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Texas House, District 106

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    Rodney Caston (L) Information Security Consultant

  • Candidate picture

    Pat Fallon (R) Business Owner

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    Lisa Osterholt (D) Business Analyst

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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?

City/Town Plano
Age 40
Email Address rcaston@rcaston.com
Since 2011
Owner of Caston Consulting, an information systems consulting company specializing in information security and data services.
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Current Member at Large for the Denton County LP
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
State Representative District 106 County Constable Pct 3
$0
N/A
NO
NO
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
James Madison, from the federalist papers to our constitution, our country would not be what it is if not for his efforts.
By representing the Libertarian Party in this election, I hope to offer voters an alternative to the two party system which dominates the political landscape.
If elected, l would vote for legislation to protect the freedoms of all Texas, such as supporting the legalization of gay marriage, the decriminalization of marijuana, and ensuring our gun rights remain protected.
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.
Removing barriers set in place to protect legacy businesses at the expense of consumers, such as laws which require car companies to adhere to the dealership model, making them unable to sell directly to the public, essentially using the force of government to protect an antiquated business model. Such laws prevent companies like Tesla Motors from easily selling directly to the public here in Texas.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
Mental illness is a shared concern for all of us, I believe the issue as it relates to mental illness is one of civil commitment, namely the best way to reduce the size of government is by supporting programs for mental health. Studies from 2012 showed that 300,000 individuals with mental illness are now behind bars, due to the inadequacy of civil commitment laws, and 15-25% of all prisoners have a mental illness. Due to our poor commitment laws, we now have a jail-based system for the most seriously ill. That creates a major drain on local law enforcement, and has become expensive to the corrections system itself, with the DOJ estimating that it costs $15 billion annually to incarcerate the mentally ill.
Zoning laws could have been used to keep facilities storing large quantities of ammonium nitrate away from such a populated area.
State run higher education needs to remain affordable and be available to the general public in Texas, to accomplish this state run universities should be doing more at the undergraduate level to offer classes for entire degree programs online, ideally at a reduced cost to the students.
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.
I support the use of toll roads, pay per use may be the only fair method going forward as the gas tax is not evenly distributed due to varying fuel efficiency and the advent of fully electric vehicles.
I do not support the death penalty in any form and would work to see it abolished in Texas.
Yes, I do.
Rick Perry's decriminalization plan, while a step in the right direction, does not go far enough. Given the number of innocent lives lost in our war on drugs, we should not delay with half measures to correct this problem. Like other states have already done, Texas should move forward with the legalization of marijuana.
Yes, I would.
Government should remain open and transparent to avoid corruption of the process, the open records and open meetings laws exist to maintain that principle. The issue has been that people have failed to follow the law, this is one instance where I would support much harsher punishments than the current $500 fine when found in violation.
Yes, While advances such as a hydrofracking have been a great boon to the oil and gas industry and to the economy of Texas, the potential for widespread impact would be better managed at the state level, rather than locally.
Texas has a finance commission to oversee the payday loan industry, this commission is run by William J. White, who is also vice-president of Cash America, a payday loan company. Before we can begin to address what should be done about a regulated industry, we should first address why our regulatory commissions are not run by impartial individuals.
City/Town Frisco
Age 49
Campaign Phone Number (214) 507-4861
Fax Number none
Email Address pat@fallonfortexas.com
I have lived in North Texas for 23 years, Frisco for 8 years and House District 106 since its inception three years ago.
Business Owner
Graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Government and International Relations
State Representative House District 106, Member of Human Services Committee, Member of Technology Committee, Named Top Five Representatives by Texas Conservative Coalition, Named a Taxpayer Champion by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Elected to GOP Policy Committee by Republican peers in State House, A rated by both Texas Right to Life and the NRA, Member of Denton County GOP Fundraising Committee, Auxiliary Member of FARW, American Legion Post Member-The Colony, TX, Watch Dog Dad in Frisco ISD, Lector at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Member of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce, Aubrey-380 Chamber of Commerce, Little Elm Chamber of Commerce, The Colony Chamber of Commerce, Pilot Point Chamber of Commerce
United States Air Force Officer, Mayor Pro Tem of Frisco, Councilmember Frisco, Republican Party of Texas Chairman's Circle Member, State Delegate to the Texas Republican Party Convention, Donor to Dallas Baptist University, Graduate of Leadership Frisco, Boys & Girls Club donor and volunteer, Meals on Wheels Volunteer, Assistant High School Football Coach, Frisco Family Services donor and volunteer, Grand Marshall and donor for the Aubrey Peanut Festival, HOA Board Member, GOP Precinct Chairman, Keynote Speaker-Denton County GOP Annual Volunteer Dinner
Mayor Pro Tem of Frisco, Texas and member of Frisco City Council
Roughly $60,000 this calendar year
Tony Ewing, John Keating and Tom McCall...all personal friends and Great Americans
No
No
As the CEO and founder of a small business I have had the pleasure, honor and good fortune of leading nearly one hundred fine Americans in pursuing our collective goals of excellent customer service and offering our customers only the finest products available. It's been a unmitigated joy to see so many of our employees achieve their dreams by being a part of our team.
There are many but for me it's a tie between Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill.

