Make a Political Difference. Send Postcard Messages to Your Elected Officials on a Regular Basis.

Many of these message prompts from the winter and spring of 2017 continue to be relevant as written, or they can be adapted as a backward look at why we are looking forward to some new candidates for political office. More message prompts will be added regularly to this site.  All prompts are subject to change as you see fit! To learn about how to be a postcard stormer, scroll down to the welcoming posts, beginning May 19th.

COMMUNITY SERVICES 

Send to your elected officials in the Texas legislature, the Governor, and Congress

Re: Family and Community Life—Most People in the U.S. Can’t Fund a $500 Emergency

I support government policies that support households in the U.S.—all kinds of households—and help them to find productive, cost effective ways to navigate financial challenge.  This means bipartisan work to develop the complex policies that keep the economic engine of the country working, provide essentials to communities—healthcare, quality public education, a healthy environment, respect for human dignity of all people, and adequate social security.  I oppose win/lose policies that pit one group of people against another and lose sight of the fact that most people in the U.S. can’t fund a $500 emergency. Our society is very fragile and needs substantial improvements which means government has to be involved at the policy level.

Short version:  I support government policies that recognize most people in the U.S. can’t fund a $500 emergency.  I oppose win/lose policies that pit one group of people against another and lose sight of the economic vulnerability of the vast majority of U.S. households.

 

Send to your elected officials in the Texas legislature, the Governor, and Congress

Re:  Funding Community Development Block Grants, Housing, and Other Proven

Social Services

I oppose cuts in effective community development block grants, housing services, and social services. Let’s not ignore expert data and qualitative testimony about what works. Unless the state legislature and Congress do the hard work of redirecting public money to services that can do the most good—services such as quality public education, housing, and substance abuse disorder treatment and support—our state and nation will continue to pay for extraordinary crisis costs, expenses that are far more expensive than prevention and maintenance.  Cutting services that help the most hurts us all.  Shelters are not an answer, except as quick bridge to housing. Housing the homeless and following that housing with holistic social services will save $20,000 a year in extraordinary medical costs and incarceration costs. Even better, some of those housed will advance to self-sufficiency.

Short version: As you make budget cuts, I oppose cuts that ignore expert data and qualitative testimony about what works. Many of the cuts under consideration are the very programs that allow working poor families to continue working, get their children educated, and even extend their own educations.  I support smart expenditures that advance people to better lives.

ENRICHMENT

Send to your members of the Texas legislature, the Governor, U.S. Congress and Senate

Re:  The Arts

 I oppose reducing the funding available through the Texas Commission for the Artsthe National Endowment for the Arts. The arts have bipartisan support. While this budget item is relatively a very small item for the state and national budgets, arts make a big statement in our lives.  Living in a society that diminishes the importance of the arts diminishes us all.

Short version: I oppose spending reductions in the arts. The arts have bipartisan support.  I support elevating the experience of life through the support of the arts.

Send to your Texas and national elected officials

Re:  The Humanities

I oppose reducing the funding available to the humanities at the state of Texas and national levels.  While this budget item is relatively a very small item

for the state and national budgets, the humanities make a big statement in our lives.  Living in a society that diminishes the importance of the humanities diminishes us all.

Short version: I oppose spending reductions in the arts. The humanities should have bipartisan support in Congress.  I support elevating the experience of life through the support of the humanities.

 Send to your national elected officials 

Re:  Public Radio and Television

 I oppose reducing funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and any other government funding source that supports public radio and television around the country.  Public Media and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has bipartisan support. CPB funding is a tiny part of the budget, but a big part of who we are as a nation.

I support keeping alive the voice of education, information, and enrichment, including insights about science, history, and culture.

Short version:  I oppose cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Public Media has bipartisan support.  I support public radio and television.

ENVIRONMENT

 Send to your U.S. Representative

 Re: Climate, safety, education, economics interconnected

I believe climate, safety, education and economics are interconnected—not separate.  I urge you to join the growing bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.  We need solutions, not political postures. It’s of note that The Pentagon lists climate change as one of the biggest threats they face.

[Climate Solutions Caucus was profiled on The News Hour May 14th. See the website for information about this effort founded by two U.S. Representatives from Florida].

Another version:

Please recognize the scientific evidence that climate change is real. The damage done to the environment and the health of Texans by unfettered pollution has the capacity to bankrupt our state and country. I am in your District, but cannot vote for a backward-looking candidate.

