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Texas House, District 112

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  • Michael Binkley (L)

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    Angie Chen Button (R) Marketing Executive, State Representative

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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?

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.
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 Garland
Age 63
Campaign Phone Number (972) 763-5869
>32 years
Marketing for Texas Instruments / State Representative for House District (HD) 112
Masters' Degrees in Public Finance (in Taiwan) and Management and Administrative Sciences (UT Dallas)
I have served as the State Representative for HD112 since first elected in 2008.
Before election to the Texas House in 2008, I served as a member of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Board and as an Executive Committee Member of the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition (DRMC). Also I served in leadership positions with chambers of commerce, a citizen coalition, and for other civic and non-profit organizations such as a member of the Dallas Assembly, the Dallas Summit, and the Women´s Museum Advisory Board.

In addition I have been awarded the YWCA´s 100 Years 100 Women Award -- 2008, the Southern Methodist University Women´s Symposium´s Profile in Leadership Award -- 2006, and the Women´s Enterprise of Texas Magazine Women of Excellence Award -- 2004.
My only public elected office sought or held has been for my current position as State Representative for House District (HD) 112.
See the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) reporting since my first campaign starting in 2007.
See the TEC reporting since 2007.
No.
No.
As a Joint Author of HB500 (Margins Tax Reform) and HB800 (R&D Credit) in this last legislative session, we pushed through over $1 billion in tax relief for job creators. I believe that the most effective way to improve our economy is to cut taxes for job creators, especially small businesses. Obviously some of my colleagues preferred spending over tax cuts. I was able to build consensus by sharing my vision, successfully passing these two important bills to boost our economy.
There are so many leaders that deserve our acclaim. Let me choose President George Washington for setting such a high standard. He just had an incredible knack for courageously navigating through the factions and minefields during our war for independence and in getting our nation started.
As an immigrant I feel a burning desire to repay the kindness and opportunity forwarded by our greatest nation on earth. Every day I appreciate the trust shown by my neighbors and colleagues over 30 years of residing in my district. As a CPA with a global perspective, I bring a sense of what it takes for our state to compete on the broader stage.
I ask voters to judge my record. Just in terms of highlights, I joint authored HB 500 and HB 800 lowering taxes by over $1 billion. I promoted budget transparency in SB 656 and governmental efficiency in HB 2414. Moving education forward, I authored HCR 104 to encourage school districts to adopt policies that promote the use of technology in classrooms for which the Texas Computer Education Association awarded me the Digital Champion Award.

I have been entrusted with key committee assignments - cutting the budget while serving on Appropriations, cutting taxes while serving on the Ways & Means Committee. I also serve as Vice Chair of the Technology Committee. I am proud of being a 2013 finalist as a Technology Advocate for the Metroplex Technology Business Council Tech Titan Award, and I won nomination again this year.

I am positioned to do even more. Recently I was appointed to chair the House Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives. Texas excels in job creation, so much so that other states have copied our strategies. I ask that voters entrust me to continue guarding the taxpayers’ money, and to position our state as a global competitor.
Making sure we continue our success here in Texas. Estimates are that around a thousand people a day are coming into our state. Continuing investment in our infrastructure and incentives for innovation are key ingredients for meeting our growth challenges.

Innovation increases productive capacity and favorably bends cost curves. For example embedding sensors in our highways can eliminate costly weigh stations and downtime. As Vice Chair of the Technology Committee, I see how difficult it is to keep up with the ever faster pace of technological change. The Research & Development Tax Credit in HB800 which I joint authored is just one approach at pushing innovation right here in Texas.

In terms of Public Education, I authored HCR 104 to encourage school districts to adopt policies that promote the use of technology in classrooms for which the Texas Computer Education Association awarded me the Digital Champion award. Also in HB5 for public education testing reform, I authored an amendment to include computer web application courses for technical education credit.
I advocate keeping spending below population plus inflation growth as we have done since I came into the legislature. See the excellent commentary in the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA) release of June 12, 2013. Spending on infrastructure such as water, transportation, and education must meet the needs of a growing population even though I believe it should decline on a per capita basis.
First let me say that federal interference is our biggest hindrance. My biggest wish is for more local control. That said, there is much we can do. The Business Margins Tax needs more reform. We should do even more to support private research and development spending that underpins so much growth in my district. As a CPA on the key Ways and Means Committee, I plan to improve our tax climate.

A good overall business climate is a prerequisite, but promoting that is crucial in our competitive world. I authored HCR 130 designating Richardson as the International Business Capital of North Texas and HCR 96 designating Garland as the Cowboy Hat Capital of Texas as promotional tools. Chairing the House Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives gives me a key role in promoting economic growth.
I think most everyone is concerned about the safety net, not just a concern for what might be considered the traditional poor lacking education and other skills necessary for survival in our modern society. Because of my tech orientation, I have witnessed highly educated PhD's struggling during the economic crisis after being laid off, and we all see children graduating from college having incurred huge loans, but unable to find a job in their field.

I mention the broader problem because its context is important. The PhD's and the college kids can get work at some level because of their education. However the poor, who are afflicted with illness and the inability to acquire marketable skills, need charitable assistance for which government should incentivize as a first resort. Understandably government must step in for daunting needs such as health and nursing home care.

I voted against the Medicaid Expansion under Obamacare because it would double down on a failed Medicaid system. Texas should hold out for block funding from the federal government so that we can more effectively deliver Medicaid health care. Of course the needs are multi-faceted beyond health care. The additional mental health funding that I voted for in the recent legislative session will help on that front, but we certainly want to encourage volunteerism from our citizens.
I was proud to stand beside my colleague Rep. Cindy Burkett on the House floor when she shared her family’s mental health struggle. We must take steps to move away from a crisis-based system that leaves our jails and our emergency rooms as de facto mental health providers. Not only is it the right thing to do for those suffering with mental illness, it makes good economic sense for our state.

