The Right Priorities
For Texas

These issues unite all Texans. Let’s address them thoughtfully.

Economy and Job Creation

I believe the best avenue out of poverty is a good-paying job. That is why I will not allow Texas business to be derailed by regressive social distractions or authoritarian regulations. Instead, I say, let us work on policies that improve our infrastructure, simplify our tax system, and invest in our workforce.


Pop quiz: Which costs more, teaching kids to read or keeping them in prison? Which is more productive? Is an uneducated person “free” to lead a meaningful life? These are not difficult questions.* So why the continuing failure of our legislature to invest in education? Because school finance is a difficult problem, involving fairness in taxation, responsible spending, and competition for funding at both the state and local levels. But difficulty does not excuse failure. Objective research shows the vast social and economic benefits to everyone — kids, communities, business, and our tax base — of giving priority to investments in education. We must fully fund early learning programs and K-12, expand access to community colleges, and allow those who seek a college degree to do so without incurring crushing debt.

Answer Key


The debate is always framed this way: “Is healthcare a right or a privilege?” This frame is false, or at best, useless. Healthcare is a necessity. Not only is it a fundamental human necessity, it is an economic necessity for the success of our state. Healthy people, of course, enjoy a better quality of life than people who suffer from ill health. They also earn more, pay more in taxes, and cost less in social resources. If we want to be a pro-business, pro-growth state, we cannot continue to compete for the highest uninsured rate in the nation. The businesses we want to operate here will simply find states with a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce. We have the opportunity to build a superior healthcare system in Texas. And we must.

Equal Opportunity, Equal Contribution

Why exclude anyone? Besides the obvious morality of equal opportunity, there is, also, strength in numbers and strength in diversity. We want all Texans to participate in and contribute to our economy, and to our cultural richness. Whether it’s equal pay, employment, insurance, or property rights, there is broad agreement on this point. Yet the Texas Legislature has repeatedly rejected attempts to pass legislation that would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression; and Texas’s equal pay laws are among the weakest in the nation. If the state legislature can’t get this right, the matter should be left to local governments. (See Local control. Not incidentally, local protective ordinances are not generating litigation.)

Local Control

Each Texas city has its own character – values, challenges, resources, and solutions distinct from any other. Local governments understand this. They are in touch with the local people; they enact policies that reflect the values of the local people; and they respect the expertise of local law enforcement who, likewise, understand the local people. In this way, cities are laboratories of democracy, living experiments in public policy.

When the state preempts local control – particularly at the will of a powerful non-representative few – it denies the rights of communities to have their own character. And it runs counter to the Texas tradition of self-governance. Let local governments determine the best policies for local matters.

Responsive, Representative Government

Decades of gerrymandering has ensured that our communities are split, voices are silenced, and citizens’ votes are all but excluded from the Texas political process. Current leadership has doubled-down on voter manipulation, enacting policies that even the most conservative courts have struck down as unconstitutional. Put the data in the hands of people who don’t have an incentive to skew the votes against the will of the voters. Appoint a nonpartisan commission that uses computer modeling to draw the most objective lines possible, subject to public hearing and legislative review. Then we will be free to choose our representatives, and our representatives will be accountable to us.

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