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Texas House, District 115

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  • Kim Kelley (L)

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    Matt Rinaldi (R) Businessman & Commercial Litigation Attorney

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    Paul K. Stafford (D) Attorney

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Biographical Information

Length of residency in your district:

Occupation/main source of income:

Education (include all degrees):

Highlights of current civic involvement/accomplishment:

Highlights of past civic involvement/accomplishment:

Previous public offices sought or held:

How much funding have you raised for your campaign?

Who are your top three contributors?

Have you ever been arrested or involved in any criminal proceedings? If so, please explain:

Have you ever been involved in any civil lawsuits or declared personal or professional bankruptcy? If so, please explain:

What is an example of how you led a team or group toward achieving an important goal?

What political leader do you most admire and why?

Why are you running for this office?

Why should voters choose you over your opponent?

What are the state's greatest challenges that government can address?

The current two-year budget restored billions of dollars from previous cuts. Are there places where you advocate more spending and, if so, how would you pay for it? Are there areas where you would spend less?

The state’s business climate is considered a jobs magnet. How would you improve on today’s business conditions, regulation or promotion?

Please assess the safety net for Texas' poor and working poor. What changes, if any, would you make?

The 2013 Legislature broke with the recent past and boosted spending on mental health care. What other reforms should lawmakers pursue to address mental health in Texas?

What would you advocate to prevent another disaster like what happened in West?

Texas' "Closing the Gaps in Higher Education" master plan is due for a 2015 update. Are there new directions or initiatives you advocate for the state's colleges and universities?

How will you judge whether the state’s new accountability system is working for public education?

The Legislature may have to contend with another court order to overhaul the system of financing public schools. What is your idea of a better way to support public education in Texas?

If voters approve an extra $1.2 billion a year in highway spending in November, that’s only a fraction of what TxDOT says is needed. How would you bridge that gap to meet the needs of the growing population: taxes, fees, tolls, borrowing, some combination, or none of the above? Please be specific.

An ABA-sponsored, bipartisan review of Texas’ death penalty recommended numerous reforms. What weaknesses or needed improvements would you cite in the administration of the death penalty?

Do you favor open carry for handgun owners in Texas?

Gov. Rick Perry has advocated "decriminalization" of marijuana possession. What changes would you support in prosecution of drug laws in Texas?

Would you vote to place a medical marijuana amendment before Texas voters?

What changes, if any, would you make in Texas’ open records and open meetings laws?

Should the Legislature pass laws that supersede local control over oil and gas drilling?

What, if anything, should the state do to reform laws that govern payday lending?

