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.

    Governor

    Adrian Ogegueda

      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?

      While I feel that my personal experience provides me significant background in issues related to the African American community, I will commit to have significant African American representation on my Advisory Board as well as on staff. Policy should be structures for the benefit of all, but there is a historical context as well as access to economic systems that requires added support for Communities of Color.

      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?

      All of these issues are extremely important to my candidacy. Again these issues will be a part of overall policy, but from a high level we will need reform systems that create these injustices, and also to educate our African American voters on the impact to communities so that political pressure can be brought to make these changes. This is a long struggle that must work itself through a legislative process, but my commitment is to strengthen the coalition of advocacy for these issues. This would include finding areas of common interest from other groups so that advocacy is multi-layered.

      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 have a full response to this on my website, but my goal is to improve the funding formula to better measure where dollars have the highest impact. My view is that education is more than simply the teacher student relationship. We know a lot more about educational cognition, and this means we need to have avenues to measure and support learning deficiencies at the student level, whether that is behavioral limitations or learning disabilities. This means that we need to have added support staff so that student can supplement classroom instruction with other one-on-one attention from literacy specialists to special education specialists. Funding will be a limitation, so we will have to look at broader tax structures to address this issue.

      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 would like to see broader business education in the community. My hope is that opportunities will arise for more equity as well as debt capital. This is a very complex issue but one I have some experience with. I would like to sit down with your leadership regardless of this election to share some ideas on how we can begin to tackle this issue. There are some things we can start building now to help drive this agenda in Communities 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?
      This is a challenge for many communities and taxation is a big part of this issue. When one of our major sources of taxation is property taxes, the impact of new development in a neighborhood can force taxation to drive people out of their communities. In addition, if a person is struggling to make ends meet the temptation to sell their property at a higher value is real. I think the long-term solutions here may take some discussion with the Coalition, to see what our preferred outcomes are; and I look forward to having that broader discussion.

      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 entire life has been one of diversity. While my campaign staff at this moment is 100% volunteer, as we move into the general election and campaign staff and services become paid, I am happy to have paid African American staff. In the meantime, anyone is welcome into my 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?
      I think this is an issue where we can generate some bi-partisan support. I think beyond the reforms in this area, we also need to work on workforce development and higher education issues so that folks that avoid our criminal justice systems have access and a path to personal development.

      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?
      This is an extremely complex issue but my take is that the entire system needs to be readdressed, especially the cost side of the equation. I look forward to sharing ideas with the Coalition.

      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 all schools can move toward a card payment systems, and that those systems can equalize the form of payment so that free, reduced lunch are no different than other transactions. Grocery stores are a different issue that includes community education as well as engagement with private grocers. I would like to meet with the Coalition to share ideas on this important topic.

      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.

        US Senate

        Sema Hernandez

          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 recognize the systemic racism that perpetuates the struggles of people of color. & low income in Texas, the rest of the United States & U.S. Territories. The success of social programs must be measured in objective evidence, not theoretical. I support criminal justice reform, including the repeal of the Crime Acts of 1994 and 1996, mandatory sentencing, and incentives to militarize police and reward them for meeting arrest and citation quotas. I support mandatory uniform training programs for law enforcement. I support reforming juvenile laws and policies which unfairly target children of color and result in revolving door incarcerations well into adulthood.

          Prisons should be required to provide a safe environment, complete with education, medical and mental health care, and work skills training. I support legislation which outlaws the private prison system and the private use of prison labor.
          I will introduce legislation to increase the legal remedies for bias in the workplace for all vulnerable populations. The protections provided in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (making it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex) must be reformed to allow proof of intent to discriminate from statistical and circumstantial evidence.

          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 the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to ensure, among other things, equal pay and equal treatment for women in the workplace. As mentioned above, I would amend the workplace protections for women and all people of color, provided through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. I would introduce legislation to provide paid time off to men and women for family care, including child care.

          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 support legislation that increases federal education dollars to states. I will support legislation that ties education dollars to reforms, such teacher-to-student ratios, increased pay and benefits for educators, the credentialing of all teachers, and individual textbooks and electronic resources for each student. A state which accepts federal education money should not be permitted to fund charter schools. Disciplinary equality should be mandated and enforced through objective evidence, such as disparity in disciplinary data. Education is a right, and I support taxpayer-funded tuition-free college and vocational training for all.

          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?
          Businesses owned by people of color are under-represented in both the private and public sectors. Banks choose winners and losers, and the systemic racism of our economy is used to perpetuate the myth that minority-owned businesses are less-successful than White-owned counterparts. Federal contracts are awarded disproportionately to minority-owned businesses whose ability to compete on pricing is adversely affected by systemic racism. I support the passage of legislation which takes systemic racism into account and which increases enforcement of existing laws (such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to incentivize banks and government entities (state and local) to end discriminatory practices.

          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 support federal legislation which requires that all new development in communities include at least 20% low-income housing, wherever federal monies are utilized for development. I support legislation that outlaws tax breaks for commercial and residential development, where that development fails to preserve existing neighborhoods and improve their infrastructure equally with that of the new development. It is only by providing equal resources to people of color in residential and commercial development that those neighborhoods can be preserved and sustained.

          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?
          All of my campaign staff are volunteers. I have been unable to raise campaign funding, and therefore cannot hire staff or consultants, because the Democratic Party is providing support only to my primary opponent. As a person of color, I would hire as many Black and Latino staff and consultants as possible, were I adequately funded to do so.