As to the why...Reagan had a vision for what America had been and could be again and he fulfilled it. He fervently believed that America was a force of good in the world and through our nation's leadership and guidance the world was and would continue to be a better place. He saw the Soviet Union as the illegitimate regime that it was and decided instead of appeasement to firmly confront it diplomatically. It was this critical decision that hastened the collapse of communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe. Churchill was obviously brilliant in so many ways, a tireless worker and had a keen sense of history. This acute knowledge of the past enable him to have a unique and almost prophetic insight into the future. This bore fruit in the 1930s as he was the strongest and too often the lone voice in raising the alarm to the rising threat that the Nazi regime posed to not only Britain but democracy itself across the globe.
The short answer-my sons. I want to do everything I can do ensure that they enjoy the same type of opportunities that were afforded to me. Also, someone needs to be a fierce advocate for hard working taxpayers of Denton County and the state of Texas. There are plenty of advocates for special interests and I'm a firm believer that the taxpaying citizens who foot all of the bills of government are in dire need more advocates in elected office.

A longer answer-I've been afforded so many wonderful opportunities by this country. The US Air Force paid for a large portion of my college education, provided me with the best leadership training available in the world, and gave me my first job. I'm the person I am today because of a countless number of NCOs and Officers who mentored me and guided me. I've been blessed to enjoy over two decades of entrepreneurial and business success and as a result I now have an opportunity (and in large measure I feel an obligation) to serve the great state of Texas. I've often said that you can serve your country by serving your community and seeking public office is certainly a way in which to do this.
Voters of Denton County should choose the person who they think best represents their values, beliefs, worldview and priorities. Texas is prospering and growing in large measure because we're a business friendly state with reasonable and predictable regulation all cocooned within a low tax environment. As a state we have a reputation for championing individual liberty and I have a proven track record of reflecting these shared values and priorities as an elected official at both the local and state level.
At the state level one of our greatest challenges is to grow and modernize our transportation infrastructure to keep pace with our tremendous population and economic growth. We all hear repeatedly how 'business is the heart of Texas', well if that's true then the roads are its arteries. And we won't be able to sustain the Texas Miracle with our arteries clogged. With over 1,000 people moving to Texas a day, it is imperative that we ensure we have the proper infrastructure to adequately meet the needs of our citizens and their businesses.

Another challenge we face is ensuring that our state and local law enforcement have the resources necessary to keep our citizens safe. After all if you're not safe then you're not really free. It is woefully obvious that our federal government has failed to secure the 1,254 miles of the Texas/Mexico border. We must do everything we can as a State to take the first step in reforming our broken immigration policy by securing the border. I applaud Governor Perry on his decision to deploy Texas National Guard troops in support of Operation Strong Safety to combat crime and drug cartel activity in the border region.
This is quite an open-ended question and could take hours, days, or even weeks to discuss. Fortunately, conservative policies of low taxes and reasonable and predictable regulation has Texas in a relatively good position economically. We must continue to improve on these policies to provide an economic environment that is friendly to business. This will guarantee our continued prosperity and enabled us to provide core government services to our citizens.

We must continue to crack down on fraud, waste, and abuse within the state. Almost assuredly, every agency and bureaucracy can find ways to be more efficient and spend our public money more wisely. It is getting them to identify these improvements that is tough. As elected officials, it is our job to dig and ask the tough questions.
Texas is definitely on the right track and we have done an exceptional job creating a strong business climate. Policies such as not having a state income tax, common sense regulations, and low taxes have made Texas the leading State for growth even in bleak economic times. Over the last six years our state is responsible for nearly half of the new jobs created in the United States. If you think about that it's truly remarkable. 26 million Texas account for just 8% of the US population and yet we've created nearly half of the new jobs.

