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Texas House, District 113

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    Cindy Burkett (R) Real Estate Agent and Small Business Owner

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    Milton Whitley (D) Teacher and Small Business Owner

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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?

Address 226 Magic Lane
City/Town Sunnyvale
Age 59
Campaign Phone Number (214) 460-5349
Fax Number n/a
Email Address cindy@cindyburkett.org
29 years
Ebby Halliday Real Estate Agent and Small Business Owner
University of North Texas -Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution University of Texas at Arlington Bachelor Degree (Major Political Science, Minor Business) Eastfield Junior College - Associates Degree in Business
Awards: Texas Conservative Coalition - Courageous Conservative Award - 2013 Texas Association of Business - Champion for Free Enterprise 2011, 2013- Conservative Roundtable of Texas - Lone Star Conservative Leader - 2013 Texans for Life Coalition - Star of the Special Session 2013 award - North Texas Crime Commission - "Crime Fighter of the Year" award 2013 Dallas Can Academy Motherhood Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 CLEAT Freshman of the Year 2011

Professional Associations: National Association of Realtors - Member Texas Association of Realtors - Member MetroTEX - Member Garland Chamber of Commerce - Member Mesquite Chamber of Commerce - Member Rowlett Chamber of Commerce - Member Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce - Member Balch Springs Chamber of Commerce - Member Seagoville Chamber of Commerce –Member

Boards: Heroes of Mesquite Americans Ending Abuse TCCRI

Texas State Senator Bob Deuell (Deputy Regional Director, April 2004 – January 2006) State Republican Executive Committee Woman for Senate District 2 (2006-2010) TFRW Tribute to Women Honoree 2008 SE Zone Leader for Dallas County Judicial Victory 2006 Secretary at the 2006 Dallas County Republican Senatorial District 2 Convention Mesquite Area Republican Club – Founder and President 2007 – 2009 Sunnyvale Republican Women’s Club – Campaign Officer 2009, 2010 Mesquite Republican Women’s Club Fashion Show Fundraiser Chair – 2006, 2007 Texas Federation of Republican Women – Member Bush Rally 2004 (SMU Dallas) – Usher Chairman Volunteer at the Dallas County GOP Headquarters Precinct Chair for Precinct 2315 (2005 - 2010) Precinct Secretary for Precinct 2315 (2004) State Delegate for Republican Convention 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 2012, 2014 State Delegate for Texas Federal Republican Women Convention 2005, 2007 Election Judge 2006, 2008 Election Clerk 2004, 2005
State Representative, District 101
Available at Texas Ethics Commission Website
Available at Texas Ethics Commission Website
No.
No.
Operations executive of company operating several subway restaurant locations - expanded and improved overall performance and sales projections at all stores.
I have drawn inspiration from many or our nation’s leaders, but none more than President Reagan. Through his steadfast commitment to conservative principles and his ability to build consensus, President Reagan moved our country forward with a confident vision and reaffirming purpose. In a broader sense, I continue to admire those public servants who complete the task at hand with a commonsense approach, ever mindful of their obligation to represent the will and values of their constituents.
It is the duty of every generation to secure the best possible future for those that follow. My call to serve, more than anything, is driven by my determination to ensure that my children, grandchildren and all Texans have best the opportunity for success. Our state is tremendously blessed, but not without its challenges. I have the proven leadership to address our most pressing issues, as well as the foresight to understand the long-term effects of our decisions.
We have made our home in District 113 for the last 29 years. Our kids have been educated in our public schools. We have worshipped at a local church. I have had business connections in the community and have served on city boards. A representative needs to be in touch with the people they represent and have an understanding of the issues that affect their community. I draw upon my small business experience, successful leadership, and long-standing relationship within the community to affect positive change and get results for our hard-working families.

The most immediate challenge Texas faces is achieving a solution to the pending border crisis. Washington's persistent failure to secure the Texas border has led to one of the largest security and humanitarian problems our state has ever faced. Due to the lack of response from the federal government, the State of Texas has been forced to step up on behalf of the safety and security of Texas citizens. In the upcoming Session we will further investigate possible long term solutions to contain the consequences of Washington’s failure to uphold their responsibility.