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The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
City/Town Irving
Age 42
Campaign Phone Number (214) 587-1700
Email Address matt@mattrinaldi.com
Though my district has changed through redistricting, I have resided in Irving for 6 years.
Businessman and Commercial Litigation Attorney
Juris Doctor, Boston University School of Law, cum laude, 2001 Bachelor of Business Administration, James Madison University, cum laude, 1997
My wife, Corley, and I attend St. Ann Catholic Parish in Coppell. I am a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Coppell Republican Club and the Metrocrest Republican Club.
I represented under-privileged families in the "Adoption Saturday" project, a program developed to speed the adoption of abused and neglected children in Dallas County. As a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Dallas, I chaired the Ambassadorial Scholarship Committee, which selected candidates for a Rotary scholarship to study abroad. I was a two time judge for the Rotary High School Speech Competition and the National High School Mock Trial Tournament. I am a member of the Leadership Irving/Las Colinas class of 2010.
I was a candidate for State Representative, House District 115, in the 2012 Republican primary and was the 2010 Republican nominee for Judge of the 191st District Court.
As of August 15, 2014, I have raised approximately $140,000 in contributions.
Accountability First, Monty Bennett and Texans for Education Reform
No.
No.
As a student at James Madison University in 1994, I made national news for my efforts to have the Pledge of Allegiance recited before student government meetings. After the student government executive committee vetoed my bill to make the pledge a part of our meetings, objecting to its references to God and “justice for all”, I led a two week campaign to mobilize public opinion in support of the measure, which was ultimately successful.
I most admire Senator Ted Cruz for his intellect, moral character, faithful adherence to conservative principles and courage in challenging the political establishment, Republican and Democrat alike.
I am running for State Representative because I intend to provide much-needed support in the fight for fiscal sanity in the Texas budget, while at the same time ensuring quality education, transportation and water are top priorities. In a sobering editorial entitled, “Texas Goes Sacramento,” the Wall Street Journal decried the Texas Legislature’s unprecedented spending spree during its 83rd Session, which increased spending by 26% from the previous session and grew nearly every area of state government. I stand with the 31 courageous representatives who voted against this unprecedented growth in government. Fiscal responsibility in the Texas House is imperative and will be my top priority as State Representative.
Voters should choose me over my opponent because I am a principled representative with clear, consistent, positions and my opponent is a big government Democrat in the mold of President Obama. Unlike my opponent, I will do everything in my power to shrink the size of government, fight Obamacare, protect the sanctity of life, secure our borders, promote excellence in education, fight illegal immigration and protect our Second Amendment freedoms.
Fiscal responsibility, illegal immigration and education. First, I agree with the 72% of Americans who believe big government is the greatest risk to our future. Rolling back the size and scope of government is uniquely within the government's power to address. The government must also address the illegal immigration and border security problem it has ignored for too long. As the son of an Italian immigrant who came to America legally, I know first-hand that illegal immigration undermines the rule of law, threatens to overwhelm our social services, and is unfair to those who follow the rules and apply for citizenship legally. Finally, the state must ensure excellence in education by providing for increased competition and parental choice and driving dollars to the classroom where they belong.
Everyone cuts their budget when they have less money. The 2011 budget merely spent the money we had, which is good fiscal policy. An area that requires more spending is transportation, which, along with education and water, should be prioritized in the budgeting process. Corporate welfare programs that benefit only the politically connected are among the first areas I would cut. Taking the budget as a whole, I would freeze the real growth in spending. I am the only candidate in my race who has pledged to vote against any budget that increases spending in excess of inflation plus population growth.
I would re-focus legislative efforts on the “Texas Model” of low spending, low taxes, and less regulation with strong private property rights protections, protection from frivolous lawsuits, maintaining Texas’ right-to-work status and resisting federal government interference in state affairs to the fullest extent possible. We also need to free small businesses from onerous licensing requirements, which make it harder for entrepreneurs to start a business.
Obamacare is the biggest threat to the working poor and middle-class, many of whom will have their hours cut or lose their jobs to protect employers from the mandates of the failing program. Regarding current programs, I would continue to pursue Medicaid funding block grants in order to give the state greater flexibility to run the program.
The state needs to be given greater flexibility to provide long term care options for high risk patients and fight waste and abuse in the system.
The tragedy in West was followed by an example of the best of humanity, as thousands of volunteers and local churches provided shelter, food, clothing, and counseling. Yet despite criticism from Washington, state lawmakers did not rush to legislate and impose unnecessary regulations. The government cannot prevent all tragedy and I support the decision of state lawmakers to avoid haste in enacting bad law just so they can claim they are taking action, even if it wasn’t the right action.
I would tie university funding to results as measured by degrees issued, learning outcomes and employment outcomes. I would also encourage reforms that place more focus on teaching American history, government, economics, and western civilization.
Accountability can be assured only through competition. Competition between schools should be encouraged through a system of school choice, whereby the individual student’s share of state funding moves with the student, who is freely allowed to home school or attend the public, private, or religious institution of his or her parents’ choice.
Robin Hood is the number one problem in Texas public education and must be abolished. In addition, school funding is systemically flawed and must be reformed, with an emphasis on driving dollars to the classroom and where they belong. I would eliminate costly mandates, thereby freeing up more resources for our teachers and students, and return local control to promote greater efficiency in our public schools. Furthermore, competition between schools should be encouraged through a system of school choice.
I would meet our transportation needs by ending diversions from gas tax revenue dedicated to transportation and dedicate a portion of the current automobile sales tax to transportation infrastructure. I oppose any new taxes, fees, tolls or borrowing to fund transportation spending.
The average criminal on death row remains there for over 10 years, is allowed numerous appeals, and is already afforded the greatest level of procedural safeguards in our justice system. I stand with the vast bipartisan majority of Texans in my support of the death penalty.
Yes, I favor bringing Texas in line with the 44 states that allow some form of open carry.
I support reclassifying possession of small amounts of marijuana so it is punishable only by a civil or criminal fine, not incarceration.
No.
I would not propose specific changes at this time, but favor making it as easy as possible for citizens to obtain open records requests of all officials.
The state should encourage development of our energy resources for the benefit of all Texans and protect the rights of private property owners to develop energy resources on their own land.
I do not favor proposals which will force short term lenders out of business, put the government between consenting parties to a private transaction, and harm low income individuals who will, if government shuts off legitimate avenues, turn to loan sharks and gang members.
Address P.O. Box 631851
City/Town Irving
Age 49
Campaign Phone Number (214) 494-0145
I have been a resident of TX HD 115 since 1999.
I am a Founding Partner and Attorney at STAFFORD LAW FIRM, P.C.
1986 Waller High School HS Diploma 1990 Texas A&M University BS Political Science 1994 Texas Tech School of Law J.D.
Member, Dallas Bar Association Member, J.L. Turner Legal Association Volunteer, Big Brothers Big Sisters Member, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Farmers Branch, Texas
Chair, Farmers Branch Business Community Advisory Board Member, Carrollton Library Board Participant, Carrollton Citizen Academy Member, Woodcreek Homeowners Association, Carrollton, Texas Past President (2012), Dallas Bar Association Past President (2002), J.L. Turner Legal Association Past Board Member, World Affairs Council of DFW Past Member, Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations Past Member, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Business and Community Advisory Board Volunteer, Big Brothers Big Sisters Co-Founder, VISTA Academy of Coppell PTO Member, Janie Stark Elementary PTA Member, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Farmers Branch, Texas
NA
Approximately $40,000.
By dollar amount:

$5,000 - Metrocrest Democrats (Terry Barker); $5,000 - Genelyn Conti $1,000 - Erle Nye: Jerry Alexander; Art Anthony; R.C. Kennedy; Cameron Reynolds; Kenneth Robinson; Bobby Rubarts; Joel Winful
No.
I am a business litigator and have been involved in numerous civil lawsuits.
As President of the Dallas Bar Association in 2012, I presided over an Equal Access to Justice Campaign that raised funds and awareness for the need of pro bono legal services in Dallas County. As a result, the Campaign for Equal Access to Justice raised over $800,000 to service the legal needs of the indigent and less fortunate in our community. I continue to represent clients on a pro-bono basis, and encourage other lawyers to do so.
Although he was also a social and religious leader, the political leader I admire most is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He changed the social, political, and moral landscape of the United States and the world, by challenging each of us to be all that we can be, free of prejudice, filled with purpose.
I am running for Texas House District 115 because the 115th deserves a representative that is concerned with the issues that are important to the district, and is committed to working collaboratively with the constituents and other elected officials to address those issues. Innovation, individualism, and determination are hallmarks of Texas. I, like most Texans, believe that through work and dedication, we can better ourselves through the educational system, become productive citizens, build a better state, and ensure a more hopeful tomorrow for ourselves and for our children. I also believe that our elected officials have not done enough to promote and preserve these fundamental Texas ideals. I believe that we can do better - together. I am committed to serving the 115th and the state, and doing everything within my power as a representative to ensure a better today and more hopeful tomorrow.
I believe that leadership requires principled positions, as well as an open ear to Texas citizens and an open mind to better governance. I am the only candidate willing to rise above partisan bickering and seek collaborative solutions to shared challenges facing members of the 115th and all Texans.
While government is not the solution to all, or even most, challenges, there are several significant challenges that should be addressed by our government. Challenges such as maintaining a vibrant and growing economy, supporting and promoting an effective and efficient public educational system, preserving the environment and safe drinking-water, improving our infrastructure, and ensuring access to affordable health care are vital to the 115th and to all Texans.
By its nature, governance involves tough choices, and those choices often involve funding. While funding alone is not the solution to most problems, the government must constantly strive to fulfill its core functions - one of which is providing a mechanism by which its citizens can receive a quality public education. As a representative, I would advocate increased funding for public education. Unfortunately, our government has consistently failed in its duty to properly fund the educational system in this state. Parents are being required to pay more of their child's public school expenses, and teachers are being forced to pay hundreds of dollars each year out of their own pockets to pay for materials needed to educate the children of Texas. This is unacceptable. The government and its representatives must listen to educational stakeholders such as our teachers, administrators, parents, and students to ensure a top-quality properly-funded public educational experience for our citizens – from the ground-up, not top-down. Our public educational system must also be responsive to the demands of a changing technological society. Accordingly, funding for public education should be increased to a level that ensures proper quality and competitiveness. Such funding can be achieved through existing general revenue, anticipated increased revenue, or the rainy-day fund. It should not be achieved at the expense of quality, or on the backs of parents or teachers.
Although Texas has been an economic engine since the 2008 Recession, we must continue to improve the quality of jobs for our citizens, to ensure that working Texans have real opportunities to earn competitive livable wages to support themselves and their families. Texas must continue to be an economic beacon, promoting entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, growth, and economic prosperity for all. Texas's "new economy" can be promoted and maintained through public-private partnerships, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, and the promotion of fair-pay for women.
A significant number of our fellow Texans live at or below the poverty line, including approximately 10% of our elderly and approximately 10% of Texas women. Many working Texans are unable to earn a livable wage, including a significant number of Texas women. Texas has traditionally spent less than other states on social services and assistance to aid the poor and working poor. Texas must promote fair pay for women, and continue to create and encourage economic growth so that the poor and working poor can have the economic opportunity to support themselves and their families, while also providing adequate social service assistance to those Texans willing to help themselves. Texas must ensure that the social service dollars that it dedicates to addressing the needs of its poor and working poor are used efficiently and effectively. Texas must also work collaboratively with private social service organizations to expand and enhance the social services offered to those Texans in need.
Mental health care is an important issue in Texas, and the recent boost in state support was overdue. Additional mental health care funding and reforms are needed, as evidenced by local and national issues impacting families and safety. Texas still ranks among the lowest in the nation for spending on mental health care, as well as in the number of psychiatric beds available per capita, and in the number of private psychiatrists available to treat the mentally ill. Texas must work to increase access to, and funding for, mental health care.