          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 support criminal justice reform. The Crime Acts of 1994 and 1996 unfairly punish crimes most identified with communities of color. This was by design, and so those laws must be repealed. Mandatory sentencing guidelines which have a disparate impact on people of color, including bail and parole requirements, must be outlawed as a violation of due process. Pre-investigatory traffic stops also have disparate impact on people of color and particularly on economically-disadvantaged communities, and resulting searches and seizures are unreasonable under the Constitution and should not be permitted.
          I support training reform for all law enforcement, as well as sensitivity and cultural training so that law enforcement serves our communities, rather than profiling them. Arrest and citation quotas should be outlawed. I support reforming juvenile laws and policies which unfairly target children of color and forever condemn them to denial of equal treatment in the workplace and in the courts. I would reform our prison system to eliminate and outlaw all private prisons, and to require that all reform facilities provide education, medical and mental health care, and work skills training, to ensure a successful transition into society. I support restoration of voting rights to all convicted persons. I would outlaw the private use of prison labor.

          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 human right. Everyone, regardless of income or ability to pay, i entitled to medical care, including mental health, dental, and vision. Accordingly, I staunchly support Medicare For All, as it is articulated in both HR676 and S.1804. I support the quick phasing in Medicare For All, and the elimination of out-of-pocket payments for healthcare services. The elimination of payment of premiums by individuals and employers, as well as the elimination of co-pays and deductibles, will more-than-offset the modest increase in tax dollars that most independent economic studies indicate will be needed for a Medical For All program. I also favor reducing the percentage of defense expenditures and shifting those budget dollars to healthcare.
          I also would increase federal funding for science education in our public schools, to encourage more students to pursue careers in applied sciences such as health-care and biomedical studies. This will provide greater opportunities for communities of color to have equal representation in all healthcare careers and increase the likelihood that adequate healthcare services will be available in rural and urban communities. I also would increase reimbursement rates for healthcare providers in communities designated by Health & Human Services as medically-underserved areas (MUAs) and healthcare provider shortage areas (HPSAs), to attract more competent professionals to those communities.

          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?
          Our laws should encourage investment in our communities. Our economy is demand-based, and income must be increased to allow for more disposable income. I support a federal minimum wage of $15, indexed to the cost-of-living thereafter, to ensure that all people can earn a living wage. Additional income will attract investment in local commerce, such as grocery stores and other services, that will sustain a community.
          But our safety net services must also provide the equivalent of a living wage to those who need it and allow beneficiaries to purchase foods of their choice. In a demand-driven economy, this will bring more grocery stores to disadvantaged communities, along with other businesses. Those new businesses will provide employment for the communities and help sustain economic growth.
          All children should be provided meals in our public schools, paid by our education dollars. Breakfast and lunch should be provided to all who want them, regardless of income or a showing of need, no child will be shamed.

          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.

            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.

              Governor

              Jeffrey Payne

                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?
                Democratic candidates have long considered votes from the Afircan-American community a “given”. In Texas, the alternatives are usually pretty dismal in regards not to just African-Americans but any minority.

                I don’t believe I can take those votes for granted any more. I intend to work with members of the African-American community to craft policies that can assure equitable access to voting and state services.

                I also plan to examine and take steps to rectify the overwhelming imbalance in our judicial systems. Far too many young black men are incarcerated and given short-shift by the justice system. I am keenly aware of the problem of police violence against African-Americans and will make it a point to create a state-wide investigation into the problem.

                Texas must become a state where all our citizens have access to education, fair employment and health care. The African-American community has not received the even-handed treatment they deserve and it’s time to change that.

                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?
                The gender gap in pay is not acceptable in Texas. As governor I would support strict enforcement of the Texas Equal Pay Act for all state employees and the Federal Equal Pay Act for employers engaged in interstate commerce. I would also encourage our legislature to reintroduce a bill similar to HB228 which was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry. This bill simply states that all Texans should receive equal pay for equal work. I am not sure why that concept is so hard to grasp.

                The maternal death rate in Texas is unacceptable, it rivals some third-world countries and that is appalling. We must accept the Medicaid funding offered by the Federal Government and we must also work with existing organizations like Planned Parenthood to reestablish a viable system of reproductive care centers across the state and end the sham Healthy Texas Women’s program.

                Encouraging small business in the African-American community and beyond is something in which I am vitally interested. As a small businessperson myself I understand the challenges in attracting capital and starting a small business. I sincerely believe Texas needs to offer the same tax incentives to small business startups as we do to large corporations. We also need to provide incentives and assistance for under-served communities. I would encourage creating a state-sanctioned business incubator program for minority communities as well as other tactics to nourish entrepreneurship.

                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?
                Our state education system is underfunded and the method of funding it is not equitable. The state must provide funds for schools in accordance to our state constitution. We must have an equitable finance system and we cannot rely on the “Robin Hood” plan any longer. We also must reject any attempts at a “voucher” system which is merely a way to divert already limited funds away from quality public education. As well, by closing the loop-holes provided to large corporations and ending he sweetheart deals also provided to them by means of their paying their fair share of property taxes, we can once again fund education as the State is required.

                I am a firm believer we must put education back in the hands of professional educators and take it out of the hands of politicians.

                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 I previously mentioned I believe some sort of minority business incubator program would be advantageous. Additionally, we need to look at giving small businesses the same kind of tax incentives as the large corporations in our state. Texas small businesses employ far more people than the large corporations. It’s time we treated them with the respect and encouragement they deserve.