One way we can improve on this front even more is by phasing out our state's franchise tax. Eventually eliminating this highly complex and burdensome tax would make Texas even more attractive for businesses to locate and bring jobs. According to a Beacon Hill study, the loss in revenue ($3.9 billion annually) from the franchise tax would be mitigated by an increase of tens of thousands of jobs, billions in net new investments and personal disposable income. Several other states have or are in the process of phasing out their version of a business franchise tax and have met with support from citizens and haven't seen a significant drain on their revenue. In fact Kansas began their phase out in 2007 and completed it in 2011 and their overall state revenues actually increased.
"The greatest measure of a society is the way it treats its weakest members." This quote in one form or another has been attributed both to Gandhi as well as John F. Kennedy. It's a powerful statement...wise, succinct and accurate.

As a member of the Human Services committee, I have seen first-hand that this is true. I absolutely believe that we need to have a safety net for those that cannot provide for themselves (children, the infirmed and elderly citizens). In order to provide adequate care for those truly in need we must make sure we are not incentivizing laziness. No one should expect the government to do for them what they are not willing to do for themselves. Again, there are those that truly cannot do for themselves and we need to direct government to take care of those people. But let me be clear, simply because an able body adult is poor does not make them righteous. I've read a good deal on this and the majority of adults living under the poverty line do not hold down steady employment. Ultimately the cure for the roughly 14% of Americans living under the poverty line must come from them and not government. If you're waiting on Uncle Sam to solve the problems in your life you should prepare to wait a lifetime.

This issue is also exacerbated by many of those crossing our borders illegally. A substantial portion of folks living in poverty in our state are foreign nationals who have entered our country illegally. The federal government's failure to secure our border has a direct impact on the budgets of border states like Texas.
For too long, the stigma of mental health illnesses has stifled care in our society. We must continue to take this matter seriously and do what we can, within the limits and constraints of the budgeting process, to take continue to care for those who suffer with mental health issues.
I have been following the hearings of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety to discuss the tragedy that happened in West. I'm looking forward to hearing from stakeholders and experts and listening to their recommendations. Two of my colleagues Chairman Joe Pickett and Rep. Kyle Kacal (who represents West, TX) have been working diligently on this and I plan on meeting with them as well, in order to hear their thoughts and recommendations about the best way to move forward on this issue. I am hopeful that they will be able to provide recommendations and potential policies to avoid another devastating disaster such as the explosion last year.
In the past 10 years, Texas students and their families are paying nearly double on average for a college degree (more than 4X the rate of inflation!). This is simply an unattainable practice and we are pricing ourselves out of keeping our brightest minds here in-state. We must find ways to keep college affordable while providing our students with the tools necessary to become productive members in the workforce.

We must also reexamine the tenure policy at our public universities and colleges. It simply doesn't make sense that professors are protected just because they have worked a certain amount of years. This is an outdated concept for 21st century. Policies like tenure contribute to the continued bloat and wasteful spending within higher education and will continue to hinder our schools.
I was proud to co-author HB 5 during the previous legislative session which reformed many aspects of our public education system including accountability. Standardized testing is a valuable tool to hold schools accountable when administered correctly. Unfortunately, we had become too reliant on these tests and began over-testing. In fact in the last three years I never met one parent or student who felt that they needed more standardized testing. When the matter came up, nearly without exception, parents complained about the length of the test prep period and the frequency of testing.

Our new accountability system will best be judged by the outcomes of our students in the upcoming years. The whole point of holding our schools accountable is ensuring our students receive the guidance and care they need to become productive members of the workforce.
This is another question that could take hours, days, or even weeks to answer. Instead of focusing on how we can come up with more money, we should be concentrating on how that money is spent. A study from the CATO Institute shows that simply spending more on education is not tied to academic improvement.

I want to focus my efforts on getting more funds and resources directed straight into the classrooms for our teachers and our students. Instead, too often money is wasted on new administration buildings and sports stadiums. The last time I checked, gravity works just as well in an open field as it does in a 30,000 capacity stadium. We need to do everything in our power to stop making our kids average at the things they're bad at and start making them great at the things they're good at.
Again, going back to a previous question, our transportation infrastructure is a top priority for our state government and this needs to be apparent during the appropriations process. I don't believe we need to raise taxes, fees, tolls, or borrow to meet our needs. We must continue to leverage current local, state, and federal dollars to improve our roads and ensure a prosperous future for Texas.