We must continue to prioritize strengthening our schools. Our kids only have one shot at a good education. We must ensure that our local schools and teachers have the tools and flexibility necessary to get the job done. It is also crucial that we concentrate the investment of our education dollars in the classroom where the learning happens. Most of all, we need to ensure that our school funding model can distribute funds in an equitable way so every Texas child, no matter where they live, has the opportunity to receive an excellence education.

Finally, we must take every step to continue growing the Texas economy by providing a low tax, low regulatory environment. Companies move their operations here because Texas created a place where business can flourish to its fullest potential. That's also what every Texan wants: the opportunity to be the best they can be, free from government roadblocks. Working together, we will keep our great state on the right path and continue creating good jobs for our hard-working families.

Last session, I prioritized our kids’ education and voted to restore $3.4 billion in funding for our schools. This was possible because Texas braved the economic storm of the great recession, kept taxes low, and emerged as the number one state for job creation in the country.

While I was proud to increase school funding, our current education funding formula needs to be revamped so that the funding is right-sized to address the equity issues throughout the state. I believe we can do more to ensure our kids are getting the excellent education they deserve. I will continue to put our children and families first in every budget decision I make.

Additionally, the state’s transportation infrastructure is currently underfunded by approximately $4B annually for the construction and maintenance of our roads and highways. It is time that we make infrastructure funding a priority to continue attracting jobs to our state and to make sure that hard-working Texans spend minimum time in traffic and more time at work and with their families.

The simple truth is: that innovative ideas of hard-working people create jobs, not the government. In fact, bad government regulation and high taxes on small businesses kill jobs. This is the reason our national recovery has moved at a glacial pace. These last six years have proved that Washington needs to follow our lead.

In Texas, we take care of our job creators. Last session, we took a big step toward cutting the franchise tax, which punishes small businesses whether or not they make a profit. Moving forward, my goal is to increase those cuts, make them permanent, and reform the way the tax is calculated so that we don’t punish our businesses during their lean years. Additionally, I think it would be beneficial to regularly review (or Sunset) regulations that affect our businesses to determine if the regulations are accomplishing their intended purpose or simply another undue burden on the business owners with little benefit to Texas. This common sense approach will give our job creators the tools they need to expand their business and hire more workers. If we are to meet the needs of our booming population, Texas must take every step to keep our economy growing and strong.
While I believe in a strong safety net that effectively assists those that may find themselves unemployed or underemployed, meaningful strides in our fight against poverty will focus on empowering citizens to rise. This involves a continual effort to develop a well-prepared workforce, as well as nurturing a free-market environment that will increase opportunities for our working poor. We must ensure that our working poor have the best career services and technical education opportunities available to them, and that a safety net is closely tied to job-searching efforts.
I am proud to have strongly advocated for mental health care reform last session, but there are still critical areas in which we must improve. Increasing access to quality services, upholding rights of individuals living with mental illness, and improving the shortage of mental health professionals throughout Texas, particularly in rural areas, are all major opportunities for mental health reform.

Quality, accessible services decrease crises situations, which often result in incarceration and often, homelessness for those with mental illness. This is a huge expense to our criminal justice system in Texas and if handled more proactively, instead of reactively, we could be providing care through local services to those individuals in need. I worked on a bill last session, and hope to continue that effort this session, which would have provided law enforcement officers with an option to arresting and incarcerating a person in crisis. The bill would have given law enforcement officers the ability to take that person to a hospital or other treatment facility. By treating the whole patient, and creating a continuum of care, crisis situations are less likely to occur and our mentally ill population is better served.
The State Fire Marshall, Governor’s office, Homeland Security Committee and Agriculture Committee are working with all stakeholders to make sure that we do what is right to protect all Texans. Senator Birdwell and Representative Kacal are working closely with all of these committees to address the issues that are coming to light from the investigation. Additionally, the industry has been very open to discussion and is willing to address safety issues. Possible legislation is being vetted in regard to regulation for more secure storage of these type of chemicals in fire retardant facilities such as concrete and metal. The committee process during session will shape the correct legislation to keep Texans safe, while still keeping the needed products available for our agricultural industry.
The CTG goals are within reach and we should be proud of those accomplishments. However, timely completion rates for students from the date of enrollment to receipt of degree needs greater consideration. Furthermore, we need to determine whether the quality of the curriculum is preparing Texans to be effective contributors to the workforce: Are the appropriate skills being taught? Could collaboration be increased with various sectors and industries to fulfill the workforce needs of our businesses – which translates into jobs for our graduates? Lastly, I am happy to see that Texas A&M and UT are climbing the rankings on the national level, but would like to see all of our Texas institutions make that list.
Assessment itself does not improve education, it simply measures the progress of students. In response to concerns from our educators and parents about over use of standardized testing that resulted in “teaching to the test,” the Legislature made several major changes this past session. HB5 reduces overreliance on standardized testing by reducing end-of-course assessments from fifteen to five for our high school students. It also provides for meaningful and informative school ratings by evaluating schools using a new three category rating system that evaluates schools on academic performance, financial performance and community and student engagement.