                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 our communities are a big part of our heritage. I would like to see neighborhoods like the South Boulevard/Park Row Historic district preserved and restored, but more than that, I feel we must protect the character of our neighborhoods. That means working with local officials to prevent developers from aggressively revamping a vibrant neighborhood for the benefit of only a few affluent people.

                In the LGBT community we have seen this first hand. The Cedar Springs/Oak Lawn neighborhood has recently undergone a burst of gentrification which has threatened the cohesion of the area. New developments are bringing in people who neither understand nor appreciate the character of the area.

                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?
                Texas strength comes from the rich tapestry that are our people. The diversity of Texas is what gives our state its character.

                My campaign staff is still not fully staffed, but we have a wide representation of people from veterans, Hispanics, to children of immigrants and women. We are working to reach out to all communities across the state and as we move deeper into the campaign I feel sure we will be enlisting the services of consultants from the African-American community.

                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?
                As I previously stated, the disproportionate incarceration and prosecution of African-American Texans is unacceptable. Non-violent offenses, specifically drug-related must be treated in a equitable way. It is obvious that the criminal justice system is weighted against people of color. As far as the euphemism of “Pre-investigatory traffic stops”, they are nothing more than racial profiling and making it a crime to be “driving while black or brown” cannot be tolerated any more in Texas. I will work with the state Attorney General to investigate what I believe is systematic abuse of Texans 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?
                Healthcare is a right not a privilege. If the federal government can’t fix the problem, Texas needs to investigate a solution. Single-payer is a valid system that works in pretty much the rest of the developed world and we should look to states like California and Massachusetts for ideas. It will not be easy. The insurance lobby has great sway in Texas, but I believe we must take steps to begin creating a system that works for all Texans.

                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?
                A robust school lunch program is a must. There are children who do not eat lunch when school is not in session. To help with the stigma of this I would propose a lunch card for all students. For those with means to pay, they can be purchased. For those without the means, they would be provided. It is an option we need to explore to destigmatize the program.

                Healthy food options in the community could be addressed in the programs to incubate small businesses in the communities. Looking at tax incentives for businesses carrying fresh produce might be an option. Making fresh healthy food available is vital to all Texans.

                Governor

                Hon. Cedric Davis Sr.

                  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?
                  By electing me the first African American Governor of Texas and only the fourth African American Governor in America’s history, truly places someone who has face the daily struggles and oppositions that African Americans have faced in this state and country. I will work diligently to push legislation that ends inequalities but presents equities to the African American communities as well as other neglected communities that are often neglected by zealous self interest politicians and their wealthy donors. I pledge to push legislation to restore equity in educating our children, restoring health care programs design to help aid those unable to earn a livable wage that afford them to provide the necessities of basic life. These are just several reason why I hope to earn the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats, African Americans, and all other individuals of need respect and votes.

                  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 will present legislation that will attempt to provide a state wide livable wage of $15. I will legislate for a Texas Constitutional Amendment for equal work equal pay rights. I will fight to get the est. $65+ Billion federal health care funds that Abbott refused to accept before those dollars are no longer available after 2020, so mothers can have access to resources such as WIC, CHIP, and medical programs as well as provide for eight weeks of paid maternity leave. I will direct the Texas EDC and EDT to provide a larger percentage of state micro grants and contracts to go towards vendors of Minority and Women Businesses Enterprises status so they may have access to business 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?
                  I will restore all the funding cuts that Gregg Abbott made to public education I will seek reductions in the amount of dollars he placed into private schools, charter schools, school vouchers. I will legislate to bring all schools that receive state funds to be in compliance with state accountability standards. I would end standardized testing, and put more funds into STEM, and Vocational Tech programs to encourage those students living below the poverty level to take advantage of these programs that can prepare them careers other than collegiate preparation. I will legislate to give back local control of school with with fewer state oversights. I will ensure that Texas HBCU’s get equitable share of higher educational funds.

                  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 will champion legislation that will direct the Texas EDC and EDT to provide a larger percentage of state micro grants and contracts to go towards vendors of Minority and Women Businesses Enterprises status so they may have access to business capital. I will look at way to incentivize lenders who provide capital for Minority and Women Business Enterprises. I would encourage religious institutions within African American communities to create co-op’s and present community development projects to lenders as one community held corporation.

                  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 will host gubernatorial town hall meetings in these areas to learn what resources are needed to revitalize the communities and their cultural history. I would encourage more community involvement, self pride and marketing of the community historical significance. I will then assign their concerns to the appropriate state agency to find the necessary resources to assist or address the original concerns.

                  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?
                  As a former Mayor,Police Chief, and current Public Educator, I am very aware of the importance of diversity in governance, education and the workforce within our state and country. Communities are more accepting to new ideologies, community programs, and they engage the political process when government is diverse like themselves. My senior staff only consist of only three individuals who are African Americans, and I utilize two consultants one is African American and the other is Hispanic. I have not purchased advertisements as of yet, but as funding increases I will be utilizing several African American Media Companies for campaign marketing.

