THE ISSUES THAT MATTER TO US
rebuilding our infrastructure
Infrastructure goes beyond streets, bridges and potholes. In order to get our communities moving towards progress, we need to ensure that a modern infrastructure grid is in place so that we can be prepared for innovative firms & new technologies in our region which can bring in thousands of jobs. Here are some additional priorities:
- Prioritize resilient infrastructure built to withstand natural disasters so that we aren't playing catch up when one strikes.
- Rebuild our water systems & pipelines so that our communities are safe.
- Ensuring the Port of Corpus Christi is the most competitive in the country.
- Connect our rural communities with low-cost broadband cable internet.
- Invest and revitalize our aging public schools so that our kids can get the education they deserve.
Growing our economy & jobs
Jobs are the lifeline to our economy. You can't have a thriving economy if the jobs aren't there to feed into it. Being employed is also more than just a paycheck - it's a sense of self-worth and dignity. Here are some of my proposals to move us towards progress:
- Attract innovative firms,industries & jobs by expanding & utilizing the New Market Tax Credit program and establish a zero capital gains option on long-term investments.
- Empower Texas' small businesses to expand to new markets to grow so they can hire from our local talent pool.
- Protect Corpus Christi Army Depot and Naval Air Station jobs from for-profit companies.
- Repeal "Right-To-Work" laws that trample worker's right & are aimed to dismantle unions.
- Fight for equal pay for women by strengthening equal pay laws & eliminate "previous salary" questions from the hiring process.
- Invest in our manufacturing and production workforce through high-quality training and apprenticeship programs that enable workers to earn while they learn.
- Vehemently oppose the TPP and heavily renegotiate NAFTA to better serve Americans.
Protecting your healthcare
I believe that healthcare is A RIGHT and NOT a privilege. So let's take the burden off of families that are paying high-priced premiums and small business owners who are unable to expand due to their mandates on employee coverage. I believe in a single-payer healthcare system that works for the people. On top of this, here are ways to expand healthcare access to everyone:
- Expand low-cost local community health centers into more of our rural communities.
- Decrease the mortality rate among our expecting & new mothers by providing low-cost/free access to care they need.
- Ensure that women have full access to healthcare facilities & medications for all their medical needs.
- Fund and fight for a cure against Alzheimer's disease.
- Put a cap on the outrageous prices of prescription drugs.
- Ensure our Health & Human Services Department has the funds necessary to fight opioid addiction and abuse - while also holding pharmaceutical companies responsible.
- 41% of TX-27 children are on CHIP ** (Children's Health Insurance Program) - we need to renew & strengthen that.
ENDING POVERTY & HUNGER
In this day and age, no one - especially children - should be going hungry. Tackling this issue can be done through strengthening and funding already implemented programs and tax credits. Here are some that would help our poverty stricken citizens:
- Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers, which would help 994,000 to 1.3 million workers in Texas **, which includes veterans, young workers, and rural workers.
- Reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to be more effective by ensuring TANF funds are targeted to promote & support work, as well as providing a safety net for needy families.
- Strengthen and expand the Child Tax Credit to ensure poorest of families can qualify.
- Ensure that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) guarantees that participants are able to afford healthy food.
defending Social Security
I believe Social Security should be defended and enhanced. Those who put in years of work should be able to retire with the respect and dignity they deserve.
- Oppose any efforts to rob or privatize these hard-earned benefits for working Americans.
- Oppose any efforts to raise the retirement age and block any attempts to close the Social Security shortfall on the backs of the middle class. We can preserve this this great benefit by asking the wealthiest to contribute more.
- Reduce the amount that is cut from Social Security benefits when a spouse passes away so that the widow/widower doesn't carry a heavy financial burden.
education is key to success
Education is the key to opportunity in this country. Whether it is through university, community college, or learning a trade - everyone deserves a key to success. There is also a battle against our education system that must be stopped. As the son of a public school teacher, I understand the importance of education. Here is where I stand:
- Put more investments in our Early Head Start programs.
- Implement a Universal Pre-K system so that every child gets the best start on their educational careers.
- Close the educational gap for low-income students, students of color, ESL learners, and students with disabilities.
- Provide FREE community college and low-cost or free tuition to our working-class families.
