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Texas House, District 108

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    Leigh Bailey (D) Attorney

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    Morgan Meyer (R) Partner at Bracewell & Giuliani

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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?

City/Town Dallas
Age 38
Campaign Phone Number (469) 319-0214
Fax Number 440-348-8789
I have lived in the district for about 15 years in total, including my years as an undergraduate and law school student at SMU. My husband and I moved into our first home in 2009 where we are raising our two children, Sophia and Trey.
Attorney
I graduated Southern Methodist University with B.A. in History, cum laude, and a law degree.
I currently serve as a board member of Turtle Creek Recovery Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving both men and women who have co-occurring disorders of severe mental illness and alcohol or drug addiction. I was also a member of the Baylor Health Foundation Board and have been involved with the Junior League of Dallas and the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball.
Volunteering is my passion. Through my involvement in the Junior League, I have been blessed to serve as a teaching assistant to artists teaching their craft to children at the Dallas Museum of Art, a weekend volunteer at Methodist Hospital, a child coordinator at Trinity River Audubon Center, and a volunteer supervisor at Our Children's House. I have also served as a volunteer fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, North Texas Suicide and Crisis Center, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Texas Ballet Theater. As a member of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers ("DAYL"), I was selected to be a member of the DAYL Leadership Class of 2010, and I served as the co-chair of the Young In-House Attorneys Committee in 2011.
None.
As of August 15, 2014, about $140,000.00. A list of contributions to my campaign through June 30, 2014 can be found on the Texas Ethics Commission website at www.ethics.state.tx.us.
The top cash contributors are:

• Lee Bailey $21,000.00; • Annie’s List $6,850.00; • Cecilia Boone $5,000.00; and • Amy Fikes $5,000.00.

A list of contributions to my campaign through June 30, 2014 can be found on the Texas Ethics Commission website at www.ethics.state.tx.us.
No.
No, I have never been a party to a civil lawsuit or bankruptcy. I have represented multiple clients in civil lawsuits as their attorney, acted as a registered agent for businesses, and testified as a corporate representative.
In my role advising businesses as in-house counsel, I enjoy analyzing budgets and finding opportunities for my employers to save money on their bottom line. Working with a team, I spearheaded efforts that resulted in my employers saving over $11 million in expenditures. I promise to apply those skills in the legislature to cut waste while refusing to cut corners in basic government services of education, water, and infrastructure that will continue to make Texas strong.
I admire Senator John Carona. Although I do not agree with all of his political positions, I respect his willingness to work with Republicans and Democrats to formulate bipartisan solutions that are in the best interest of Texas.
I am running because I love where I live. I went to school, met my husband, and am raising my children in House District 108. I decided to run because I saw that the other candidates were running on platforms fully embracing reckless partisanship and lacking serious plans for getting things done. That won’t get us where we need to be.
I am an independent leader with the right priorities who can reach across the aisle and get things done. My opponent supports a reckless partisan agenda that will put politics ahead of Texas women with his opposition to fair pay laws and access to women’s health services and affordable contraception. The policies implemented by his party have resulted in disastrous cuts to public education, overcrowded classrooms, and the firing of quality teachers.
Texas needs leaders who will focus on education. We must prioritize strong neighborhood schools because they are essential to our future. Texas needs an educated workforce to sustain its strong economy and prepare our children for 21st century jobs. Schools are currently forced to divert too much valuable class time and resources preparing students for standardized tests. I will make sure schools focus on real learning rather than high-stakes testing.
Texas must invest in education, infrastructure, and water. I would pay for this by tapping our state’s Rainy Day Fund and using the budget surplus currently projected for January 2015.

I am concerned by the manner that state agencies, such as the Texas Enterprise Fund and CPRIT, are spending our citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars, and believe that more oversight is needed to ensure these agencies are acting in Texas’ best interest.

I would also propose legislation to prevent state politicians from collecting a paycheck while also collecting tax-payer funded retirement. I consider this "double-dipping" unethical.
I believe in fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets, and keeping taxes low. As a former in-house attorney for businesses, I understand the balance that Texas must strike between smart regulation and bureaucratic red tape.
In order for Texas to be as great for our children and grandchildren as Texas has been to us, we must address the fact that large numbers of Texas children are living in poverty. Study after study has shown that pre-K is one of the smartest investments we can make, especially with low-income kids who right now start school with a significant word gap. I’d like to see universal full-day pre-K in Texas. States like Oklahoma and Alabama have moved forward on a bipartisan basis on pre-K, and there’s no reason we in Texas can’t as well.