                  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?
                  As a former Police Chief I see the biggest challenge to reforming the Texas criminal justice system is getting the number of private corporate operated prisons dollars out of the campaign war chest of many Republican law makers, such as Rep. Rainey, Cyrier, and Keough all who authored legislation to support the GEO Group a private prison company that would build additional detention centers inTexas with some of the center being authorized to obtain child care licenses so they can hold immigrant children. I see the other challenge is to address an over zealous judicial system that places poor or even mentally ill offenders of minor misdemeanor crimes into over crowded jails for days and weeks knowing they can not pay the bond or fine amounts, instead of allowing them to immediately be placed on a payment plan or work release program then release them on personal bonds. As a long time law enforcement officer, I don’t agree with ending investigative traffic stops because it is very valuable constitutional tool if properly utilized by law enforcement, this tool prevents many deaths by stopping DWI drivers, reduce the amount of drugs trafficking throughout the state, and this tool help recover victims of abduction, it assist in capturing murder suspects and other violent criminals. I would lead the way on five key initiatives which would be equity in education, inequality in pay, health care restoration, economic and infrastructure, and criminal justice reform.

                  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 feel it should be a fundamental right to have affordable health care for all. I don’t agree with scraping our current Affordable Health Care Act system but repair the system defects. I currently like the research data coming out about the single payer model.

                  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?
                  As a public educator, I see many students go hungry daily so many of us educators buy food to keep on hand for such incidents. Once I become Governor I would like to explore economic incentives for those grocers who build in impoverished areas. To ensure those students who can not afford or forgot their money to pay for lunch should never be shamed because of their poverty status. I think their should be administrative penalties against institutions that is found guilty of such a violation. I think adding additional funds to the school free and reduce lunch programs that is designated for specific emergency feeding of these students and is limited to their amount of use per school calendar year would allow these students to have a healthy meal for the day.

                  Governor

                  Tom Wakely

                    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?
                    One of the most important powers the Texas Governor has is the power of appointments. Over a four year term, he or she will make over 3,000 appointments. Electing an economic populist like myself as Governor who would appoint progressives to state agencies and boards would fundamental reshape the culture of how Texas treats it citizens. Appointing progressive members to the state Finance Commission which oversees banking in our state would, for example, fundamentally change how our state treats bank charter applications submitted by groups wishing to establish community development banks. Appointing a new Insurance Commissioner to replace Kent Sullivan whose term set to expire Feb. 1, 2019 would drastically change how insurance rates are set in our state and for the first time address insurance redlining in our state. These are just two examples of how, as Texas Governor, I could fundamentally reshape the culture of Texas through the power of appointment.

                    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?
                    (1).The Texas Governor has no legislative power but does have the power of the bully pulpit and the power of the line item veto over legislation. The combination of the two provide the Governor with extraordinary power to address the many issues facing African American women. For example, the Texas Equal Pay Act provides that all women employed by the state of Texas must be paid the same as men performing the same kind, grade, and quantity of service and that no distinctions in compensation may be made based on sex but there is no comparable state law that covers private employers. As Governor I would use the power of my office to push the state legislature to amend the Texas Equal Pay Act to include private employers. (2). Maternal deaths in Texas is a moral outrage, an injustice that won’t be solved by another commission or further studies. Our state has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world – 35.8% per 100,000 live births as of 2014, according to a study in Obstetrics and Gynecology. By comparison, the maternal mortality in Japan was 5 per 100,000 live births, according to UNICEF’s 2015 data. In Poland, it was just 3. And while black mothers make up just 11 percent of Texas’ live births, they account for nearly 29 percent of the maternal deaths, the leading causes – heart disease, drug overdoses and high blood pressure. Texas needs to look at the health disparities and socioeconomic status of the mothers dying in Texas and address both. The solutions I propose are a Texas version of Medicare for All and addressing income inequality by raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. (3). While the Equal Credit Opportunity Act ensures fair lending practices, a lack of credit history, generational wealth, or professional networks has a negative impact on minority applicants seeking capital to start a small business. As Governor I would push the state legislature to create a program that would expand minority access to capital to start a small business. The specific details of this program will need to be worked out but the concept would be to expand minority access to capital by tying it to the state’s competitive bidding process for large infrastructure construction projects like roads, buildings, bridges, etc. The point system for these competitive projects would be expanded to give points to bidders who co-sign/guarantee a person’s small businesses bank or SBA loan application bank.

                    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?
                    One of the ideas I am campaigning on is free community college tuition or free trade school tuition. Not everyone is cut out to attend college so by making post high school education choices ie. community college and trade schools tuition free we go a long way to breaking the school to prison pipeline.

                    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 Texas needs to set up a state owned bank similar to the Bank of North Dakota which currently is the only state-owned institution of its type in the United States other than the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank. This Bank of Texas would be tasked with making small business loans guaranteed through the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). In addition, the state’s Enterprise Fund, which currently only makes grants to large corporations would change how it does business. Under my Administration, the fund would only make cash grants to small business funded by the Bank of Texas. These grants would cover the small business borrowers monthly SBA loan payments for a period of 2-3 years – enough time for the business to get it’s business operation up and running.

                    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?
                    In my opinion, the best way to mitigate the effects of gentrification while preserving African American culture and history across Texas, is to expand the role and power of the State Office of Historic Preservation. Currently, all nine members of the commission’s governing board are white men and women; most of whom have ties to the real estate lobby. Not only would I appoint progressives to the Board I would also make sure the board was comprised of men and women of color – Black, Hispanics, Asians.

                    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 have no campaign staff to speak of at this time nor do I have any money to purchase any advertising from any company. That said, our campaign has partnered with Michael Coopers campaign for Lt. Governor. We are running on a slate comprised of myself, a seasoned white economic populist and Michael who is an aggressive progressive African American.

