A strong education system is absolutely necessary for Texas to thrive now and in the future. Teachers need to be paid competitively and their lecturing hours need to be capped to provide time during the work day to grade papers, develop curriculum, and communicate with parents. We cannot have a system that exhausts those who have dedicated themselves to educating our children. We must stop over-relying on standardized tests to know how our children are doing and trust our teachers more.
The contributions of new Americans can be seen throughout Texas. We are a nation of laws and it is important to honor that. It is also important to be realistic about the financial and humanitarian costs associated with strict enforcement for persons whose only crime is overstaying their visa. Resources should be directed towards investigating and prosecuting dangerous individuals, with a special emphasis on human and drug traffickers.
Healthcare must become more accessible and more affordable. The state is well-positioned to reduce the overall costs of healthcare both in the short-term and long-term by addressing redundancies in billing and promoting policies that make Texans healthier.
Foster Care Reform
Texas lawmakers recognize the importance of reforming the child welfare system. Their approach has been to privatize more and more responsibilities. This creates a clear conflict of interest in which the entities making money on every day that a child is in foster care have a large role in deciding how long a child stays in foster care. Texas children and families deserve to have their cases decided by an impartial entity. We need to be doing more to prevent maltreatment, such as making mental health and substance abuse treatment more accessible to struggling families.
Faith in the security and fairness of elections are the foundation of a representative democracy. The ability to hold leaders accountable is the bedrock of our system of government. To promote fairness the practice of lawmakers picking their own voters through gerrymandering must end, and a systematic approach to redistricting must be adopted.
Dignity and opportunity for all persons should be promoted and not diminished. It is not okay to target categories of people for unfair treatment. Discriminatory legislation must be opposed.
The economy of the 21st century will require anticipating the needs of a growing Texas. We need to get ahead of problems before they become a crisis. This requires a bold investment in education, a transportation infrastructure capable of meeting the needs of a growing population, and a smart approach to water storage and conservation.
It is crucial for the long-term health of Texans that we be good stewards of our environment. We must protect the air and water quality of our communities and work together to keep Texas beautiful and healthy.
Workers are the foundation of our economy, and I affirm my support for them. Collective bargaining is a tool for equalizing the voices of employers and the employed, and workers have a constitutional right to voluntarily associate with organizations that promote their values and interests. Workers should be able to exercise their rights without unnecessary interference from lawmakers.