Specifically, our Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) is projected to be larger than anticipated and consequently there are funds available to be directed toward our transportation needs.
Unfortunately, there are those that are so evil, that they shatter the social contract with society by taking another's life by committing capital murder. When this is the case we must ensure a proper system of checks and balances for carrying out the death penalty. The last thing anyone wants is to have an innocent person executed. I've read the review's results and in large measure their recommendations are reasonable.

One weakness in the current system is the time it takes and cost of the whole process.
I am a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment and am in favor of any lawful citizen exercising this constitutional right to bear arms. Texas is one of only six states that do not allow any kind of open carry. If 44 other states can safely go about their daily lives with open carry laws, Texas should be able to as well.
First and foremost, I do not want to make it easier for children to access narcotics and won't support any policies which would do this. Fortunately, the way our great country is set up, we have 50 different laboratories of democracy to see how certain policies play out. Several states have gone the route of decriminalizing marijuana. This allows us to monitor their results to see if we have a desire in the future to reassess our own approach here in Texas.
I think the best approach currently is to monitor other states who've opted to go down this route and see where they either succeed or fail and in the future decide on this matter.
One of my main priorities as an elected official is transparency. As a council member in the City of Frisco I was successful in requiring elected officials to post our campaign finance reports online as well as championing the effort successful effort to get our city's checkbook posted online. The city had already been recording our regularly scheduled meeting and posting them online-a practice which I applauded. I went further by advocating that all of our posted public meetings (whether they be work sessions, special called meetings or subcommittee meetings) be recorded and available online.

Last session, I filed HB 889 which called for local governmental entities with a population of 50,000 or over to record and post online all of their regularly scheduled public meetings. Although this measure did not pass during the previous session I plan to pre-file this bill and again work hard to increase transparency in our state. With the dramatic advancements in technology we all see every day, it's imperative that we do all we can to open a very large window into our government.
This is definitely a touchy subject mainly highlighted by the popularity of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"). Fracking has definitely aided tremendously in our economic boom. In fact with these new drilling methods the US may have the ability to become energy independent within a few decades. This is a tremendous opportunity and an exciting one. While having said this we need to ensure that there is a balance so that citizens that live close to, and in some cases directly next to, the drilling areas are protected from any potential impact on their property or person.
Payday lending does serve a purpose here in the state of Texas. If they didn't they wouldn't have customers. Texans with bad credit or no credit more often than not cannot borrow money from traditional sources that offer conventional terms. So as long as there is a market for payday type lenders, which there clearly is, they should be allowed to operate.

We must ensure that consumers fully understand what they are agreeing before signing on the proverbial 'dotted line'. I'm always open to any improvement(s) we can make to ensuring that folks that opt to take out these type of short term high interest loans understand ALL of the parameters of the deal and the potential consequences of non-payment, late payments and/or making minimum payments.