                    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?
                    To repair our broken criminal justice system we first have to connect the dots. There is a direct connection between our broken criminal justice system and campaign contributions made by big corporations operating private prisons in Texas. Currently there are 4 big players operating private prison in our state.

                    CoreCivic (formerly named “Corrections Corporation of America”) operates 14 facilities including the Lindsey State Jail in Jacksboro and the Willacy County State Jail in Raymondville. Correct Care Solutions, formerly known as GEO Care, a spin-off corporation of GEO Group operates the Texas Civil Commitment Center in Littlefield. The GEO Group operates 33 facilities in our state and the LaSalle Southwest Correctional corporation operates 10. In order to make money, the operators of these private prisons must keep them full. Campaign contributions flow like water to judges, district attorneys, county sheriffs and city and county politicians. As governor I would do everything in my power to cancel all private prison contracts. In addition, I believe we need to do away with bail all together. If a judges decides a person is eligible for bail, then a monitored ankle bracelet is the solution. We need to legalize marijuana and we need to end the use of pre-textual traffic stop. As Governor I would order the Texas DPS to cease using the traffic code to conduct investigatory stops immediately. I also believe we need to end the death penalty in our state.

                    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 have been advocating for universal healthcare for all Americans for over 30 years. I have been consistent in stating that healthcare is a right. I believe we need to establish a Texas version of Medicare for All. I am in the VA healthcare system and as far as I am concerned, everyone in Texas should have the same access to what amounts to almost free healthcare and prescription drugs. As Governor I would push the State to issue a series of general obligation bonds to purchase and rehab all of the rural hospitals in our state that have closed or about to close. Additional bonds would be issued to build new hospitals and health clinics throughout the state. Everyone would have access to 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?
                    (1). Given that the private sector has shown little interest in opening groceries in many neighborhoods across our state, I believe Texas should step in and fill the void through the creation of the Texas Commissary Agency or TCA. The TCA would operate like military commissaries, selling groceries and household goods at cost. Customers would pay a surcharge on their purchases. Unlike a tax, a portion of surcharge funds would go right back into the commissary to work for commissary customers, paying for the cost of building new stores, renovating and repairing existing ones and purchasing equipment and store-level information technology systems such as cash registers. It is estimated that customers shopping at a TCA commissary could save an average of more than 30 percent on their grocery bills. A blessing for many low-income households. In addition, customers could use manufacturer’s coupons to save even more on their commissary purchases. (2). That portion of the TCA commissary funds not going back into the commissary would be used to pay for a free meals (breakfast and lunch) at every public school in Texas. Whether a student takes part in the free meal program is immaterial, it is a free meal for all students regardless of parental income. By making the meals available to everyone, the stigma of being poor is erased.

                    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.

                      Governor

                      Grady Yarbrough

                        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 African American community will benefit because I Know the Problems of the Community and can work for direct solutions to those issues.

                        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?
                        Closing the pay gender gap: I will Pay, and hire women the same as men doing the same job. Reduce the Maternal Death Rate: I will initiate the Children Health program, as well as initiate the Medicaid expansion program. These programs will greatly assist mothers with prenatal care during pregnancy.
                        Provide Capital for Women Businesses. Women would be provided the same opportunity for capital as any other group. They will be treated as equally as any other group.

                        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?
                        In order to improve the education system, would require more funding from the state. I would strongly advocate increase State funding to improve those districts where test scores indicate there is a lag in achievement. Improving student excellence is the one way that can be lifted out of poverty to prosperity.

                        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?
                        The providing of small Business loans to entrepreneurs would be one of my goals should I be Elected. Of course, all who apply, and is accepted would be supervised in business operations. This would have an impact upon employment within the African American community. Such ventures would encourage other business ventures.

                        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?
                        Gentrification is important. Those areas that can be physically preserved, I would assist, and encourage that they be preserved with a Historical Marker which would detail the historical incident which took place at that specific place. I would also encourage the taking of photographs of the area to for future generations to observe, giving physical description of the area, and preserving this evidence in local Historical Societies, and Libraries.

                        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 part of our Fabric: We in Texas came from many groups. There are no originals except the Native Americans; everyone else came from diverse places from around the world. Having African American Consultant? Yes. I do purchase advertising from Minority media Companies.

                        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?
                        Yes: The criminal justice system needs repairing. The first step I believe is proper training for the officers that patrol our communities. They should know the community that they serve. They should take courses, to become better representative of the city, or state government. Policing is more than just going to the firing range, and afterwards, going on patrol. Therefore, an educated police is the first step.
                        By law, the bail should not be excess, and must be suited to fit the crime, of course, if the individual is a flight risk, the bail usually is much higher. Legislative bodies usually set the requirements for bail. As for Non-Violent drug use, this should not even be a crime. It should be a crime when the use impacts the lives, and safety of others. As far as pre-investigatory checks during traffic stops, I think this necessary to protect the public from violent criminals, but should not be used to deport people that fit the category of being illegal.

                        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?
                        Yes: Healthcare is vitally needed in our state. Out state along with 18 other states does not participate in the Medicaid Expansion, therefore many people have died for lack of medical care during the past 4 years. Yes, I believe that healthcare is a right for all Americans just as education. Our pre-amble to the Constitution mentions that our goal is to “Provide for the common defense, Promote the General Welfare”. It has been interpreted that the general welfare is Education, but Health should have been included in the General Welfare Clause as well.