Another version:

I encourage you to join Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group that works to help us be better stewards of our beloved country.

Another version:

I urge you to join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.  The time for political preferences is in this matter is long over.  This is now a major planetary concern.  The Pentagon has listed this as one of the greatest threats to us, and, I would add, to the people of the world.

Another version, adaptable to those with a climate expertise:

For decades, I have worked as an environmental attorney for industry.  My clients are intelligent and informed.  They do not reject climate science, just because their interests may be impacted.  My children’s and grandchildren’s world and their lives in it are in peril. Embrace the science of climate change, learn its lessons, and support the Paris Accord, for the sake of our families.  History will honor the legacy.

Send to your U.S. Senators

I believe climate, safety, education, and economics are interconnected—not separate.  While President Trump has described global warming as a hoax, Pentagon officials disagree.  It is possible to both love the money oil brings into the Texas economy and feel concern over the disaster area Houston can become if an unfortunate convergence of a weather system and the many toxic by-products in the Bay Area occurs.

[November 11, 2016 LA Times story and March 2017 NPR interview, featuring Captain Dean Vanderley who oversees Navy infra-structure in the mid-Atlantic region.]

Another version:

I believe climate, safety, education, and economic interests are interconnected and that global warming is not a hoax.  If we can put a Man on the Moon, surely, we can pump oil without destroying the atmosphere of the earth.

Another version:

I believe climate, safety, education, and economics are inter-connected—not separate.  As a Texan, I urge you to lead the way in seeking solutions which will, in turn lead to a more prosperous Texas.

Another version:

I know you are a big supporter of the US Military.  The Pentagon has stated that Climate Change is one of the biggest threats they face.  Please do not dismiss Climate Change as a hoax, but work to find solutions.  Thank you.

Another version to Senator Cruz:

You speak often of your adherence to the Christian faith.  This faith (like some others as well) calls Christians to be good stewards of the earth.  If you are sincere in your faith, apply it and consider being part of a bi-partisan solution group—create a Senate counterpart to the Climate Solutions Caucus.

To the President

Climate change isn’t a hoax.  In twenty-five years, a time when your grandchildren will be entering the middle of their lives, the Pentagon predicts that rising sea levels and flooding events will compromise the navy infra-structure.  Fixing this situation is in your hands. If you choose to be forward thinking about climate, you can leave the legacy of a better climate—and better economy, well-being, and safety—for the multiple generations of your family and everyone.

[November 11, 2016 LA Times story and March 2017 NPR interview, featuring Captain Dean Vanderley who oversees Navy infra-structure in the mid-Atlantic region.]

Another version, suitable to any elected official:

 Your respect of our responsibility to protect the environment for the benefit of your, my, all descendants is critically important. Climate, safety, and economic interests are inter-connected—not separate.

 Send to your national elected officials

 Re:  No Rollback of the Clean Power Plan

 I oppose weakening the Clean Power Plan and other climate change policies put in place during the Obama administration.   A healthy environment is in the interest of all political parties.  Scott Pruitt said at his hearing for heading the EPA , “It [the “endangerment finding”] is there [at the root of the Clean Power Plan], and it needs to be enforced and respected.”  The legal basis for the “endangerment finding” is very strong, according to legal scholars. Mr. Pruitt, an attorney, must think so, too. This means if the Clean Power Plan is rolled back, a new Plan will be needed, because the law says so.

Short version: I oppose weakening the Clean Power Plan and other climate change policies put in place during the Obama administration.  Scott Pruitt said at his hearing for heading the EPA , “It [the “endangerment finding”] is there [at the root of the Clean Power Plan], and it needs to be enforced and respected.”  This means if the Clean Power Plan is rolled back, a new Plan will be needed, because the law says so.

[quote source:  The New York Times, April 13, 2017, page A15]

 Send to your national elected officials

 Re:  Coal miners Have the Same Reason to Want Clean Air as the Rest of Us

 I oppose any policies that subject the United States to increased coal pollution. The Grand Smog in London of 1952 is just one demonstration of how when weather conditions and coal fires converge, people die prematurely. Over 5 days, 4,000 people lost their lives because of the Grand Smog, and the health of young children and the unborn may have adversely been effected. Find new ways to make a living and support coal miners with re-training.

Short version:  I oppose any policies that increase coal pollution. Find new ways to make a living that don’t damage lungs or the earth.  Support coal miners with job re-training.