Additionally, data shows that it is not necessary or effective to test high-performing students annually. Time spent testing could be better used teaching new concepts to high performing students and assisting underperforming students in their studies. For that reason, HB 866 eliminated some of the STAAR testing requirements for students who meet certain performance thresholds in grades 3-8 by decreasing the number of tests from 17 to 8. The bill also gave local control to the school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to use their discretion to determine whether students are performing at sufficient levels. However, the US Department of Education denied the waiver hampering the progress we had made to address over testing issues.

Additionally, HB 5 also made some major changes for high school flexibility in diploma choices for our schools by creating one diploma that gives students a variety of postsecondary options, while providing flexibility for students to develop their talents and pursue their interests through diploma endorsements in one of four areas: STEM, Business and Industry, Public Services, and Arts and Humanities. It also allows districts to partner with community colleges and industry to develop rigorous courses that address workforce needs, provide technical training and count towards graduation

In light of these major changes, the next step is to evaluate their effectiveness, with that evaluation period encompassing enough time to review resulting student outcomes.
As a legislator, and more importantly as a parent and grandparent, I cannot overstate the need for a high quality education for all students. We must seek to ensure that funding is both adequate and equitable.

While restoring a major portion of previous funding cuts this past session, we worked to improve the equity issue by dedicating the restored funds to the basic WADA allotment. This had the impact of all districts receiving additional funding, but the districts previously receiving a lower allotment received more. The Equity Center has indicated that this is a positive step to making a difference on the equity issue. Additionally, Judge Dietz reopened the current lawsuit to take additional testimony as this has made an impact on the case. The Legislature is awaiting the Judge’s ruling for suggested guidance as to the direction to proceed in the upcoming Session.

Of growing concern will also be how to assimilate the large number of newly arrived immigrant children. These children that enroll must be accepted according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a 1982 Supreme Court ruling that determined that a state may not deny access to a basic public education to any child residing in the state, whether present in the United States legally or otherwise. It will likely cost Texas taxpayers over $9,000 per year to educate each illegal immigrant child. Currently, we have had no indication from the federal government that they will assist with these costs.

The actual dollar amount devoted to education is clearly not irrelevant, but our school financing system would greatly benefit if we placed as much emphasis on our education delivery system as we do the bottom line. The flexibility in HB5 was good progress to give our educators the tools to work with the differing needs and talents of their students. We also need to investigate strategies to reach our most difficult to educate populations. 51% of our students are Hispanic, which can correlate to language learning impacts and 60% are in poverty. There is a dramatic correlation between poverty and how it impacts our kid’s learning. Finding strategies to better serve these populations is imperative. Proficiency in reading and writing by the third grade has a significant impact on their success through the remainder of their educational career. We need to dedicate resources to the schools that are working with these kids.
With an average of 1200 people moving to Texas each day, we must solve transportation funding to ensure our economic future is free of gridlock. I believe we can achieve results with a combination of measures, none of which involve raising gas taxes. First, we must prioritize transportation funding and ensure it is among the first items we address. Just as our families do, the legislature has to properly prioritize how we pay our bills.

Second, we must ensure that the gas taxes we already collect go toward their intended purpose: the maintenance of roads. For too long, that revenue has been allocated to other line items in order to certify the budget. If we collect taxes for a purpose, we should honor our commitment in an open, transparent way.