                        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?
                        Those small business loans mentioned in question #4 would be encouraged to use that Start-up capital to bring businesses to the African American Community. This kind of venture would bring employment, as well as providing a vital service to the community. As far as students are shamed because of a lack of having funds to pay: over 50% of students receive free or reduced lunches.
                        Students receiving reduced lunches are not embarrassed, or humiliated. Students merely present their Student I D card, their names and grade levels are known by food personnel… there is no public discussion about payment between student, and school kitchen personnel.

                        Lt. Governor

                        Michael Cooper

                          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 be the first black voice we have in a State wide democratic office and I will continue to be civil rights activist even in the Capital. I will continue to fight for new schools in poor and minority neighborhoods. I say no to vouchers and no to more charter schools. Our African American children deserve a quality education in a safe environment.

                          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 have 3 daughters and I am in prayer that one of them decides to get into the automotive industry and take over my dealership. That will make her a millionaire in her life time. When you start a dealership the thought is the second generation will become the millionaire. I have been a life long supporter of equal pay for women. In the automotive industry women as finance managers have been some of the biggest producers and highest paid in the dealership. I also work and will work with women that are single moms to have flexibility of living work to take care of a latch key child. We benefit from having women in the work place. They should be paid equal, they should also be used and not abused . Heuman deserve good health care and the right to choose what they want to do with their body.

                          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?
                          My platform is education and it is to give the black child a fighting chance. I want to increase vocation in schools, like electrician, carpenter and auto body mechanic. I want the ready to go to into the workforce when they turn 18. All children are not cut out for college. When I do have a child that is cut out for college and he chooses to go and the household income is less than 36,000 dollars I want him or her to attend college free. Education is a poverty killer. The bible says, “ my people perish for lack of knowledge”. As Lt. Governor I will bring our children to the 21 st century by places computers on the desk and remove expensive books , one book cost over a 100 dollars and we can purchase lots of computers at one time while driving the prices down for purchasing in bulk. We need more and better teachers and I will get them by getting large businesses in Texas to help pay for their teachers pay raise. I will also get big business in Texas to pay to rebuild old schools.

                          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 will continue to champion the African American business man as I to am looking for funds to start my own dealership. It is not a minority dealership or business if the requirements to get started is having 2 million dollars. That is not a minority type business. If you have 2 million dollars you are not a minority you are a millionaire. I have spoken to many black men and women in several fields and the problem they have is getting the money to get started. I will work with franchises in Texas to forgo the initial investment which allow more minorities to break into various fields of their choice. In the job force we still have unequal pay as our white brothers and sisters . They will change the job title and pay the black man less, I know, because it happened to me. I will make sure that the Texas Employment commission makes it easier for blacks to be able to report discrimination acts. I will not tolerate unequal pay or in some cases no pay increase for doing management work.

                          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 have been pointing out to the powers to be in Galveston county were Hurricane Ike hit over 10 years ago and they refuse to rebuild section type housing . They are not rebuilding infrastructure in the poor areas if Galveston. They do not have grocery store in the neighborhood . By the time someone gets on the bus and picks up frozen food or ice-cream on the bus, by the time they get home the ice- cream is melted . I will drive and walk those neighborhoods again as Lt. Governor while I look for people in the neighborhood that I could get local grocery retailers to come along side a black owned grocery store, so they can open up in the neighborhood. We must bring people back to their homes and rebuild areas like this. When we loose people in areas like this we also loose voting powers, because the political lines were drawn so we can have black representation in local and state government in those areas. I will right the wrong in areas like Galveston and areas like it.

                          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 have found in my 35 years of being in business that if you cut the black out you cut the green out. When I was at the National Automotive Minority dealers meeting last year I found out that it was the Minority dealers that were more profitable even in difficult times. The minority dealer was up 30 percent higher than its closest competitor. In every business that I have manged or dealt with the black person was number one in sales or number one on the leader board. I have been blessed that the African American radio shows and host have given me free air time and I plug them every chance I get in public and on social media. I have had black owned radio stations and newspapers give or donate to my Campaign by given space or time. Most people think we can not get along and the team that God has put together for me is proven that wrong . All of my senior campaign consultants are African American .

                          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?
                          Criminal justice reform is something that we have been talking about for a long time. It is one of the biggest reason I decided to file as a candidate for Lt. Governor, we nees to stop the pipe-line to prisons issue. The way we do that is better and quicker education for all, I want to start our babies in school at K-3 most white kids go to some type of schooling at this age. When their children get in school they are reading , writing and doing many other things while society is building prisons to house our black kids in. We need to vote in more black Judges and District Attorneys and appoint an individual agencies to investigate the accuracy of a ruling. If and when they find misconduct that agency should have power to remove or start the review of the removal process of that judge or DA . In our area we have stopped arresting people with less than 4 oz. of marijuana on them, it is a waste of time and money . When in office if and when marijuana is legal, I will personally see to it that all people especially black people have their records wiped clean. I will have our heads of agencies do a surprise investigative report on our law enforcers to make sure that we are not profiling people with stops , if so we will find the offenders and write them up and eventually kick them out.