[Great Smog of 1952 source:  Time Magazine, November 4, 2016]

 Send to your national elected officials

 Re:  We need the Environmental Protection Agency

 I support the presence of an Environmental Protection Agency that accepts and fosters scientific study of what should be done to protect our planet.  I oppose putting the Coal Industry before the interests of the American people.  We need decent air to breathe.  All Congress members who have children and grandchildren should want that for them, too.  Surrounded by ugly, scarred earth and living in hazardous climate with bad air, we can’t thrive economically or in other ways.  We must find avenues for Americans to make a living that do not damage the environment.

Send to your national elected officials

 Re: Support the Paris Accord

 I oppose any actions that undermine the United States’ support of the Paris Accord.  As a world leader, we are responsible for collaborations that improve life on our planet. Dirty air, dirty water, and scarred earth all have negative repercussions—including economic.  “Southern California’s persistent smog has been closing schools, filling emergency rooms, and causing premature deaths for more than half a century.” (wired.com 3/11/16).

New Delhi, Beijing, London, Los Angeles, and many other major cities face fallout from smog.  Let’s stop this problem, not make it worse.

Short version:  I oppose any actions that undermine the United States’ support of the Paris Accord.  Dirty air, dirty water, and scarred earth all have negative repercussions—including economic fallout and premature deaths.

 Send to your Texas and national elected officials

 Re:  Clean Water

I oppose any policies that compromise access to clean water in the United States.  Even as we experience temporary hiatus from drought in parts of the U.S., residents of the future—which includes young and middle-aged residents of today, are in economic and environmental peril without sufficient access to clean water, the very most basic requirement of life.  I support continuing funding for cleaning up rivers, lakes, and oceans, and investing sufficiently in future planning for clean water access.

Short version: I oppose any policies that compromise access to clean water in the United States.  I support continuing funding for cleaning up rivers, lakes, and oceans, and investing sufficiently in future planning for clean water access

 HEALTH CARE

 Send to your elected officials in the Texas legislature and the Governor

 Re: Reproductive rights

I agree with Representative Howard when she says, “Politicians have no place in the medical exam room. We can sit here self-righteously and decide we know what is best for every person, but we do not. We do not.”  I opposed HB 35 and I oppose SB 8.  I support my elected officials who are pro-choice.

[Austin American-Statesman beginning page 1, May 20, 2017]

Send to your U.S. Congressman, Senators, and the President

According to Guttmacher Institute, nearly 1/3 of American woman are estimated to have an abortion by age 45; 62% are people of color; a majority are religious. Renee Bracey Sherman writes in Sunday’s New York Times, “Adoption is posed as the perfect option, and it’s great for some, but it isn’t a solution for those who don’t want to be pregnant, or can’t risk pregnancy.”  I agree with Ms. Sherman.  I support my elected officials who are pro-choice.

[New York Times Sunday in Review, page 11, May 21, 2017]

Send to your U.S. Congressman, Senators, and the President

Ross Douthat, a conservative, writes in his Sunday opinion column on May 21, “To working-class voters, he [the President] promised a big infrastructure bill and better health insurance than Obamacare.  But his legislative agenda has been standard establishment-Republican fare—spending cuts to pay for upper-bracket tax cuts, rinse, repeat.”

another version

I oppose tax cuts that the very rich don’t need. I oppose healthcare policy that doesn’t promote health for all.  I oppose religious right actions through their pro-life agenda that  endanger women’s health.  I support making insurance available and accessible to the poor, the middle-class, and all who need it that covers pre-existing conditions, maternity, and more. I support Planned Parenthood.

Send to your Texas elected officials

From May 15th’s America-Statesman:  The Texas Legislature could once again underfund Medicaid patient services.  Sixteen percent of Texans rely on Medicaid. Under the U.S. House Plan, federal program cuts will approach 25% in 10 years. Three in five Texas nursing home residents currently receive Medicaid funds.  We need healthcare help, not a tax-give away plan.

[Glen W. Smith editorial; he is director of Austin’s Progress Texas political action committee; May 15, 2017 Austin American Statesman]

Send to your U.S. Senators and the President

Our state is headed toward health chaos unless Republican leadership steps in and works to build a health care plan. A tax give-away plan to the very rich labeled as a health-care plan, which is what the House voted for, is a bad idea for the future of the Republican party and everyone.

