keeping property within families, while recognizing the property is not (yet) changing hands
                – appropriate use of historic designations or community land trusts
                – appropriate economic district zoning to encourage more hyperlocal African-American businesses to remain in the neighborhood
                – Discourage ‘disaster capitalism’ – after significant events, encourage redevelopment plans from local entrepreneurs that are already known through non-profits and agencies
                – Examine community land trusts
                – Alternative and expansive zoning to allow different types of housing to make neighborhoods affordable.

                6. Please explain your belief about the importance of diversity in Texas and in our nation. What portion of your senior campaign staff is African American? Do you have any African American consultants? Have you purchased advertising at any African American owned media companies?

                Diversity and inclusion is our strength, and I have an unwavering commitment to civil rights and voting rights as the first right of a civil society; as a result, I was given the opportunity to work on both of those sections of the 2016 Democratic Party Platform as a member of the Chairman’s Platform Advisory Committee. Even our iconoclastic Texas political history has recognized that there was a need to champion others, to ensure visibility to all corners of the state citizenry, including those most needing representation. That was part of being ‘Texan’ – though some in current administration have tried to dismiss this.

                Our campaign team reflects that diverse and inclusive nature. We have not purchased any media (yet) at this early stage of the campaign.

                7. Criminal justice reform is a high priority for our community. The negative impact of laws currently on the book affect all communities of color and all people who live in poverty. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing repairing the criminal justice system? Please provide your stance on bail reform, sentencing on non-violent drug offenses, ending pre-investigatory traffic stops? What initiatives would you lead the way on in your position as an elected official?

                For-profit and private prisons should be ended, and the original content of the Sandra Bland Act, including provisions that address profiling, searches, jail reforms that address more of how people are stopped, should be on the table. This cannot remain an unfunded mandate – and the Comptroller has to provide report on investment and potential outcomes.

                The accused should not remain in jail due to accumulation of fines, fines on not paying fines, which strikes at employment, and keeps the individual in a cycle of criminal justice impoverishment and dependency, and misdemeanor courts should have the ability to offer innovative solutions and restitutions.

                8. Quality affordable healthcare, which includes mental health care is a vital need for the African American community. Too many in our community have died from and lack treatment for treatable illnesses because the lacked the means to seek treatment. Do you believe healthcare is a right that all Americans should have access to? How do we repair our defective healthcare system? Is single payer the answer? Do we just tweak the Affordable Healthcare Act? Do you have a fresh idea to make healthcare a reality for all Texans?

                I believe that healthcare is a basic, human right. Everyone agrees – on both sides of the aisle and in hospitals all over the country – that our current fee-for-service model is not sustainable. I think we need both: to improve the ACA and to do truly examine what a sustainable Medicare-for-all type system would look like. From a budgetary point-of-view for the State of Texas, expanding Medicaid/Medicare in Texas is something I support. Single-payer is not out of the question, if we can show overall savings with systems improvements along with better access, quality, and outcomes for the people of the Texas. The Comptroller’s Office could provide the reporting and forecasting that would show the feasibility of big changes, like Medicaid expansion or even single-payer.

                9. African American communities lack healthy eating options. We lack grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables, students who cannot afford to pay for lunch at school are shamed in front of their peers. What actions would you take to help spur business investment to get grocery stores within our communities to fill this void? How do we ensure our students in school get a healthy meal without being traumatized because they lack the funds because they are living in poverty?

                I believe that healthcare is a basic, human right. Everyone agrees – on both sides of the aisle and in hospitals all over the country – that our current fee-for-service model is not sustainable. I think we need both: to improve the ACA and to do truly examine what a sustainable Medicare-for-all type system would look like. From a budgetary point-of-view for the State of Texas, expanding Medicaid/Medicare in Texas is something I support. Single-payer is not out of the question, if we can show overall savings with systems improvements along with better access, quality, and outcomes for the people of the Texas. The Comptroller’s Office could provide the reporting and forecasting that would show the feasibility of big changes, like Medicaid expansion or even single-payer.

                10. African American communities lack healthy eating options. We lack grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables, students who cannot afford to pay for lunch at school are shamed in front of their peers. What actions would you take to help spur business investment to get grocery stores within our communities to fill this void? How do we ensure our students in school get a healthy meal without being traumatized because they lack the funds because they are living in poverty?

                The goal should be to get good food accessible to hyperlocal communities:

                –       encourage grocery store, urban farm, farmer’s market building through beneficial economic zones focused on breaking up food deserts

                –       educate food entrepreneurs on scaling as many African-Americans who enter entrepreneurship do so in food and often come from those same deserts, so that their food product can remain local, affordable within their own community

                –       restore WIC and SNAP to previous levels and encourage their use in non-traditional food ‘shopping’ like exchange at urban farms for vegetables or farmer’s markets

                –   Incentivize fresh food entrepreneurs into neighborhood channels: convenience stores, corner market, mobile markets, mobile food vendors in our communities.

                 

                 



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