                          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 actually am a Life coach , spiritual counselor and Psychologist. I have my Masters in psychology , because of un-diagnosed mental illness. When I counsel I see the problem and even if I suggest that they go see their doctors for medicine or treatment for their mental illness they reply with , “ what doctor ?”. So, they go on with life some bipolar others so depressed that they are suicidal and need medication and it is not available to them. If the government can not fix or replace the Affordable Care act , I do have a solution. It includes all 27.8 millions Texans . When we make it available to everyone, even the people with good health care will have to take a look at this plan , because the coverage will be better and the prices will be cheaper.

                          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?
                          Free lunch for all. Do not spend money on a wall give it to the lunch program. This way no one will know who is on welfare or not. We just dealt with having poor service in our grocery stores in Beaumont and one closed down and another one merged at the request of the citizens . We now have a super HEB and they brought a black lady from the produce department in Houston to run it and she is doing a great job. They have the best produce in all the grocery stores in the area. As Lt. Governor I will continue to pull in good grocery stores that are good for our committee. First Lady Michelle Obama did a great job with talking about our diets in school and I have decided to make that one of my wives jobs in Texas . I have been married to my wife more than 30 years and she has always dealt with eating the right thing, she is very knowledgeable about foods and pageant about our black children, because she is a teacher at an all Minority school and has been an educator for more than 25 years . I would say she is qualified to lead that initiative for us in this great State of Texas.

                          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.

                            Governor

                            Andrew White

                              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.

                              I would lead an effort to repeal the Leach Amendment and then expand Medicaid in Texas. Health care is one of the core issues of my campaign. I would better fund community health centers in Texas, to expand their numbers so they can treat more low-income patients. My focus would be on reducing the uninsured, since Texas, embarrassingly, leads the nation on this front. I believe we can make healthcare more affordable by: 1. List Prices: When I buy health services, I don’t even know what it costs. Until that’s fixed, it won’t get cheaper. 2. Reduce Fraud: Medical professionals who commit fraud need to be in jail. 3. Reduce Admin Costs: Paperwork drives up the cost. Technology is improving this, but more needs to be done. 4. Increase Preventative Care: We already have universal care. It’s called the Emergency Room. And it’s expensive. More health insurance coverage means lower healthcare costs.

                               

                              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 better food policy makes for healthier kids. As you may have heard, I’m a data-driven guy, and the data shows that subsidized healthier school lunch programs work. Too often, major grocery store chains don’t want to enter underserved communities because there isn’t sufficient customer density to support a store. To the extent state government can invest in these communities, by improving schools, which attract students and thus raise property values, as well as help provide needed infrastructure improvements to make neighborhoods more growth-ready, it should. As neighborhoods begin to thrive again, businesses and residents create the density needed to support grocery stores. Finally, we have seen innovative programs to encourage youth in underserved communities to grow and prepare their own food, using community gardens and vocational programs that teach young people to garden, cook, and manage food service — potential career options — as well as provide low-cost fruits and vegetables in these communities. As governor, I would support greater investments in these programs, which pay multifold dividends in the future.


                              Governor

                              Joe Mumbach

                                No Response.

                                Railroad Commissioner

                                Chris Spellmon

                                • Position Sought: Railroad Commissioner

                                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 most important aspect of voting for African Americans is voter education and accessibility. As your candidate, I will ensure both. Through specific programs, I will work endlessly to improve the availability of voter education programs for everyone and more specifically critical groups such as senior citizens and millennials. On the key of accessibility I still believe in the importance of a municipal identification card that allows those who may not have a driver’s license to vote more easily. Likewise, African American citizens who are not naturalized (and make up a large percent of the African American population) will have the ease of accessing basic needs such as acquiring places to live and the ability to activate utilities. Moreover, the prison industrial complex has greatly affected and deteriorated the chance for some first time offenders to have the ability to vote. This is something that I plan to work diligently to put an end to.

                                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?

                                It is surprising that in such a self-proclaimed progressive time, women only receive seventy-five cents to every one dollar that their male counterparts make financially. I advocate for a fair pay scale to be created and required for all occupations. More importantly women should know that they have the right to report any unfair wage discrimination through the EEOC. It is with more knowledge of this happening that we will be able to combat prejudiced practices. Therefore ALL employers should require mandatory EEOC training clinics for their employees. Maintaining access to healthcare is another pillar that we need to build upon to help stop maternal deaths in Texas. Many people of color lack the accessibility to quality healthcare services, much of what is needed lies in creating a system that provides healthcare for all. Lastly, as a candidate I will do my best to ensure that federal grants are the impetus to capital access for business and entrepreneurship.

                                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?

                                Education begets education. I strongly believe that the key to launching African Americans into the realm of education lies in the current public school system. While charter schools and school choice are both very important and significant avenues of education for parents, it is important to remember that the public school system is in need of a very serious makeover. Therefore, I would begin at the roots of education and solicit the collaboration of very successful charter and public schools with local institutions to motivate cohesion among educators. Such a relationship would forge a mindset of importance in pursuing institutions of higher learning.

                                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 has been a long known fact that African Americans have historically had less than favorable outcomes with loans for businesses and mortgages. While this theme is rooted in a very negative past of Jim Crow laws and prejudice it is important to remember that fortitude is the word that best describes the role of African Americans in the world of finance. I believe that the most instrumental action in this case is to ensure that financial literacy and financial planning services are made a priority for all African Americans. Initiatives that pump economic opportunities and support the foundations of small businesses will be encouraged and put into place to encourage both business and entrepreneurship. These businesses will also be made aware of various programs and grants that cater to employment practices that will benefit minorities as well as minority owned business. I firmly believe that a collaboration with the chamber of commerce will be another way to indirectly influence business, employment and entrepreneurship.

