To inform readers about the candidates seeking their votes on the November ballot, the San Antonio Report asked all candidates to answer the following questions. We edited answers for clarity, not substance or grammar, and we did not fact-check responses. We restricted responses to 200 words for each question.
Read other candidates’ answers here.
Link to campaign website:
Education background/degrees earned:
BA Business, JD, University of Texas at Austin
Current occupation, employer, or job title:
Previous elected offices held and/or sought:
Texas State Senate, Texas Supreme Court
Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the office you are seeking?
I seek to continue providing our community active, effective, and accessible representation, advocating especially for those who have no lobbyist. I regularly join local activities (in person before COVID and now remotely) to listen and ensure that my priorities in Congress remain the true priorities of our community. Each day my office works with individual veterans and small businesses without regard to political affiliation. Save the Children recognized my leadership with the Congressional Champion for Real and Lasting Change Award. AARP awards twice honored my efforts strengthening health access. I received the Texas Recording Academy’s “Champion of Music.” Recognized last year with the “Vision Award” from the San Antonio Power of Preservation Foundation for my support of historic preservation. Willingness to demand accountability and push back against wrongdoing by Trump and his enablers. Previously served as Chair, Supreme Court Task Force on Judicial Ethics and recognized as an Outstanding Judge by Mexican-American Bar of Texas. James Madison Award from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and the First Amendment Award from the National Society of Professional Journalists. I remain committed to working with anyone of goodwill from any party in resolving the challenges we confront, putting our families first.
What three issues do you feel are most important to voters in your district?
Having reduced our civic dialogue to new lows, condoned violence, attacked opponents as traitors, refused to commit to peaceful departure from office, Trump really remains the overriding concern, obstructing both bipartisan solutions and our security. Educational opportunity: I am an active public education supporter from pre-K to postgrad. Health Care: As Health Subcommittee Chair, I am resisting assaults on coverage for preexisting conditions, urging major Affordable Care Act improvements, especially for the many who have lost insurance during the pandemic and estimated 5 million uninsured Texans. Increasing concern about Senate hypocrisy in suddenly replacing Justice Ginsberg in a rush to crush ACA and to help Trump improperly cling to power.
Encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurs to help responsibly grow our economy, I believe COVID relief bills, blocked in the Senate, could offer immediate help Immigration reform: boost our economy by removing uncertainty for Dreamers and families who have called this home for decades left with uncertainty. Climate crisis and related sabotage of environmental law enforcement, disregard for science and evidence-based public policies – already exposing us to dangerous, erratic weather, tropical disease, and threatening our economy. Transportation and infrastructure-roadways, public transit, flood control. Others: domestic violence, gun safety.
If elected, what would be your top priorities after taking office?
If reelected, I would work for prompt action on major legislation I have already joined my House colleagues in approving, but on which Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has denied the Senate any opportunity to consider. This includes: For the People Act (cleaning up our democracy from dark money pollution and removing voter participation barriers), The Moving Forward Act (substantial investment in transportation, flood control and other infrastructure), the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, Equality Act, the American Dream and Promise Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, Bipartisan Background Checks Act, Climate Action Now Act, Save the Internet Act (overturning FCC ruling impairing internet freedom), the Violence Against Women Act, and the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. More work is also required to remove financial barriers to higher education and address massive student debt. The Republican tax law should be significantly changed to reverse unfair tax preferences that widen income inequality, encourage tax dodgers like Donald Trump, and allow some multinationals to pay much lower rates than many local businesses. We need major immigration reform to overcome the demonization of immigrants. With trillion dollar annual deficits, I will also continue advocating fiscal responsibility.
How has the coronavirus pandemic shaped your priorities?
It has become my overriding priority. Gov. Abbott chose Trump over Texas, leading to a disastrous response, mirroring Trump’s denial, delay and ongoing COVID deception causing so much pain, suffering and loss. Despite our advanced medical capabilities, our country has a tragic distinction with more infection and death than any country in the world. After his abdication of leadership, Abbott heavy-handedly interfered to override proactive, science-first measures by local officials that were saving lives. Abbott administration totally botched unemployment claims and hid information from families about nursing home COVID outbreaks. His failure to expand Medicaid and support open health insurance enrollment has left many unprotected. With over 65,000 nursing home resident deaths nationally, continuing COVID outbreaks, and testing and PPE shortages, my Health Subcommittee has been seeking Trump administration accountability and reform. I support action obstructed by Trump enablers: more virus testing and treatment, food security, another relief payment, school safety, election safety, an end to sabotage of postal service, small business support, and assistance for state/local governments,
For incumbents: What do you consider your most significant accomplishments in office? What would you change?
Daily progress in resolving problems with the federal government for local families. Adoption of my “more education” tax cut, (American Opportunity Tax Credit), to allow direct reduction of federal taxes for some tuition and course materials expenses. Hearing from students and Cafe College, I have worked successfully to begin simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), enabling more students to access financial assistance and am supporting efforts to address soaring student debt. Approval of my legislation expanded our San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and increasing federal funding for its operations. And daily progress in resolving problems with the federal government for local families. Next year offers opportunity to secure passage of my legislation seeking better Medicare for more Americans, including dental, vision, and hearing coverage, while combatting prescription drug price gouging and surprise billing on out-of-network health care services. My commitment to protecting the health of our democracy. We choose between democracy and the tyranny of a “law and order” Donald Trump, who ignores law and promotes chaos, division and hate – for whom lying and repeated attacks on the press, our military, anyone not compliant with his wishes – is a way of life.
For non-incumbents: What, if anything, would you do differently from the current officeholder?