Another version for those affiliated with the medical profession-adaptable to particular expertise

I stand with the AMA, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Ob-Gyn in sharp criticism of the replacement to the ACA proposed by you and the rest of the House of Representatives.

Another version to Senator Cornyn

I hear that you will carry the torch for a Trumpcare Plan.  So far, many Americans are not happy with the changes the U.S. House plan makes, a plan many of us view as a tax give-away to the very rich, rather than health-care for the many who count on it.  Improve upon Obama Care and protect the lives of Texans.  Trumpcare can work if you include the items that you already know people want most.  Good luck!  Your results matter to us all.

Send to Republican Senators in other states who are open to improving upon the U.S. House healthcare plan (McCain, Collins, Graham, and possible others):

 Our country is headed toward health chaos unless Republican leadership steps in and works to build a health care plan for all Americans.  A tax give-away plan, such as the one approved by the House, is a bad idea for everyone, regardless of political affiliation.

Another version:

Any changes to Medicaid need to ensure that school districts are guaranteed to receive reimbursements at CURRENT or INCREASED levels.  This money supports many core services for low income students and students with disabilities. Please do not pass legislation that lowers Medicaid reimbursements to school districts.

And another, suitable to send to any elected official

In order to comply with the Disabilities Education Act of 1975, school districts rely on Medicaid reimbursements.

Send to the Texas Speaker of the House and your representative in the Texas legislature

I strongly support the House’s proposed 75% restoration of Children’s acute care Medicaid therapy rates. (Riders 211, 213).

[Center for Public Policy Priorities]

Send the Texas Lt. Governor and your Senator in the Texas legislature:

I strongly support restoring the pediatric therapy rate cuts and policy changes as proposed in the House—passed version of SB 1. This is so important to children with special needs and development delays.

[Center for Public Policy Priorities]

Send to your U.S. Senators

 As the Senate writes the new bill on medical care, please be aware that Austin Independent School District (and all Texas school districts) spend Medicaid dollars on federally mandated services for students.  If you cut Medicaid funding, where will public school districts get the funds to pay for these services?  DO NOT cut Medicaid funding.  Thank you.

 Send to your Texas elected officials 

I oppose Texas’s decision to not expand Medicaid. We have the highest rate of uninsured people in the U.S.—16.8%. One-quarter plus of the people nationally in the coverage gap are in my state, due to our size and failure along with nineteen other states to expand Medicaid. Appalling. We tie with Alabama for the toughest eligibility guidelines for non-disabled adults. Minutes from the Capitol at Trinity and 7th Streets, see the bad results of such policy. Making work a requirement of insurance, as some advocate, denies the mental health obstacles, prison records, and other barriers like prohibitive child care costs that keep people from work. I support providing Medicaid to the poor, and giving them services that help build self-sufficiency.

Short version: More than a quarter of the people nationally in the insurance coverage gap are in Texas because we opted out of Medicaid expansion.  Until we fix this, we will spend inappropriately on emergency room visits, hospital stays, and incarceration that could have been avoided.

[insured source: lower than the 25% is was in 2010, but still highest in the country—source Houston Chronicle, 2016.  Medicaid coverage, healthinsurance.org]

Send to your Texas and national elected officials

I support innovative healthcare policies that facilitate cooperation among health care providers, insurers, government oversight representatives, and health care clients, getting all to work together for the best available outcomes.  Yes, we need health insurance for everyone; only the very rich can afford to self-insure.  We need coverage for pre-existing conditions; otherwise, what’s the point of insurance?  We need coverage of maternity benefits; otherwise how do we expect family life to flourish?  Yes, we need mental health and substance abuse disorder insurance; we are in an addiction epidemic.

Short version:  I support innovative healthcare policies. We need comprehensive health insurance for everyone. Spend tax dollars on preventive and intervention health care rather than having the money all pour into crisis care—far more effective and far less expensive than waiting for the crisis.

 Send to your Texas and national elected officials

I support a woman’s right to choose.  Our founding fathers separated church and state with good reason.  We don’t all believe alike, and that includes people within the faith community as well as outside of it.  One set of people’s beliefs should not push aside many people’s belief that a woman’s reproductive health is her business, not the government’s.

Short version:  I support pro-choice reproductive healthcare policy.  I oppose the government’s setting limits or creating barriers to safe reproductive health care.