                                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 question addresses a topic that I am particularly passionate about. Feelings of dread spread throughout historically black neighborhoods at the first sight of a Starbucks or Whole foods. The solution in this case resides once again in financial literacy and education as well as building a strong support foundation for African Americans who have established real estate businesses and professions. Gentrification is a huge problem that not only effects African Americans as a unit but more specifically, those who are vulnerable. Senior citizens are experiencing a gross rise in the cost of their taxes while trying to maintain their livelihood on fixed social security incomes. This is surely not fair, and I will not stand for it. Minority real estate professionals will be encourage to take advantage of prime real estate in these critical areas.

                                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 crux of any well oiled machine. I say that to imply that without diversity, we would not be such a great city. Houston, has done quite a magnificent job at putting our best foot forward and welcoming all people to have a seat at the table. My staff is currently 100% African American and Hispanic with Afro-Latin influencers, women and also the handy-capable. All people are encouraged to apply. My current director of communications doubles as a volunteer at Radio-one where I will soon solicit advertisement. Radio-one is currently one of the most diverse and the largest minority owned media outlets in the nation.

                                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?

                                While my position does not leave much leeway to act in the field of criminal justice reform, I currently work to end the perception of offenders. My favorite book, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander is the very first of its kind to address and even offer solutions to this very problem. The first action on my radar would be to continue to fight with current elected officials for strides in the de-criminalization of marijuana as well as the decriminalization of those who have been offenders. Henceforth I will never stop in my assertion of creating fair sentencing between drug offenses. It is no secret that the opioid crisis is one that disproportionately affects non-minorities more than minorities and is treated with special treatment. This special treatment was not and still is not offered to minority community that have been adversely affected by crack cocaine, a sickness that has yet to receive the medical and mental health services required to rehabilitate families who have been ravaged by it. The biggest challenges that we currently face revolve around reforming the prison industrial complex and revitalizing the lives of past offenders. The private prison system is profit based and incentivizes unfair incarceration of young brown and black men. As an elected official it is therefore my immediate duty and concern to put forth an effort to reform this unfair system. In the mean time, it is no secret that the current bail system only benefits those who are wealthy enough to afford services and therefore prison sentencing is not only racially based but also based on socio-economic factors. All people have the right to a fair, timely and just trial which is not being illustrated by our current criminal justice department. I will proudly represent the interests of my constituents in this matter.

                                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.

                                I absolutely agree that healthcare is an on-going struggle for the Black community, namely having accessibility to mental health services (one of the most important services to date). I definitely believe that ALL Americans should have fair and easy access to healthcare services. It is not only the right thing to do, but the thing that requires a candidate with an extraordinary degree of integrity and empathy for others. Despite the current cataclysmic nature of our government, there needs to be a dramatic change in the way that we view healthcare for everyone. For example, Texas’ decision not to expand the Medicaid program was a gross miscarriage of justice. Because of this decision, many Texans were unable to secure good insurance and therefore not only missed out on important health services but also incurred the cost associated with it. The affordable care act did a wonderful job of allowing every person access to affordable healthcare through their stipend program, but we must not stop there. Let us not forget that Universal Healthcare and the Single-Payer system go hand-in-hand. While many politicians argue that it is socialism to provide healthcare to every person, I believe that it is imperative to do so. Therefore, my solution is a combination of our current system, and Universal 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?

                                The Black Panthers were known as the free breakfast pioneers, it was their program that spurred what we know now as the free lunch program. Much more effort needs to be put forth into communities that currently house black grocery stores. Just as previously mentioned on the topic of gentrification, there has to be more investment in current black business that happen to be grocery stores. One of the most unfortunate truths about impoverished neighborhoods is that the majority of them sit within “food deserts” that do not provide access to fresh produce. Low cost food markets that target these neighborhoods also fail to provide fresh produce items. It is again imperative that we provide free health and food preparations within our local community centers and create incentives for those who attend. The first step to this solution is to ensure that the stores that open within these communities serve the interests and backgrounds of those that they serve. This means providing healthy options for specialized diets that affect the black community (Low-sodium, diabetic friendly, halal meats for Muslims, etc.). We must work hard with entrepreneurs and community leaders from the beginning to allow grocery stores to not only be places of consumerism but also neighborhood hubs that include space for health classes, banks and black owned credit unions, as well as small clinics (much like large H-E-Bs). On another note, special incentives must be created for store owners who are willing to hire ex-offenders in an effort to motivate growth and prosperity in minority communities. Lastly, kids who meet the minimum requirement for free lunch programs should have other alternatives. For example, their parents could received a school only stipend based on income that pays into their child’s lunch requirement. Much like a lone star card, this could only be used to purchase lunch for the child but will look very much like a standard and customizable debit card. While this may only minimize taunting, it is a step in the right direction.


                                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.
                                Commissioner of the General Land Office

                                Miguel Suazo

                                  No Response.

                                  Governor

                                  James Jolly Clark

                                    No Response.

                                    Commissioner of the General Land Office

                                    Tex Morgan

                                      No Response.

                                      Comptroller of Public Accounts

                                      Tim Mahoney

                                        No Response.

                                        Comptroller of Public Accounts

                                        Joi Chevalier

                                          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?

                                          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.


                                          U.S. Senator

                                          Edward Kimbrough

                                            No Response.