Where Allison Stands
My top four priorities are:
- Publicly funded healthcare
- Publicly funded education
- Environmental protection
- Campaign finance reform
Read below for details into these, and the wide variety of things which are important to me.
The fact that the maternal mortality rate in Texas has been rising and is the highest among developed countries is not only alarming, but the fact that this was largely ignored by the State Senate during the 85th legislature is appalling - Texans deserve better.
I firmly believe in a woman's right to choose.
But I want what many Texans want: less abortions. And the path to fewer abortions is through accessible women's healthcare, birth control, and screenings. The more available we make these family planning avenues, the fewer abortions we'll have. This is not an opinion, it's a fact. Also, not only will accessible healthcare and birth control reduce abortions, but it will save the state huge sums of money, allowing us to spend those funds on other important needs.
The way Texas has been treating its women over the past several years is sickening and the trend needs to be reversed immediately. There is no reason to provide so little support to Texan women, especially those in need.
I grew up in the Texas public school system, and benefited immensely from it – but we can do better. We need to keep moving forward, to protect state-funded public education, as our Constitution intends. The push for "school choice" is as deceptive as it is dangerous, as it funnels public tax dollars into privately-run schools which aren’t held accountable for the quality of their instruction, nor obliged to provide services for our most vulnerable students.
Our students also deserve highly qualified teachers. Texas ranks 43rd in education, and 34th in average teacher salary. There is a correlation. To improve the quality of our education, we must attract and retain highly-qualified teachers. We can do that by increasing teacher salaries to meet or beat the national average, improving their health insurance coverage, and removing test-based performance pay.
Lastly, the only way to decrease our property taxes is to properly fund our schools, plain and simple.
Texas has an economy that is big and bold, just like its culture. But we still must actively cultivate our job market so that hard working Texans can get the jobs they need, and so that businesses can flourish.
This means having a competitive workforce emboldened by comprehensive education programs, government-funded two year and vocational degrees, reliable public transportation systems, and affordable property tax rates so that we can choose to live in the best city for our work. This also means giving businesses the support and the flexibility they need to be their best, and giving folks the ability to create jobs for themselves.
Hard work deserves fair pay.
Yet for many cities in Texas, including Dallas and Fort Worth, the minimum wage falls below the estimated cost of living by about $3 per hour. We must increase the minimum wage so that every employed person can support themselves.
Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege.
Until we as a country are ready to move towards a single-payer system, Texas needs to accept Medicaid expansions made available by the federal government. We must also support preventative medicine (as it is repeatedly proven to be cheaper than emergency medicine), paid maternity and paternity leave, and quality, affordable childcare services.
If we don't fight for the health and longevity of our home, what else is there? Texas already produces more wind energy than any other state – and if we can get the lobbyists out of government, we can offer good jobs and sustainable technologies which can support all Texans. I support state-funded retraining programs to help carbon-based energy production workers transition to cleaner, healthier, more sustainable energy employment. Texas is nothing but innovative - we can change the way we energize the world.
Campaign Finance Reform
Abraham Lincoln spoke of government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” He made no mention of corporate interests or dark money. Yet without campaign finance reform, our public institutions will continue to be held hostage, our so-called representatives bribed into office to serve the wealthiest donors. This cannot continue. We deserve free elections and fair legislation. With your help, we can move Texas towards public campaign and election financing, leveling the playing field for everyone.
I unequivocally support the repeal of SB4, and would author or co-sponsor such legislation in the Texas Senate. I also oppose any attempt to introduce new legislation which is similar. Read my full response here.
We must work to support our immigrant community which in turn supports us. We must protect the Texas Dream Act, also known as the Noriega bill, which gives immigrants who have been living in Texas the ability to pay in-state tuition rates to attend our universities. We must also continue to work with our communities and our federal government to ensure we have comprehensive immigration reform which allows immigrants to live and work here safely and legally.
The research has consistently shown that the Texas economy benefits enormously from immigrant labor, that immigrants are statistically less likely to commit a crime, and that they support our communities in countless ways. It's time we support the American dream in return.