Disasters such as what occurred in West in 2013 may or may not be preventable, but it is incumbent upon our state, our lawmakers, our regulators, and our business community to do all that they can to prevent such a tragedy from occurring. As a representative, I would work to ensure proper regulatory oversight of hazardous and potentially hazardous materials, through collaboration and cooperation with the business community.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, in collaboration with the business and political community, produced the "Closing the Gaps In Higher Education" master plan in 2000 with the intent of closing the educational gap in Texas as well as the gap between Texas and other states by 2015. While the plan's four main goals of student participation, student success, excellence, and research have all been addressed by the Plan, and measured success has been shown across each of the goals, there is still much work to be accomplished on these existing goals. During the update and revision process, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board should consider additional goals which may have arisen since the Plan's inception in 2000. In addition, Texas lawmakers must adequately fund public higher education to promote the interests of public education in this state and to assist in accomplishing the goals of the "Closing the Gaps" master plan.
The goal of the state's new accountability system, which is based on the STAAR examination, EOC examinations, and other indicators, is to ensure that Texas public school students are prepared for college, or are prepared to enter the workforce, and that Texas public school graduates are competitive in a global marketplace. Although there is considerable disagreement among parents, students, educators, and the business community regarding the burdens and effectiveness of the new accountability system, I will look to the quantitative measures of a student's college preparedness, a student's preparedness for the workforce, and our students' competitiveness in the global market in determining the effectiveness of the system. I will confer and consult with the educational community in determining what changes, if any, need to be considered and made to the accountability system.
All students should be assured that they will receive the proper resources from the state to facilitate their public education. Although the current school finance law attempts to address the financial commitment which must be made to each public school student, additional consideration should be given to school funding disparities across our state, including the amounts that local communities and districts must annually send to the state for distribution. Texas must discontinue its practice of cutting public school funding and under-funding public schools in this state.
Texas is a growing and vibrant state. The roads, bridges, waterways, and general infrastructure of our state are in desperate need of repair - and in some cases, complete overhaul. In particular, the transportation demands of our state have exceeded the capacity of our transportation infrastructure, and the problem is projected to worsen with each passing year. TxDOT has estimated the need for billions of dollars over the coming years in an attempt to meet Texas' transportation needs. The answer to Texas' transpirations needs is not in additional pay-per-use infrastructure, nor is it solely in the pouring of additional concrete. Even if the voters approval an additional $1.2 billion for highway spending, we must continue to improve our transportation infrastructure, as well as promote mass transit and more efficient modes of transportation. This type of investment attracts new employers and jobs.
As a former prosecutor, I have a unique understanding of the criminal justice system, and would express to lawmakers that the death penalty is a necessary punishment option, but it is a punishment option that should only be utilized in especially egregious criminal circumstance. As a legislator, I would meet with various stakeholders in the criminal justice community, including prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, judges, victims rights advocates, and the Texas prison system to determine what changes if any need to be made to Texas' system of determining when to seek the death penalty; and how best to effectively and humanely administer the death penalty.
I favor "open carry" for licensed handgun owners in Texas, with restrictions of the right to carry in certain public places and venues.
As a former drug prosecutor in Dallas County, I realize the impact that drugs can have on individuals, their friends and families, and the criminal justice system. As a representative, I would consult with the criminal justice community on the issue of "decriminalization" and its potential impact on the criminal justice system, treatment goals, criminal prosecutions, and the administration of justice, to determine the best course of action. Texans need to ensure that its law enforcement community is dedicating its valuable time to the most serious of crimes.
If the Texas medical community supported a medicinal purpose for marijuana, I would vote to place a medical marijuana amendment before Texas voters.
None at this time; however, the Texas open records and open meetings laws should not be politicized, and should be interpreted in such a manner that permits maximum deference to the right of the public to know what transpires in public meetings or at public entities.
With the exception of cases where the safety and welfare of the public are at risk, the Legislature should not pass laws that supersede local control over oil and gas drilling.
Texas should continue to protect the interests of consumers/borrowers who utilize payday lending, while also preserving the right of consumers/borrowers to responsibly contract with payday lenders for such loans.