The candidate filing deadline in Texas is a little over a month away. By December 11, we’ll know who is vying for public office in Texas, first seeking the nomination of one of our political parties. Those of us who will be voting in old party primaries or participating in alternative party conventions will want to assess the various candidates to decide who to vote for.
Wouldn’t it be great if each of us could sit down one-on-one with each of the candidates and quiz them as to their positions on the issues we care about? That’s obviously out of the question. But maybe we can let them know some of the questions we would ask if we had the chance. Here’s ten from my list for those running for Texas Governor. See what you think. I’m sure you’ll have other questions as well.
Border Security and Immigration
Senate Bill 4, the so-called Sanctuary Cities Bill, was passed during the 85th Legislative Session and signed by Governor Abbott. The statute is being challenged in court. As governor, would you have signed SB 4? If not, what would you do, if anything, about this statute if elected?
Governor Abbot has on more than one occasion made political ethics a legislative priority. Yet few significant statutory changes have been made. What statutory changes, if any, do you believe should be enacted by the Texas Legislature? What would you do as governor to attempt to get these changes passed?
The 85th Texas Legislature spent an inordinate amount of time and energy debating Senate Bill 3 that would have regulated the use of public bathrooms by transgender citizens. Though the bill didn’t pass the House, it was supported by Governor Abbott. As governor, how would you address similar bathroom legislation should it come up in the 86th Legislature?
The Texas Constitution requires the Legislature to establish, support, and maintain “an efficient system of public free schools.” Yet many of the state’s schools fail to provide an education that adequately serves its students. What changes do you believe should be made to the state’s education system, if any, to fulfill its constitutional requirement? As governor, what would you do to bring about those changes?
Texas’ school finance provisions continue to be challenged in court. What do you believe should be done, if anything, to change how Texas financially supports public education in our economically-challenged school districts? What would you do as governor to bring about those changes?
Texas property owners increasingly believe they are over-taxed. What do you believe should be done, if anything, about Texas property taxes? What would you do as governor to bring about those changes?
Criminal Justice Reform
What changes should be made, if any, to Texas’ criminal justice statutes? What would you do as governor to bring about those changes?
Texas’ most recent state budget was $217 billion for the next two years. The Texas Conservative Budget Coalition supports a policy that would limit state budget increases to the rate of population growth plus inflation (generally around 6.5% per biennium). Do you support this policy? If not, what state budgetary policies would you support? If so, what would you do as governor to make sure the Legislature adheres to this requirement?
Hurricane Harvey Rebuilding
Texas’ Economic Stabilization (Rainy Day) Fund currently has a balance of around $10 billion. Governor Abbott recently requested $61 billion in federal assistance to rebuild Texas’ infrastructure after Hurricane Harvey’s destruction. Where do you believe resources should come from for rebuilding after Harvey? If elected governor, what would you do, if anything, to help mobilize and/or manage those resources?