Every time we pull oil and natural gas out of the ground, Texas collects revenue on these natural resources. I believe that rather than raise taxes on residents, we should set aside a strong portion of this oil and natural gas revenue, or severance tax revenue, and dedicate it to meeting the needs of road construction and maintenance. Proposition 1 on the ballot in November, will dedicate 50% of the severance tax to Fund 6 (our transportation fund) to be used only for constructing, maintaining and acquiring rights-of-way for non-toll public roadways. Each of these options should be considered before we even turn an ear to raising fees or taxes on any Texan.

I believe that our judicial system should reserve the right to administer the death penalty, but when doing so, should be held to the highest standard of veracity. A requisite for this standard is the assurance that the state incorporate the most advanced technologies—especially as they pertain to DNA testing and forensic labs. Jurors should be presented with the most comprehensive evidence when ascertaining convictions and the punishments that they merit. Similarly, we must further consider capital punishment as it applies to criminals suffering from mental disabilities.
I strongly support the second amendment of our constitution for all citizens to bear arms. Texas has a proud history of gun ownership and I believe open carry is an important element of that tradition. The government should not legislate to restrict a citizen’s right to self-defense. Of course, as with all of our constitutional rights, as citizens we are obligated to use good judgment and show a little common sense when availing ourselves of those rights.
I am concerned that a teenager may suffer overly-harsh penalties with lifetime consequences for possessing a small amount of marijuana. Penalty phases of convicted marijuana possession need to be reviewed for consistency and proportionality to the offense. We should also tie their punishment to seeking treatment for addiction and/or poor choices and ensure that there adequate treatment centers are available. This not only reduces the burden on our criminal justice system, it also works towards the solution: a reduction in the consumption of this gateway drug.
I agree and defer to the FDA’s assessment that the benefits associated with Marijuana use for medicinal purposes have not been proven to outweigh the risks: short-term memory loss, respiratory problems, psychosis and anxiety. In states where such amendments have passed, advancing the cause of medicinal marijuana has contributed to the troubling trends amongst our youth of increased consumption and a decreased perception of marijuana’s harmful effects. Marijuana is an addictive substance and needs to be treated as such. I am also concerned in the sharp rise in drugged driving fatalities in recent years and believe legalization would only advance this trend.
I have always been an advocate for increased transparency and accountability in legislation. It is a foundational principle in representative democracy that citizens have the highest access to every level of government so as to ensure legislators are fulfilling their obligation to constituents. I believe we made some positive steps this past session to make public communications and deliberations of public officials available to our constituents.
In Texas, there are two different types of land ownership - the surface estate which is the land on the surface, and the mineral estate which is all of the oil, gas and minerals underneath the land. Both types of ownership have private property rights and, in fact, the person who owns the mineral estate actually has superior or dominant rights to the owner of the surface estate. It is important that regulations at any level impacting the private property rights of mineral owners be carefully weighed so as not to result in years of costly litigation.

Local control is important and cities should have input into regulations, especially regarding staging, location of pipelines or setbacks. However, complex federal safety and environmental regulations also impact the industry in a major way. It is the responsibility of the State of Texas to protect Texans safety and our environment through the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who work to incorporate federal impacts into regulations affecting oil and gas development.
Payday lending evokes a wide range of opinions amongst my constituents. They offer families emergency financial relief to meet their bills when they need it immediately. There is great value in helping people meet their needs, but we must also ensure that predatory loan practices do not force hard-working Texans into an endless cycle of debt. In 2011, we passed several bills to help regulate this industry, and although unsuccessful, there was a strong effort to continue that regulation in 2013. Dallas and several other major cities have adopted local ordinances in an effort to regulate payday lending, however these ordinances vary from city to city. While I generally believe that local decisions are best, in this case I would like to see a statewide approach to regulating these products. A statewide application would allow for consistent rules and eliminate confusion to the consumer. With the appropriate level of oversight, we can work towards eliminating the “bad actors” and identify other factors that could undermine Texans’ financial success.
Address 717 Tealwood Dr
City/Town Mesquite, TX 75181
Age 57
Campaign Phone Number (214) 641-4337
10 Years
Teacher and Small Business Order
I enrolled in Eastfield College and earned an Associate's Degree. Then I went to Amberton University and earned a degree in Information Systems, and later a Master's Degree in Counseling.
Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair, Balch Springs Back to School Fair, Mesquite Back to School Fair, Stephanie’s Day (Autism Awareness), Garland Back to School Fair, Live the Dream Expo for children with special needs, UNITY Fest, Feast for Sharing.