At the end of the day good government is about liberty. We must allow people to make choices for themselves. These also include the occasional bad choice. It's very difficult for government at any level to protect people from themselves.
City/Town Frisco, TX
Age 49
Campaign Phone Number (940) 441-5472
Email Address lisaosterholt@yahoo.com
I have lived in the district since Oct. 2008. It will be 6 years.
Business Analyst for JCPenney
B.S. Biology and Psychology; M.A. Social/Organizational Psychology
Appointment to the County Environmental Board
Chair: East of the Lake Denton County Democrats; United Way Coordinator in my role as a J.C. Penney Manager
None
For the total campaign, $9462.59 as of August 9th.
Stonewall Democrats of Denton County, Sandy Swan, Jack Bishop
No!
No!
During my career in retail management, I have worked in three stores that earned the Chairman's Award for Excellence in Sales and Profit after I joined their team. My approach is to communicate clearly the goals of the team, then stop and listen to your employees ideas, work to find a consensus, and set up the small steps to achieve the goal. Each step is important! Each year, we would have a sales contest in February to kick off the year. My role was to determine the sales we would need to achieve to win the contest and what department had the best opportunity for sales. I let my team come up with the theme for the contest, games, anything they thought would help us achieve the goals. I would let them take ownership for the contest. I would ensure that everyone had a role in the process. This sounds easy, but it takes patience and good negotiating skills. Finally, I would break down the ideas into smaller steps, and provided rewards for achieving each small goal leading to the final goal. These rewards would be different based on what seemed to work for each person. I had one supervisor who hated public recognition. So I would write her personal notes telling her how much I appreciated her work. A great leader knows how to listen and motivate their team.
I really admired Martin Luther King. He inspired men and women from all walks of life to work toward his dream of racial equality through non-violent activism. His political activism was based in his Christian faith. I wish he had lived to launch his Poor People Campaign, which was focused on pursuing economic justice. He was a true visionary because in 1968 he was already preaching about congress's "hostility to the poor" while spending generously on the military.
I am running for office because I want to be a voice for my community. Currently, no one is listening to our concerns about our below average educational system and our increasing traffic problems due to poorly planned road construction. We are experiencing explosive growth in our district, but with this growth we are struggling to provide the basic services.
Voter's will choose me because I have spent the last year speaking with them about the important issues in their lives and how we can address their concerns. The overwhelming consensus among voters is to improve education and our traffic issues. We must invest in education to ensure economic opportunity for our children in the future. Fixing our traffic issues will require better planning that only can be achieved by ensuring a more secure and reliable method of payment than more toll-ways. I am the better choice because I care about solving the real problems in our district, unlike our current representative who couldn't even support the last budget passed by the Republican Legislature.
The biggest issue facing the state is rapid growth that is straining our educational system, water resources, and transportation infrastructure.
Yes, there are two key areas I feel that we need to increase investment. One, we need to invest in our educational system so that we can ensure economic prosperity in the future. Toyota will be moving into our area due to the quality of our public schools. Not investing in education will hurt us competitively both in recruiting new businesses to the state and in having an highly educated work force for those businesses. I will work to improve our educational system by reducing unnecessary testing and re-storing state funding per student back to 2010 levels. We can do this easily based on the current budget projections for Texas. In addition, if we implement Mike Collier's Plan to properly audit state government, we can save $8.5 billion to cover this investment. Two, we need to improve our water and transportation systems. Water shortage are a growing concern in the state. Water storage and supply lines must be improved and conservation of water must be prioritized. I would advocate for modernizing the laws regarding water usage in the state. The 2013 legislature addressed transportation by voting to put the Rainy Day Road Relief or Prop. 1 on the ballot this November. This would allow money generated by the severance tax on oil and gas production to be used for the highway fund. I would support using a greater portion of the new vehicle sales tax to be applied to our highway fund. In addition, many of our rural roads are being destroyed by increasing usage by heavy trucks. Other states are experimenting with a small mileage fee using GPS technology on these commercial vehicles to pay for maintenance of rural roads. This program needs to be evaluated to see if it would work in Texas.
Our state is doing an excellent job of encouraging business development. I would like to encourage more growth in higher wage and new technology jobs. We need to do a better job investing in science and technology research and education, promote technological infrastructure like Google Wired especially in rural areas, and provide more incentives for solar and geothermal energy. We need to focus more on preparing for the emerging technological economy to stay competitive.
Texas has an overall poverty rate of 18%. When you break down the numbers you find that Texas poverty rate for children is at 26%, for seniors 16%, and for women 17%. Texas ranks the worst in the nation in the delivery of health care services according to the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. I fully support accepting the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Why should our tax dollars go to pay for another state's health care, but not our own state? The cost of uncompensated care is estimated to rise to $4 Billion per year for public and private medical care providers while Texas could lose out on $65 Billion in Federal money over a 10 year period. We can't afford not to take the Medicaid expansion.