Beyond pre-K, we need to ensure that every child has access to world-class neighborhood schools and affordable public community colleges and universities.

I will also work to reverse the harmful effects of HB2. Texans deserve access to affordable birth control and preventative cancer screenings.

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, more individuals with serious mental illness are ten times more likely to end up in state prisons and county jails than in the nation’s remaining state mental hospitals. In addition to being the right thing to do, it costs taxpayers less money to treat a mentally ill person than to house that individual in prison.

Lawmakers should invest in programs that allow mental health professionals to assist mentally ill individuals learn independence and life skills.
I do not support regulation for regulation's sake but when Texans are put at risk, I believe it is the government's duty to enact common-sense reforms that protect innocent citizens' lives. I will advocate for local reporting requirements that require the public to be informed of the locations of dangerous chemicals in their communities. Informing local fire departments of the location of dangerous chemicals helps local communities plan, prepare, and train for potential disasters. Informing city councils of the location of chemical storage will allow local communities to make informed decisions about zoning local schools, retirement homes, and apartments safe distances from the chemicals. I will also work to strengthen the Texas Community Right to Know Act.

As a former in-house counsel for restaurants, it is unbelievable to me that restaurants and apartments are required to have sprinkler systems but facilities that house dangerous chemicals are not. Texas must require facilities that store dangerous chemicals to have sprinkler systems and Texas must regularly inspect chemical facilities to ensure compliance.
I will work to ensure UT Dallas receives the resources it needs to remain an Emerging Research University and support its path to tier one status. I believe we must continually look to ensure that our state's universities foster excellence while addressing the skyrocketing cost of college tuition.

I’m very excited about efforts to bring a pharmacy school to the Metroplex.
The measure of a student’s success should be more than whether or not he or she can pass a standardized test. One way to judge whether the state’s new accountability system for public education is working is by judging the fulfillment of the program’s missions. Additionally, an increase or decrease in public school students seeking post-high school degrees would also indicate the extent to which the new accountability system is functioning in a productive or unproductive manner.
Texas is overly reliant on property taxes to fund education, something we’ll all be reminded of in a few months when we get our property tax bills. Basically, we are trying to use a 19th century system to fund 21st century schools. Worse, we have a Robin Hood system in place that means that in places like the Park Cities over 60% of our property tax dollars get pulled out of district. And, of course, it seems like we are perriennially in litigation over school funding. The people who get short changed are not just taxpayers, but the students who are our future.

It’s time that we look to moving more of the funding to the state level. The state should fund schools equally based on student population and funding should increase or decrease based on changes in the school's student population. Dedicating a portion of the state’s oil and gas revenues to education is something we should consider. Others have suggested looking at gaming revenues. I’m not certain that’s the right approach, but I’m also not going to go to Austin with options foreclosed. We should be prepared next session to have a serious, adult conversation about how to move forward.

But by funding more of education at the state level, Robin Hood funding would become a thing of the past. Likewise, local property taxes should decrease because schools will no longer be depending on those funds as their main source of income.
First, I support the proposed transportation constitutional amendment on the ballot this November.

Secondly, I oppose gas tax diversions. I believe that the taxes that we pay at the pump should only fund transportation projects. I believe this is one step in streamlining and simplifying the state budget.

Third, like Senator Carona, I believe that it is fiscally reckless to outsource road building to private companies because it costs 3.5 times more to outsource road construction than for TxDOT to build roads.

Finally, we need to be investing in projects that will reduce the needs for roads. The decision by TxDOT to help fund light rail projects in Austin is a step in the right direction, especially if we can leverage federal monies that are available. I also am a huge supporter of private efforts to bring high-speed rail to the corridor between Dallas and Houston.

In general, I agree with the ABA-sponsored, bipartisan review. I support: (1) broadening the definition of mental illness to conform with recognized scientific standards (2) defining what intellectual disabilities would render someone ineligible for execution that conforms with recognized scientific standards and determining a defendant's intellectual abilities before trial; and (3) creating a uniform statewide criteria for an attorney's qualifications to represent indigent defendants.
I feel that current concealed carry laws afford adequate protection for handgun owners. Law enforcement groups oppose open carry, and, on issues like this, I look heavily to the experienced judgment of law enforcement.
I agree with Gov. Perry and would support a law that ends jail time for low-level nonviolent marijuana possession suspects. For one thing, it is the fiscally responsible thing to do. Texas spends too much money on incarceration. A drug conviction can also severely hinder an individual's opportunities to attain employment or higher education. .
I support putting a medical marijuana amendment before Texas voters. However, public education, infrastructure, fair pay, and women's access to basic healthcare will be my priorities in the State Legislature.
I value transparency and accountability in government. I would support legislation to increase the number of government meetings that are webcast on the Internet such as requiring the Sunset Committee to place webcasting of meetings on its checklist when reviewing agencies.