 Send to your Texas and national elected officials

I oppose government defunding of Planned Parenthood.  This organization has effectively provided affordable healthcare to women for generations. It provides: reproductive healthcare services, wellness services, contraception services, and cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood abortion services are provided only in some locations and never paid for by the federal government outside of limited situations allowed by Congress—rape and risk of death to the mother, being two allowed exceptions. Without government funding for Planned Parenthood, elected officials create an essential health service gap, once again abandoning poor women and their families. To demonstrate, in recent history Texas de-funded Planned Parenthood, and during that gap period Medicaid births rose 27%; low income women weren’t able to access the health care they needed, beginning with family planning.

Short version:  Defunding Planned Parenthood is bad for women’s and family’s health.I support Planned Parenthood and its ability to deliver essential wellness, screening, and reproductive care essentials affordably. I oppose defunding a proven heath care network to low income women whose absence creates a huge gap, resulting in a rise in unintended pregnancies and other challenges.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT

 Send to Speaker Straus

Re:  Transgender discrimination

I OPPOSE HB 2078, with its amendment that isolates the most vulnerable of the vulnerable—the transgender school children.  While this compromise may satisfy the NCAA and other business interests, I wonder if it will satisfy the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, who has indicated he may move the General Convention of the national church to another state if SB 6 were passed.  Speaker Straus, I understand that you were not a fan of SB 6 and worked to keep HB 2899 from coming out of committee.  I wish there were more pro-business and pro-people legislators like you, and that the religious right/freedom caucus would stop destroying Texas.

Send to Lt. Governor Patrick

I OPPOSE the bills you championed:  SB 2, SB 3 (private schools paid for with public money), and SB 6. I will do my piece of work to undo the destruction the religious right and freedom caucus have inflicted Texas (including destroying much of our vocabulary).  I will persist in encouraging other pro-business and pro-people moderates and progressives to join with me in fulfilling our job of making our voice heard with our votes.  Polls indicate we are in the majority.

Optionally, add an embellishment such as the one below, as applicable

For the record, as a life-long Episcopalian, I do not scoff at religion properly applied—the practice of religion begins with questions, not answers.

Short version:  I oppose all the bills you championed.  I will persist in encouraging other pro-business and pro-people moderates and progressives to join with me in fulfilling our job of making our voice heard with our votes.  Polls indicate we are in the majority.

Send to Texas Representatives Howard and Hinojasa, and Texas Senator Watson

I support you!  Thank you for the work you do to try and keep Texas sane, by promoting forward thinking legislation.  Thank you for resisting legislature that oppresses (SB 2, SB 4, SB 6, and HB 35 being a few examples) both the economy, which is important to us all, and the human spirit, which should be.

Send to Governor Abbott

 I oppose the legislation that you have supported that takes Texas back in time, is punishing to the economy—always the most important issue for us all—and to people—which should matter most, too.  A few examples of this punishing legislation are SB 2, SB 4, SB 6, and HB 35. You and the Lt. Governor are preparing to embroil Texas in lawsuits over SB 4 and SB6/HB 2078.  I object.

Optionally, add an embellishment such as the one below, as applicable

 For the record, as a life-long Episcopalian, I do not scoff at religion properly applied—the practice of religion begins with questions, not answers.

Short version:  I oppose your potentially embroiling Texas in lawsuits over SB 4 and SB 6/HB 2078. I will persist in encouraging other pro-business and pro-people moderates and progressives to join with me in fulfilling our job of making our voice heard with our votes.  Polls indicate we are in the majority.

Send to U.S. Congressman Doggett, if he doesn’t represent you

Thank you for “standing up for what’s right” in Washington.  I keep up with your heroic actions and feel better that you are there working for public interests, rather than self-interests. I appreciate your work to help launch Indivisible.

Send to U.S. Senators Cruz and Cornyn 

I oppose policies that favor the very rich at the expense of everyone else.  I oppose policies that are inhumane. Going forward, I am at work to be part of a groundswell of political engagement that will encourage qualified candidates, interested in serving public interests rather than self-interests, to run for office.

*Some writers will want to add, “And, historically I am a Republican.”  Othersmay find they can say, “I am a moderate, with a history of supporting the candidate I consider best.” Others may say, “I support a two-party system with candidates in both parties serving public interests, not self-interests.