- Raise wages for our educators and fight for their collective bargaining rights.
- Prevent any taxpayer money to go towards school vouchers.
PUT OUR FAMILIES FIRST
Our families are having to work harder than ever just to make ends meet. They've been having to cut corners on all aspects of their lives already - so America shouldn't be cutting corners on them. Here's ways to ease the burden a bit:
- Allow home/apartment renters the option to have their rent payments count towards building their credit score.
- Gradually raise the minimum wage to reach $15/hour.
- Ensure that new & working parents are guaranteed at least 12 weeks of paid time off for family & medical leave.
- Provide tax relief for those who are caring for their ailing loved ones.
- Help our student-parents have better access to childcare while they are earning their degrees or trade skills.
being there for our veterans
As the brother of two veterans and family member of others, the importance of serving those who served for us hits especially close to home. Here's how we can help our soldiers once they return home:
- Reform our veterans' health care so that they are provided with quality AND timely services.
- Block any attempts to privatize our VA system.
- Expand and aggressively promote our current mental health and PTSD programs and services, and help veterans get treated for opioid addiction.
- Help connect our veterans with better jobs that fit the skill set they learned while serving our country by expanding on current programs.
- Connect more of our veteran-owned small businesses with federal contracts so they can grow their companies.
fight for civil rights
What makes our country great is our diversity, but we still have ways to go before we can comfortably say that no one is left behind. We need to rebuild our values so that we have open hearts and open minds for everyone. For me, that includes:
- Protecting and promoting the rights of all LGBTQ people, by working to pass The Equality Act so that everyone is protected from all key areas of their life from housing to employment to credit and public services.
- Fight to end violence against our transgender women & men - starting with improving how hate crimes are reported & data is shared, and remove barriers for transgender Americans trying to change their gender mark on government IDs.
- The Trump Administration has reversed an Obama-era policy to phase out private prisons - that is inhumane and disgusting. Growing the economy on the backs of our black & Latino brothers & sisters is not how we grow. We need to end all federal contracts with private prisons.
- Decriminalizing minor possession of marijuana.This non-violent crime has been locking up our minority population for decades. It's time to end that and we do that by legalizing marijuana. The tremendous tax revenue and the cutting down on drug trafficking will make our communities safer.
Engage our youth
Millennials & Generation Z (group after millennials) are the future of our country. In 2015, Millennials overtook baby boomers as the largest living generation. It's time we engage our younger generations. Here's how:
- Lower the voting age to 17 so that high school students can begin civic participation early.
- Enact civic engagement & "real world" courses in high school so graduating seniors have the life skills to be prepared for the real world.
- Create skills programs & apprenticeships for young adults that aren't in school or employed to earn while they learn.
- Expand resources for vocational high schools so students can be ready for the work force right out of school.
Providing tax relief
Our tax code should be favorable towards those who need it most - our working-class families with low to moderate incomes. Current tax proposals by Trump are aimed at helping those who make over $1 million dollars a year. Here's ways to help everyday families:
- Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers, which would help 994,000 to 1.3 million workers in Texas**, which includes veterans, young workers, and rural workers.
- Strengthen and expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC) to ensure poorest of families can qualify.
- Close the loopholes for the super-wealthy, Wall Street, and largest corporations so that tax cuts can be provided for low-middle class families.
Cutting the Red Tape for Small Businesses
As someone who has worked closely with national organizations promoting the growth of small businesses, I know first hand the economic force they bring to this country. Let's grow our middle-class by supporting our small business owners by:
- Remove the bureaucratic red tape that many start-ups face at the federal and state levels.
- Work with and strengthen community banks so that small businesses & startups can have access to capital and funds needed for their growth.
- Support the Export-Import Bank so that small businesses can be assured America will be there for them if large banks aren't.
- Look at ways to provide federal tax relief for small business owners.
- Reduce the capital gains tax to zero for those who want to invest in small businesses for more than five years.
- Strengthen SBA's WBE (Women Business Enterprise) & MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) programs and add on a EBE (emerging business enterprise) to extend to LGBTQ & Disability.
- Utilize SBA's HUBZone Program to spur economic growth in our rural and poverty level communities.
** Sources: Census.gov | Georgetown.edu | Brookings.edu