I commend the 2013 legislature for raising funding, but we should do more. Denton County has the lowest amount of spending on Mental Health Care in the state. As someone with a background in psychology, I know that mental illness is something we need to treat just like we would treat cancer. The ACA took the first step in making it a requirement for insurance companies to offer mental health care as part of basic coverage. Each year, we get a normal medical screening as part of our heath care regimen. I would like everyone to be able to have yearly mental health care screening too. Better and less expensive health care is based on early detection of problems. We also need to have a discussion about how we can address the need for long term care. When we eliminated mental hospitals in the 80's, we were supposed to replace them with community facilities. This never happened. Too often our justice system is dealing with the severely mentally disturbed. Families with a severely mentally ill son or daughter too often have no where to turn to get help. We could save money and heartache by improving our mental health care system.
Every citizen should know what dangerous chemicals are being stored in their neighborhoods. I would encourage more transparency about hazardous chemicals with local government. We need to have better regulatory oversight in the state of Texas. I would set it up to reward responsible businesses. Where I work, a supplier is monitored on how well they ship their goods correctly. After a period of time a supplier can earn the privilege of foregoing the expense of constant checking, which allows them to save money and get their goods to the store quicker. I would propose the same type of system for business. If after 5 years without problems, the monitoring would be reduced to the minimum. We would still get the benefit of oversight on the bad actors in the business community and the most responsible business would get a break on the regulation.
The results from the "Closing the Gaps in Higher Education" have been in general positive, but we have a few troubling misses for the state. We didn't meet the percentage target for Hispanics and the percentage of White participation declined. We didn't meet our goals in getting graduates with degrees in S.T.E.M fields and teachers. I think that one thing that is missing from the report is the role of early childhood programs in effecting graduation rates. I suspect that children who get early pre-k education would have a better chance of success in college. I would like this added to the new report.
The new system will be judged a success is it 1) allows parents to easily rate competing educational systems, 2) allows the school to identify areas of improvement, and 3) rewards schools for improvement over several years. I think we simply need to get some consistency in our rating system that allows for the harsh truth that not all schools are dealt that same resources.
Each student in Texas should receive public education funding that is in line with the national average to remain competitive. Currently the national average is $11,000 per student. Currently Texas is spending $8400 per student. I would propose that we stop funding charter schools which increase administrative costs per student and fail to provide superior education. We should focus our tax dollars on our public school systems which have the benefit of being more effective when educating a diverse population. I would also propose that any administrative position should not pay more than the best paid teacher in the school system. The quality of the school system is dependent on the quality of the teachers. We should implement Mike Collier's plan to audit state government, and re-invest the saving toward funding education.
Our roads need to be funded to continue our economic prosperity. I would like to implement some more creative options: 1) fund rural road upgrades and maintenance by implementing a rural road mileage fee on all commercial heavy vehicles using GPS technology; 2) increase the percentage of the new vehicle tax to be used for the highway fund; and 3) increase the gas tax by 5 cents per gallon. If you bought 10 gallons a week at $3.21 for a year, you would only pay $30 extra a year if you added 5 cents a gallon. I can guarantee that you will pay more in toll fees when they change all the roads in North Texas to toll-ways. I don't support building more toll roads. I would also like a discussion on how we can decrease traffic to reduce the need for more roads. I would support the use of tax incentives to promote re-development in more urban areas instead of pushing new housing developments into Texas farmland. I would like to offer tax incentives for business who allow work from home. Finally, I would support the building of more public transportation to take pressure off roads.
The most needed improvement in the administration of the death penalty in Texas is the need to ensure that defendants who are mentally retarded or suffering from severe mental illness that significantly impaired their capacity to appreciate the nature, consequence, or wrongfulness of their conduct are not tried for capitol murder. I would fully agree with the ABA recommendation that the mental status issue be ruled on during a pre-trial hearing before the start of a capitol murder case.
No! Open carry for handguns makes it difficult for law enforcement officers to determine quickly who may be threatening public safety in an emergency. I don't believe in any policy that violates basic common sense.
I would support the decriminalization of marijuana possession. I would change the law so that possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana would be treated like a civil infraction and a fine of $100. This change in the law would prevent the inclusion of the citation into the CORI criminal records database which is used by law enforcement and employers to conduct background checks and jeopardizes the person's ability to obtain jobs, housing, and school loans. I would also support a law that would require people under the age of 18 to have their parents notified and do community service, as well as receive drug awareness counseling or have the fine increased to $500. This is similar to the law in Massachusetts.
Yes, I would if it were heavily regulated. I would like the tax generated from the sale of medical marijuana be used to fund mental health care and addiction counseling in the state.
I would reduce the role of the Attorney General's office. No one public official should have so much leeway to make rulings on what will and will not be subject to open scrutiny. I find the recent rulings by the A.G. office on the Texas Department of Public Safety troopers' “use of force” and the hiding of Texas Department of State Health Services information about the storage of hazardous or “Tier II” chemicals troubling.
No, ultimately the effects of oil and gas drilling will be born by the citizens closest to the drilling. Those voters should have more of a voice in what happens in there community than someone who lives in another part of the state. The best course of action would be for the state and local government to work together to write laws to protect the local community while still safeguarding the interests of the state.
Yes, we should pass laws to reform payday lending. We should close the usury law loophole that was found in the 2005 court case that allows these lenders to set any interest rate they want. We should also pass legislation that limits the number of installments on a loan to four, each of which must pay down 25 percent of the loan principal, and can't exceed 20 percent of a borrower's paycheck. This is what most Texas city ordinances have enacted to curb the excesses of this industry.