Send to your Texas and national elected officials

There is no evidence that transgender people pose a threat to anyone. I oppose state and national legislation that says otherwise.  I support actions in the spirit of the best of world religion practices and secular ethical practices that support the human rights of all people.  I support transgender people’s right—at great complication to themselves and their families—to change their gender and for that change to be respected by others.  We who have not been there and walked in those shoes can’t know and shouldn’t judge.  Our job is to make space for differences that don’t infringe on others’ safety.

Short version:  I oppose SB 6 in Texas.  I oppose similar discriminatory actions against transgender people at the national level.  I support the human rights and dignity of all.

Send to your Texas and national elected officials

Rosa Maria Ortega of Grand Prairie, Texas—a permanent resident with a green card was sentenced to eight years in prison, because she voted and made a false statement on a registration application, a misdemeanor. Having twice been allowed mistakenly to vote and having served as a poll worker, her circumstance was unusual. It is extremely disheartening to me that we have a Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who, according to The New York Times, March 21, “has applauded Ms. Ortega’s sentence, saying that it ‘shows how serious Texas is about keeping its elections secure.’”  Ms. Ortega is the mother of four children. Before her arrest, she was employed with the state employment office. Her situation now makes her subject to deportation, after serving a prison sentence.  I am opposed to making political statements that damage individuals’ and families’ lives.

IMMIGRATION AND PUBLIC GOOD

 Send to you elected officials in the Texas legislature and the Governor

 Re:  Border Security and Public Education

I oppose continuing to spend $800 million for the state’s border security campaign. Unless we have real facts to demonstrate that all of that $800 million is stopping drug cartel and dangerous criminal penetration, let’s spend a portion of that money to increase investment in public education where it can work for the good of Texas now and in the future.

 Send to Governor Abbott

I agree with this statement from Sunday’s paper: “How we treat our immigrant communities is a direct reflection of all of us as a people.”  I concur with the police chiefs that opposed SB4, which with its implicit racial profiling, makes us less safe, more fearful and potentially angrier.  I continue to be very sad that SB 4 is now scheduled to law in Texas in September. On the plus side, its passage motivates me to stay politically engaged, looking for elected official candidates who champion the interests of all Texans, not just those who have adopted a political posture without fulling thinking through the consequences of that posture.

[Austin American Statesman, May 14, 2017, editorial page] 

Another version for Episcopalians or to be adapted as appropriate to other’s experiences to send to Governor Abbott

 In the Episcopal service, we pray for you every Sunday as part of the Prayers of the People. We pray for the President, the Governor, and the Mayor—by name, regardless of party affiliation.  As part of our Book of Common Prayer (originating in the time of Elizabeth 1), we include a number of prayers for National Life. These prayers compliment the ones in our tradition that concern themselves with needs of the poor, of strangers, and all vulnerable people—the needs that are at the heart of our faith tradition.  Your championing of SB 4 is deeply troubling to me in the context of my faith, but I continue to pray for you.

Send to your Texas elected officials, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators

I agree with this statement from my hometown Sunday’s paper: “How we treat our immigrant communities is a direct reflection of all of us as a people.”

[Austin American Statesman, May 14, 2017, editorial page]

Another version to Texas and U.S. elected officials:

I support coming up with an avenue for hard-working, honest immigrants to become documented.  Our economy needs them.  Yes, gather and punish the serious criminals, but do not harass those who work to make Texas great.  Your legacy can be the documentation avenue—the work of a hero, reflecting back to our nation’s great roots.

Send to your state and national elected officials.

I oppose the Border Wall.  It’s economically wasteful—hugely expensive—yet will still be permeable for drug cartels. The Wall concept infringes on property rights,destroys habitats, presents a bad message to the world, and harms beautiful Big Bend.  I support cost effective public safety policy directed at curbing illegal drug trade and criminal activity, but the Border Wall plan does not represent such a policy.

Short version:  I oppose the Border Wall on economic, ecological, and practical grounds. I support curbing illegal drug trade and criminal activity, but the Wall isn’t the way.

Send to your state and national elected officials

I object to anyone paying for an expanded border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.Among many reasons I object, as Michael Chertoff, who led the Homeland Security Department for four years said in light of possible cuts to the Coast Guard’s budget to help pay for the wall, “It’s a little bit like putting an extra lock on the front doorand none on the back door.  You are not really protecting the house.”