At the local level, there also is much that we can do to make government more transparent. There were bipartisan proposals last session that unfortunately didn’t pass that would have required cities and local governments put more data online. In the 21st century, there’s no reason the operation of government should be opaque.
The state needs to strike a balance to preserve local control while recognizing the importance of statewide safety standards.
I will support legislation that would: (1) require written disclosure of the periodic and total costs of the loan; (2) require lenders to disclose in writing consumer's rights concerning repayment and collections practices; (3) limit payments to 5% of the borrower's gross monthly income; and (4) spread costs evenly over the life of the loan.
City/Town Dallas
Age 43
Campaign Phone Number (214) 750-4454
20 years
Partner at Bracewell & Giuliani
J.D., Washington and Lee University School of Law, 1999 B.A., cum laude, Southern Methodist University, 1996
Texas Super Lawyers, Rising Star 2014 Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, South Dallas Legal Clinic, Housing Legal Clinic, and the VA Hospital Legal Clinic Lawyers Serving Warriors (helping injured veterans receive benefits) Wee Volunteers, non-profit providing age-appropriate volunteer opportunities to elementary children Highland Park Methodist Church, D6 Families Sunday School Teacher Hyer Elementary School Dad’s Club Executive Committee
Texas Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2004, 2006, 2008-2010, 2012-2013 Greater Dallas Pachyderm Club Former Precinct Chair, Texas House District 108 Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, South Dallas Legal Clinic, Housing Legal Clinic, and the VA Hospital Legal Clinic Lawyers Serving Warriors Hyer Elementary School Dad's Club Executive Committee
None
Nearly $500,000 since last year
The Crow Family H. Ross Perot, Jr. Robert B. Rowling
No.
No.
Having a father, uncle, and grandfather who all served in the military, I believe it is our duty to give back to our veterans. I have been actively involved in the Lawyers Serving Warriors program for many years and have recruited and organized attorneys to participate in the program as well, and provide their time and legal expertise to our injured veterans.
I admire State representative Dan Branch, and think that he has done an exemplary job representing House District 108. He is in touch with our community and always at the forefront, leading on the issues that matter most to his constituents. He has been a thoughtful, honest and authentic leader for our community, and I would be honored to continue his legacy of results-oriented leadership.
Three reasons: Katherine, Elizabeth and Asher, my children. I’m a strong believer in taking responsibility and serving our community, and as a husband, father and conservative, I simply could not hand over the keys to my family’s future to just anyone – because today’s decisions lay the groundwork for the Texas of our children, and our grandchildren. As our state representative, I’ll be committed to always doing what’s right for taxpayers and families, and focusing conservative leadership on the issues that touch our families like education, promoting a healthy economy and limiting the size of government.
Experience. I have more experience than my opponent. I have 15 years of experience as an attorney protecting business interests – and I’ve been named a Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers eight times over the last ten years, an honor only 2.5% of attorneys throughout Texas receive each year.

I am a lifelong conservative, who’s worked hard to protect and promote the values and principles I hold dear. I volunteered at the 1992 Republican Convention, served as an intern for a Republican Congressman, clerked for a Republican judge, served as a delegate to the State GOP Convention, served as a Precinct Chair in House District 108 and served as an officer on the Greater Dallas Pachyderm Club.