• Current HOA President

• Dallas County East Democrats (DACED)

• Texas Democratic Party

• And Democratic Delegate and At-Large Delegate at Large for Precinct for 2004 and 2008 Connect
Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair, Balch Springs Back to School Fair, Mesquite Back to School Fair, Stephanie’s Day (Autism Awareness), Garland Back to School Fair, Live the Dream Expo for children with special needs, UNITY Fest, Feast for Sharing.

• Current HOA President

• Dallas County East Democrats (DACED)

• Texas Democratic Party

• And Democratic Delegate and At-Large Delegate at Large for Precinct for 2004 and 2008 Connect
N/A
$15,000
Cecila Boone Ronald Hay Robin Baley
No
About 14 years ago, a catfish restaurant that I owned was sued by a restaurant supplier, and I paid a $4,000 judgment.
Every day I teach, I am leading a team of young people toward a better future. Part of my job is to inspire them to do their best and dream big, and that’s exactly what I do.
Nelson Mandela was a man of courage, dignity, compassion, wisdom, humility and honesty. What more could we ask of a political leader?
I believe our current State Representative is bowing to partisan politics and pressure groups from outside of House District 113. Why else would she have voted to slash funding for our school districts here? I decided to run because I believed someone needed to stand up and fight for the families who live here and not some politicians in Austin.
For one, I have a mix of experience in public education and small business that fit the needs of this district. Two, they’ll have a State Representative who listens to them and no one else.
1. We must repair the damages done in 2011 to our public schools and reduce standardized testing. 2. We must pass a school finance plan that is truly constitutional, not a stop-gap measure that only delays the real solution. 3. We should reduce the tax burden on homeowners by closing a property tax loophole that major corporations use to escape paying their fair share.
The current budget restored some of the cuts, but not all of them. We need to make full restoration the goal. To fund it, I would tap the so-called Rainy Day Fund, which has roughly $10 billion in tax revenue from the oil and gas boom. If we’re going to use the fund for roads and dams, why wouldn’t we use it for our children?
I would like to see our business climate become a magnet for secure, good-paying jobs, not dead-end, low-wage jobs. I think we need to do a better job of evaluating the incentives we offer companies to come here. Are they hiring local and are they paying well?
Our safety net is on its final threads. We are going to have to get real about health care. Turning down a 10-1 federal-to-state match in funding for health care is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Too many of the mentally ill are landing in our county jails instead of treat facilities of some kind. There’s a huge taxpayer cost and a human cost to this problem, and we need to find a practical, affordable solution.
Accurate and complete reporting to the state, random inspections, and public disclosure are the answers, and they would not put an undo burden on businesses.
Tuition cost is the main problem, and dumbing down our colleges and universities is not the answer. The state has gutted funding for community colleges and universities, leaving them with no choice but to raise tuition. We need a long-term plan that stabilizes tuition and supports academics.
I already think it is not working because the standardized tests are for the bureaucrats and not the students. The tests should diagnostic and not burdensome. We need to free up our teachers to teach and our children to learn.
I am not a lawyer and, in particular, a member of the Texas Supreme Court. However, I can read our state constitution, which says every child should have access to an adequate education. Let’s make that the standard, and find an equitable path to get there.
No one wants to pay more fees, taxes, tolls or debt service. No one wants to sit in stalled traffic, either. We are going to have to make tough choices that may include all of these strategies. However we pay for it, we must spread the burden as wide as possible and get to work building roads.
I am deeply worried that our state has executed some innocent people. Not only did we convict the wrong person, but the real killer might be still on our streets. Let’s monitor how the Michael Morton reforms work and see if there is more work to be done.
I do not. Guns are for personal protection and sport, not for intimidating and frightening people in public places.
I would follow the governor’s lead on this issue.
If it is proved that marijuana has medical benefits, I would consider a plan that guarantees it would only be available as a remedy and not for recreation.
I would require companies that possess dangerous substances to fully disclose those records to the public.
No. It’s antidemocratic. Local regulations are written by commissioners and council members elected by the people.
Payday lenders prey on poor people. It’s ridiculous that we have a hodge-podge of ordinances that change city by city. The fact that we don’t have such laws is a clear example of special interest control of the Legislature.