Every Texan of every ability deserves to live as the same class of top tier citizen. We must continue to push for proper funding and staffing in schools to help children with disabilities get the support they need, and continue to fight for the most appropriate in-home care we can for those with disabilities. This includes continuing to work towards home- and community-based services which are both more often preferred by people with disabilities and their families, but are also significantly cheaper in cost to the state. For those that decide a state supported living center is the best option, our centers require drastic overhauling to ensure their patients are being cared for adequately and with compassion.
An estimated 3.4 million Texans live with some form of disability, and it's crucial that every Texan has the tools they need to succeed.
Our current prison system is a moral blight upon our state. Our critically-underfunded public defense system sends huge numbers of people to prison, simply for the crime of lacking the means to fairly defend themselves. Moreover, our prison terms are often wildly inappropriate to the crime (too little for rape and “affluenza”, too much for drug offenses, nonviolent crimes, and poor or minority defendants). Private for-profit prisons keep prisoners in appallingly inhumane conditions, doing nothing to “rehabilitate” them and affording them no access to housing or employment upon their release – virtually guaranteeing that they will be reincarcerated, and that we will continue to pay for their loss of liberty with our tax dollars. This is an indefensible violation of the rights of our fellow Texans, and we absolutely must reform this broken system.
The 2016 election was the first time the Voting Rights Act was not fully enforced in Texas since its conception. Moreover, federal courts have recently ruled that the Republican-drawn gerrymandered districts are in direct violation of the VRA’s protection. Every eligible voter deserves an equal voice – but we must fight to ensure that their voice is heard.
Families & Children
As a scientist, I am committed to improving public education about the safety and importance of vaccines. Following recommended vaccination schedules keeps children and communities safe.
As a citizen, I believe we must reform the Texan foster care system, and I believe in any family structure that is founded on the love and trust of consenting adults, regardless of gender, religion, or ethnicity.
As a woman, I am proud to be an advocate for gender equality, and a strong voice against harassment, discrimination, and domestic violence.
As a gun owner, I take firearm ownership and the 2nd amendment seriously. Not just as someone who keeps firearms for self protection, but as someone who has firearms which are sentimental to my family.
But the research has repeatedly shown that there are some simple steps the states can take to help reduce gun deaths. Let's work together to make the world a safer place - without infringing on anyone's rights as an American.
We can start with closing the private sale loophole, and by increasing compliance with the background check systems we already have in place. We can also work towards a handgun permit systems such as the ones in Iowa and Nebraska.
While we need to agree on certain levels of guidance from the state and federal levels, we also need to be able to comfortably do what's best for our cities and our communities. We need to have the ability to set our own minimum wages, our own union standards, and our own community guidelines that work best for us. Our current Texas State Legislature has taken this ability away from us, and it's time to fight for it back.
Safe combinations of THC and CBD oil have been repeatedly found over the last several decades to assist patients with a wide variety of physical ailments. Texas presently only allows medical marijuana to be used for exactly one condition, for intractable epilepsy. And while that is a good first step, it's time to start taking the next one: legalizing medical marijuana for a much wider range of prescribed treatment options and diagnoses. Furthermore, states with medical marijuana laws have reduced their overdose deaths by an average of 24.8%, as well as improved their local economies. This is no longer an option, it's a necessity.
It's time to start taking care of our Texans, whether they be our veterans, our chronically ill, our chronically painful, or even just those needing temporary relief. It's time Texas joined the 21st century.
Texas is home to four of the 25 worst cities in the United States for opioid abuse, and under our Republican leadership we have been giving corporate welfare subsidies to companies which further exacerbate this crippling epidemic. We must work with our healthcare providers to come up with common sense solutions for pain management, encourage rehabilitation programs for our citizens which have become dependent on opioids, and start encouraging pain management alternatives - like medical marijuana - to help our Texans get back to their normal lives.
Texas is not just notorious for legislators choosing their consituents through extraordinarily biased gerrymandering, but has in fact been found to be guilty of drawing district lines which intentionally discriminate against people based on race. And it's been found guilty of this repeatedly. We need to work together to find non-partisan panels to draw our lines, or work towards these panels identifying credible algorithms which could draw them for us, based on population centers and communities. It's time that each vote counts.