Ramirez is a former staffer in the Texas House and on the San Antonio City Council. He ran unsuccessfully for the seat in a special election in 2021.
Hear from the candidate
The rainy day fund increased by a billion dollars since April to $13.6 billion – is it time to spend some of that money, and if so, where?
I believe we should absolutely use this money to address several issues in our state including: public education funding, Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) funding gaps, and Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) funding. Currently, our state only funds about 30% of our public education system and due to the lack of investment in our public schools, we are seeing teachers leaving the profession in droves. This is unacceptable and should be considered a crisis. Additionally, TDCJ has several facilities without proper staffing in highly sensitive jails and juvenile detention centers. We should be working to ensure that our jail guards have the proper resources necessary to conduct their jobs professionally and with dignity. I also believe that DFPS should be funded using the rainy day fund because the department is responsible for the protection of children without placement and overall child welfare. Our state is in the midst of a turnover catastrophe. Case workers on average in Bexar County, and similarly across the state, can expect to make $18.75 an hour, even though they have one of the hardest jobs imaginable. This coupled with the volume of work each case worker deals with creates a system that is bound to fail without the necessary resources.
What would you like to see the Legislature do to make Texas cities better places to live? In what ways could state officials work better with local officials?
Infrastructure. We need to ensure that our state is contributing appropriate funding to improving horizontal infrastructure in partnership with local governments. This means cost-sharing sidewalk projects, streetlight projects or simply making investments to state highways and spurs. Having worked with the City Council for five years, I had opportunities to work on and lead several projects in coordination with TXDoT to improve the quality of life of San Antonio residents. I look forward to working with local leaders to identify and solve infrastructure issues in House District 118.
What do you consider the top challenge facing Texas and how would you address it?
The top challenge in our state is access to health care and the amount of money we are leaving on the table by not expanding Medicaid. We have an opportunity to save lives and provide quality healthcare to all Texans without our citizens having to choose between visiting a doctor or putting food on their tables. We need a health care system that works for us and with us, not one that financially debilitates the people who need it most.
We live in a time of deep polarization. If elected, how do you see your responsibility to represent all your constituents, even those who didn’t vote for you?
I plan to do this the same way I have approached everything in my life: listen and learn. Although I have fundamental principles that cannot be changed, the job of a representative is to listen to their constituents, every single one of them. I’ve started doing this already by talking to every person, Democrat or Republican, at their doors. I am able to learn what matters to everyone and I’ve been able to confidently take key issues that both sides of the aisle agree on, like fixing the grid, protecting our children and ensuring government doesn’t dictate what a woman does with her body.
Texas is losing thousands of teachers to burnout, political division and a perceived inability to do their jobs. How should the state respond to ensure our children get a quality education?
Allow educators to do what educators do best: teach the next generation of leaders in our society all the skills and knowledge they’ll need to be successful no matter what path they choose in life. We need to increase funding into our public education system to address pay disparities in this industry. We must also address cost of living adjustments that retired teachers have not seen in 20-plus years. We can pay for all of this by being a fiscally responsible state government. Instead of paying $4 billion into vanity projects like Operation Lone Star, we should be investing in the greatest source of prosperity in this state: our teachers, our kids, and our future.