Finally, I am the only candidate in the race with children who attend our schools, so I understand the concerns of so many of our parents, and I’m committed to improving our schools, and providing parents with better educational options.
I strongly believe that our state government’s key role is improving the quality of life of all of our citizens by doing the very best job at providing basic services that promote growth and sustainability. That means smart solutions on improving public schools, securing our long-term water, transportation and energy needs, and creating policies that reduce crime and nurture strong communities. Too often, government gets sidetracked by partisan disagreements that divide, when the focus should be constantly working to make a positive impact on the daily lives of our citizens.
One of the greatest challenges facing our state is improving our public schools – strengthening our public schools will reinforce our families, our communities and our future. I believe that education funding should be a priority, and that we should look to find new education dollars by cutting more waste and improving efficiency. This will also make more of current education funding by spending less on administration and more on classrooms. I also believe that we must create new policies that allow teachers and principals to be paid based on merit, not just years on the job, because we must find a way to retain good educators and vet out poor ones.
We must constantly work to create an even friendlier business climate. That means not only reducing burdensome reporting and red tape required by state agencies but also eliminating redundancies, and reducing taxes that discourage new business. Such burdens to businesses prevent creation of new jobs and opportunities that enable our citizens to create a better future for themselves and their fellow Texans. We cannot tax our way to prosperity. Conversely, creating new opportunities for jobs and growth – thus creating new tax revenues – can help us solve so many of the infrastructure and growth challenges facing our state. Without economic growth, our ability to fund the investments needed for a better tomorrow will not be possible.
The best safety net for our poor and working poor is improving and increasing education options, and ending the cycle of poverty. That means not only working to improve our public schools, but also understanding how we can increase high school graduation rates and send more students to college. Strengthening education will not only help our families and communities, it also improves our economy and makes our region more attractive for new business investment. The best safety net is to work hard to create a Texas where there is equality of opportunity.
Mental health care is not just a social issue, it’s a public safety issue. The impact of the boost in spending (Texas ranked 49th in the country on mental health funding) approved by the most recent legislature needs to be evaluated before making further reforms. With proper analysis and reform, spending on mental health actually saves taxpayers money because it can properly direct those suffering from mental health disorders onto a path that can lead to them becoming productive members of society once again versus being trapped in a cycle of hopelessness in the criminal justice system or traditional health care system.
When lives are at stake, we cannot be too cautious. There must be tighter restrictions on facilities housing hazardous and dangerous material that are close to schools, homes and medical facilities. This does not necessarily mean a host of new regulations as first and foremost we need to make sure existing regulations are being enforced effectively. If weaknesses are found in the existing framework, they should be strengthened and then at that point, the need for new regulation can be properly assessed. There also needs to be better communication and coordination with local emergency services, so they are prepared with proper information in case of an emergency of this magnitude.
The runaway costs of higher education across the country, as well as in Texas, are putting higher education out of reach for many and creating a huge financial burden on many more. In order to ensure that college is accessible for all those striving to obtain a higher degree, we need to do the hard work of curing the many inefficiencies that drive up the costs year after year. In other parts of the country, many colleges and universities are finally looking closely at this issue out of financial necessity and putting in place painful cuts due to the dire state of their affairs. Texas should be a leader on this and not allow a robust economy to breed complacency when costs are so clearly too high and future consequences so clear. Only by proactively managing these issues today can we credibly promise robust higher education opportunities to our children and future generations of Texans tomorrow.
While I applaud the effort made to bring greater accountability, the true test of success will be if our schools retain more students and produce high school graduates that are college-ready.
Public education funding must be a priority. That means not only protecting education funding, but also finding new, sustainable funding sources. I believe that a great first step is cutting wasteful or redundant programs in other parts of government and redirecting those funds to our schools. In addition, we should consider other options like providing for private or corporate investment in our schools (with a tax incentive or credit), expanding charter schools where it makes sense, and considering other non-tax revenue sources. We owe it to our children, and our future, to get education funding right because the decisions we make now will be felt for decades to come
First, we must recover the funding already due, including our fair share of gas taxes and improving collection rates from delinquent toll users. Beyond that, we must evaluate all other options and create a funding structure that is fair and sustainable
I believe that our current capital punishment policies in place are effective.
Yes.
As our state representative, my first priority will be to protect our families and communities. I support Texas’ current drug laws and the proven successful rehabilitative programs. I oppose the legalization of marijuana and/or the decriminalization of marijuana possession. I believe in enforcing our current laws and providing medical treatment for illegal drug-users.
I am opposed to the legalization of marijuana and/or the decriminalization of marijuana possession.
State government has a responsibility to be trustworthy and transparent to our citizens, and elected officials must be held to the highest ethical standard. As our state representative, I will work to bring that higher ethical standard to state government by leading for ethics reform that puts our citizens first, like:

• Requiring greater disclosure from elected officials, especially as it relates to votes they make regarding the industries they benefit from financially • Prohibiting lawmakers from serving as paid lobbyists immediately after stepping down from the Texas House • Prohibiting lawmakers from accepting contributions from groups that are seeking to win business from the State and hope to further their own special interests ahead of the interests of all Texans • Strip elected officials who are convicted of felonies from receiving pensions from the state
No, drilling should be decided on a case by case basis, at a local level.
While I believe that state government tends to over-regulate and overall I would work to reduce government involvement in private business, the payday lending industry deserves a closer look. We should consider limiting the loan amounts to a percentage of income and policies that set standards on repayment terms. However, a more informed consumer is key and thus clear disclosures concerning fees and interest rates is another area that deserves attention.