However I want to draw attention to an access problem likely to worsen under Obamacare because its mandatory mental health coverage will strain an already overloaded system. See the front page article in the Wall Street Journal on December 21, 2013. It reports how even now patients with private insurance encounter difficulty obtaining mental health care. That difficulty stems from conflicting judgments of what should be covered. Consequently because of this vexatious issue and because reimbursements key off procedures, psychiatrists constitute one of the lower paid medical specialties even though such specialists are in short supply. I have supported UT Southwestern as a way to increase the supply albeit in the long term of medical professionals.

Aside from the serious supply shortage, we need to take a comprehensive look at the coverage, reimbursement, effectiveness, and however the Obamacare havoc impacts this issue during the interim and in the next legislative session.
The first step in preventing another disaster like the tragedy in West is to better understand the problem we face. As discussed in a Dallas Morning News article dated August 24, 2013, we do not have good data on how many serious or potentially serious industrial chemical accidents occur in our state or nation. We know we suffer regulatory gaps within Texas as well as disconnect with federal regulatory oversight which must be addressed. The House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety is charged with making recommendations as one of its interim charges. The recent Dallas Morning News Editorial on August 8, 2014, decries a voluntary approach, but we do need to come to first come to a better understanding of the best-practices.
We must steer our colleges and universities to push for career readiness. Too many students graduate with training not valued by the job market. In order to do this, it is important to encourage and help facilitate collaboration between the private sector (future employers) and our Texas Universities.

During the 83rd Session, I authored HB953 to provide tax relief for private companies that contract with Texas universities to conduct research and development. This is a good example of how to foster collaboration between business and universities.
Assessment of students is very important so we can identify potential problems and fix them promptly but the true measure of success in public education is graduation rates and, perhaps even more importantly, the number of students that enroll in college and/or find work expeditiously upon graduation.
I wish there was an easy solution to this problem. In reality, we must fully examine and study the system we have and no longer take a piecemeal approach to fixing it. We need real reform. Few understand the way school finance in Texas truly works which is a strong signal that we need to change and simplify the process so that school finance becomes more transparent and manageable.
We made strides in phasing out gas tax diversions and in improving TXDOT operations, but more progress is a must to restore public confidence in our funding system. Texas is growing and roads are an important part of infrastructure necessary for economic sustainability and growth. The future of our state depends heavily on the future of transportation within our state. The primary focus should be on examining ways we can re-prioritize our spending. The transfer of money already within our tax structure that voters will have the opportunity to approve for transportation (slated as an initial $1.2 billion with an ongoing funding stream) is an example of re-prioritizing our spending and a good step in the right direction.
I favor keeping the death penalty option. There is a range of egregious crimes that demand nothing less for the sake of justice. However we need to reconsider evidentiary practices hindered by human fallibility.
I support responsible gun legislation including open carry and I am a fierce defender of the 2nd Amendment. We are communicating with law enforcement in an attempt to address any potential safety concerns that could arise from the passage of open carry legislation.
I do not favor decriminalization, but I recognize that resources in the past weighed too heavily in terms of incarceration over treatment.
Many states permit medicinal marijuana use. On the other hand, the Federal Government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no medical benefits and a high potential for abuse. My hope is that additional research can provide better alternatives.

There are many aspects to this issue, but let me note one alternative and a more recent promising development. For nausea, the FDA long ago approved Marinol, a synthetic drug without the psychoactive effects from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). For seizure treatments, reports of marijuana oils with cannabidiol (CBD), but low in THC, have recently hit the news. Both these alternatives have limitations. For a lengthier discussion, let me refer readers to an article printed in the Dallas Morning News on August 10, 2014, titled “Medical pot’s study impeded” from the New York Times.
I believe for the most part, our laws work well. One area we can improve is with keeping up with changes in technology. When the open meetings act was written, legislators could not even imagine where technology would take us. I authored HB2414 in the last session to address videoconferencing in open meetings as well as the use of message boards by elected officials. These changes just scraped the surface. We need to be sure our governments are able to take advantage of the cost saving and greater ability to reach the public that technology can bring while protecting the public's ability to know what is happening within their government.
Generally I favor local control. In our region this issue comes to the forefront in the context of property rights versus the impacts on an urban population. Balancing these concerns is essential since the oil and gas industry is critical for the prosperity of our state.
The ubiquitous storefront lenders really make this issue quite visible. The shadow lending market is not as visible. See the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article of December 16, 2013. It discusses how some lenders team up with employers to offer loans to their employee base. The loans can carry interest rates and fees far in excess of what more credit-worthy borrowers are offered, but more competitive than storefront lenders. Of course the shadow market extends to “off-the-book” lenders.

Closing storefront payday lenders could lead to unforeseen repercussions. Although the WSJ article noted that employer programs became more attractive in Arizona when that state banned payday loans in 2010, this alternative is not available to many in the vulnerable parts of our population living paycheck to paycheck.

I want to encourage more marketplace competition. Just recently the FICO credit-score calculations have been modified to remove bills settled with collection agencies and less weight to unpaid medical bills with a collection agency. This development should enable some switching to traditional lenders, but I am concerned about the overall impact. I plan to discuss this issue more with community bankers in an upcoming banking roundtable that I am hosting on August 21, 2014.