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:
Bachelor’s in Journalism – Loretto Heights College, Master of Divinity – Chicago Theological Seminary
Current occupation, employer, or job title:
Hospice chaplain at Ann’s Place
Previous elected offices held and/or sought:
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, school board
Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the office you are seeking?
In 2016 I entered the TX-21 Democratic primary for Congress as an independent in support of Bernie Sanders, who is also an independent. He ran on the Democratic Party ballot line just as I was doing. While Bernie lost to Hillary, I won my primary election. I went on to face 30 yr. Republican incumbent Lamar Smith. Our campaign’s main focus was on climate change. I told voters in the district that we needed to ban fracking and to cap the millions of abandoned oil and gas wells in the country that were leaking green house gases into the atmosphere; many dating back to the 1930s. I said that if we didn’t do that now, things would only get worse and they have. Once again I’m running for Congress in Congressional District 21, this time as an independent on the Green Party ballot line. I’m carrying the same message as I did in 2016. The only difference now is that it’s a climate emergency. Wildfires in the West, violent windstorms in Iowa cornfields, glaciers melting and unless we stop fracking and start capping all those orphaned wells immediately this climate emergency will turn into a climate apocalypse.
What three issues do you feel are most important to voters in your district?
The three most important issues in this campaign are all related: climate change, health care and economic security. Climate change is a national security threat. Why? Because it will create climate refugees; local conflicts over water and tillable land will turn into regional wars which could easily turn into a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. We must stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere but neither Chip Roy nor Wendy Davis are willing to do so by banning fracking or capping the millions of abandoned oil and gas wells in the country. As the glaciers and icecaps continue to melt somewhere a 100,000-year-old carcass will eventually thaw out and release a pathogen more deadly than COVID-19 on the world. We must prepare for this eventuality which means we must ensure than every American has health insurance not just access to health insurance and that’s why I support Medicare for All. And just like with today’s pandemic millions of Americans will lose their jobs and face unimaginable economic hardships. That’s why I support universal basic income just like Andrew Yang does. We send every American earning less than $70,000 a year a monthly check of at least $2,000.
If elected, what would be your top priorities after taking office?
My top priority would be to fight climate change by embracing and putting into law the Green New Deal. Part of the Green New Deal would be to cap the millions of abandoned oil and gas wells that are leaking greenhouses into the atmosphere. It will be a major undertaking and will be very expensive but it must be done to avoid a climate apocalypse. The estimated cost – $600 billion, which is why I would seek to pass legislation creating an oil and gas well superfund similar to the one created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 that was passed to deal with sites contaminated with hazardous substances. In addition, I would work to pass legislation to immediately ban fracking in the United States. I recognize this will lead to job loss and many people will fight a ban. But unlike the tens of thousands of workers who lost their jobs when the country transitioned from horse and buggy to automobiles, I would ensure they had enough income coming in every month to meet their financial obligations and put food on the table until new jobs in the renewable energy sector become available.
How has the coronavirus pandemic shaped your priorities?
The COVIS-19 pandemic has just reinforced one of my existing priorities – which is universal health care. Latinos in the 21st Congressional District now comprise nearly 38% of the population and their community has been hit hard by this pandemic. My wife, who is from Mexico, is fielding phone calls every single day from friends and friends of friends seeking advice from her as to what to do because someone in the household is sick, they don’t know if they have the virus and they don’t have health insurance. The death rate among Latinos in TX21 is higher than the Anglo death rate. Why? Because many Latinos don’t have health insurance and wait too long before seeking medical help, usually from a hospital ER or minor emergency clinic. Chip Roy wants to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Wendy Davis wants to tinker with it. But neither option will help the Latino community but Medicare for All will. I’ve been a supporter of universal health care for all Americans since my seminary days in the 1980s. It is morally indefensible for any candidate for public office not to support Medicare for All.
For incumbents: What do you consider your most significant accomplishments in office? What would you change?
For non-incumbents: What, if anything, would you do differently from the current officeholder?
I would do several things differently than Chip Roy, the incumbent TX21 Congressional representative. 1. I would fight for a Green New Deal. 2. I would fight for Medicare for All. 3. I would fight for universal basic income. 4. I would fight to end civil forfeiture, which is one of the gravest abuses of power in the country today. 5. I would seek to legalize marijuana as it is a racial justice/criminal justice issue given that the majority of folks locked up for pot possession are Black and Latino. 6. I would work to pass HR 7085, the Ending Qualified Immunity Act. Qualified immunity shields police officers from legal actions by victims and their families who were abused by the police. 7. I would lend my voice to the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions movement to put additional pressure on Israel to end the decades-long Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 8. I would work save the post office by reinstating postal banking, which was a service they offered up until the early 1960s. 9. I would work to overhaul eminent domain, which so many rural voters in TX21 have fallen victim to.