SARA on THE ISSUES

 

When it comes to quality of our healthcare system, Texas ranks 49 out of 50. Our people are uninsured, and even among the insured, the costs are too high. Our Medicaid is too narrow, and our pregnancy-related death rate is among the worst in the country. As a state, we simply can do better. My commitment is to ensure affordable, high-quality, universal healthcare. Texans deserve publicly-funded healthcare. I will push a plan that provides guaranteed access to affordable universal comprehensive healthcare through a system that covers medical, dental, hearing, and vision care treatment. Our healthcare system should include coverage for prescription drugs, surgical care, gender-conforming surgery, emergency services, hospitalizations, outpatient services, treatment, and reproductive health services. Our systems must include a commitment to improve the overall health of individuals including physical therapy and rehabilitation, the latest assistive technology including Complex Rehab Technology (CRT), chiropractic care, home health care, and long-term care. I will propose legislation that would replace insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pay with progressive stable financing, allow patients to choose their providers, continue the long-term care benefits of Medicaid while expanding those benefits with an emphasis on community and home-based care. As a state, we can afford to eliminate co-pays for Medicare Part B, lower prescription drug costs, include funding for community-based and telemedicine health services, and expand the advances made by the Affordable Care Act.

Texans should be able to access the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion, regardless of their income, zip code, gender identity, or immigration status. Currently, Texans have to navigate multiple medically unnecessary obstacles to access abortion care. These restrictions are politically and ideologically motivated, and are intended to stigmatized abortion, despite the fact that it is a standard, common, and safe medical procedure. Once a person has decided to have an abortion, they should be able to access that care easily in their own community, free from political interference.  The high rates of preventable cancers and STIs in the Rio Grande Valley is a direct result of ideological budget cuts. We need to ensure adequate state funding for reproductive healthcare safety net programs, and allow trusted and qualified healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood to participate in those programs.

Personally, I received a public school high school education and then went on to a public university for two years.  I attended a Texas public law school.  We need to do away with the voucher system. The state should establish a 100% equitable school finance system with sufficient state revenue to provide every child the opportunity to learn in an exemplary program.  The state should equitably reduce reliance on “Robin Hood” recapture. The state funding formulas should fully reflect all student and district cost differences and the impact of inflation and state mandates. 

I fully recognize that climate change is a real and serious threat that is causing drought, crop failure, heat waves, more extreme hurricanes, torrential storms, flooding and other extreme climate events. I further recognize that these extreme climate disruptions are ravaging our economy and environment, and it is time for Texas to become a leader in combating climate change. Texas needs to lead the fight and implement statewide clean energy and transportation policies that will spur economic development and reduce carbon emissions in both the state and the nation through the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Our leaders have become accustomed to making millions on under the table deals and self-serving contracts that are clearly a conflict of interest. State, local, county, and school district employees should be free to do their job free of political considerations and oversight with only the public good in mind. Texas officials should not be exploiting public funds to pay for personal or political activities, and corporations should not be writing legislation as proxy to legislators. We should end the double-dipping of retirement and bonuses for elected officials. Too often, political considerations outweigh sound policy. As a senator, I will dedicate my time to ensuring we have sound policies that further prohibit and completely discourage unethical decision-making at every level.

As your state senator, I would strongly oppose Senate Bill 4, also known as the “Show Me Your Papers” law, and call on the Texas Legislature to repeal Senate Bill 4. I will strongly oppose any efforts by the Texas Department of Public Safety to share information and statistics of the legal status of any person stopped for a traffic offense. I will strongly oppose efforts by cities and local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws prohibited by preemption. Additionally, I support the lawful and humane treatment of immigrants by all law enforcement and correction officers. I support appropriate punishment against those who exploit undocumented workers, rather than targeting the workers themselves. I believe in allowing all Texas residents to obtain a driver’s licenses regardless of their immigration status.  I will stand with counties and sheriffs who end the voluntary cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It’s of great importance that we support the current in-state tuition statute, which allows undocumented students to obtain a higher education and denounce all efforts to repeal this opportunity by

 

I fully support the LGBTQ community and believe that the rights of all people must be protected. This starts with the protection to use facilities and participate in all aspects of life in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity or expression, irrespective of the gender they were assigned at birth. We must develop a streamlined processes for transgender individuals to obtain legal documents consistent with their gender identity, including state IDs, regardless of surgical status. We must implement the inclusion of gender confirmation surgery in Medicaid and provide full and inclusive transgender healthcare coverage in employer-based insurance. We must develop state laws which protect LGBTQ individuals in all aspects of their lives including housing, employment, adoption, education, commerce, healthcare and public accommodation. We must ban so-called “reparative” therapy and recognize its practice as abuse. We must deliver services to all Texans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity by social, healthcare, and public service professionals. We must include the LGBTQ movement and individuals in history and social studies classes in public education. It is the right of all students to learn in a bullying-free and harassment-free environment.  To provide full healthcare services to everyone, we should implement programs to combat suicide and homelessness among LGBTQ youth. These are basic Constitutional protections that should be afforded to all people, which guarantee the full and equal treatment of the laws.

Fair pay aligns with our struggle for basic human rights. No hard-working Texan should be paid poverty-level wages. I am a strong advocate for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I support unions and the values they bring to workers and the state economy. I support the right of employees to negotiate collectively with their employer. I oppose union-busting proposals, such as so-called “right-to-work laws and prohibitions on payroll deduction of union dues. I support equal pay for equal work as well as paid sick leave for all Texas workers. I support equal access for women of all ages to job training, promotions, and the right to sue for equal pay, capital, equity, and contracts. We must expand workplace rights such as flex time, compensatory time, paid family leave, and workplace time for child nursing. 

We must support the human rights of everyone living in our state, including those living in colonias throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Our legislators have simply neglected colonias because they are not a voter base. I have been to colonias during a rainy day when, in a matter of minutes, a road is transformed into what looks like a resaca. People are then trapped in their homes with no way of driving to work, and children have to wade though the water to get to their homes from the school bus. Texas has money to fix these infrastructure issues, and I will advocate for the best interest of all Texans.