[Source of quote:  New York Times, March 10, page 25]

 Send to your state and national elected officials

 I object to an expanded Border Wall between the U.S. and Mexico.  How would President Trump like a wall in front of Mar-a-Lago, blocking his view of the water? How would he like the “ugly (ugliest)” side facing him? Why don’t we invest in technology to protect the U.S. against drug cartels from the south, as that protection is possible, instead of throwing bricks, steel, concrete and other materials at a hugely expensive, unsightly wall that no matter how long and big will still be penetrable?

Send to your state and national elected officials.

I oppose deporting immigrants who are in the U.S., unless they have committed felonies, something beyond crossing the border to escape a marginal life; many undocumented immigrants in Texas are contributing to community, helping our economy.  I believe families who have come here to make a better life—people who have suffered severe hardship and demonstrated uncommon bravery—should be welcomed. A pathway to legal documentation for immigrants already living here is needed now.  Many are contributing at a variety of levels to the Texas and U.S. economy—often in hard-to-fill jobs in the service, construction, hospitality, and agricultural sectors.

Short version:  I support a pathway to legal documentation for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. This policy helps immigrants and our economy. Brave, motivated people make good community members.

Send to your Texas and national elected officials.

I support Congress continuing to make sufficient H-1B Visas available to talented, trained people around the world needed in the U.S. to fill high skilled positions. This action allows innovative companies based in the U.S.—a number operating in Texas—to presently hire 85,000 international workers annually. I understand that salary scale, as well as skill assets, may draw companies to internationally based workers; as long as human rights aren’t violated, seeking top employees for competitive pay is part of the free enterprise system. I support a Federal Audit in conjunction with this Visa program, if that’s needed to monitor whether public safety standards are being met by the application process,

Short version:  As a citizen of the United States and the world, I support H-1B Visas,  which presently allow 85,000 internationally based citizens, vetted through an application process, the right to work in the United States in jobs that require their high-level skills.

Send to your Texas and national elected officials

I oppose any immigration bans or limiting of refugees that are based on country of origin.  I support application systems that verify people’s records no matter where they are from, understanding that verification for countries under siege will have its limits. Yes, sometimes an immigrant will be a violent criminal; way more often, violent criminals in our country are U.S. born.  Immigration, on balance, is good for our country. It brings brave innovators to the U.S. It allows the U.S. to participate in rightful action, helping people around the world in dire situations.

Short version:  I oppose any immigration bans that restrict any nation’s people. I support welcoming people from around the world and making it possible for them to contribute positively to the economic and civic life of our communities.

Send to your Texas and national elected officials 

I support the United States, along with other world leaders, assuming responsibility for collaborative immigration assistance for people fleeing countries where their lives are at risk.   I oppose states imposing their own exceptions to welcoming refugees received by the United States.

Send to your members of the Texas legislature, the governor, your U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senators, and the President

Re:  Public Safety is Harmed by elevated ICE action, not Helped

 I support meaningful sanctuary city status for communities that are willing to take a stand against racist fearmongering. I oppose SB 4 in Texas. I oppose ICE sweeps anywhere that target anyone other than serious criminal suspects. Such sweeps divert public money to actions that are harming families, making people terrified, and stirring the waters of xenophobia.

PUBLIC EDUCATION

 Send to your elected officials in the Texas legislature and the Governor

  Re:  Public Education, no public money in private schools

 The Senate version of HB 21 is a voucher bill and not a school finance bill, undoing the many positives that the House Version HB 21 included.  I thank the senators who opposed this irresponsible voucher program.  I thank the representatives who fought to reform school finance and keep public money from flowing to private schools.  I will persist in encouraging other pro-business and pro-people moderates and progressives to join with me in fulfilling our job of making our voice heard with our votes.  Polls indicate we are in the majority.

Short version:  The Senate version of HB 21 is a voucher bill and not a school finance bill, undoing the many positives that the House Version HB 21 included.  I thank the senators who opposed this irresponsible voucher program.  I thank the representatives who fought to reform school finance and keep public money from flowing to private schools.  I oppose the position of those who wanted vouchers and didn’t work to create finance reform.

[Center for Public Priorities posting, May 22, 2017]

Send to your elected officials in the Texas legislature and the Governor

Re:  Pre-Kindergarten

Yes, a strong Pre-Kindergarten program is important to the economic future and people of Texas.  No, it doesn’t mean much, if the money for that program is taken from other school programs, rather than being an added resource.  Thank you to those who would add resources to our public-school system.  Those who would divert public money to private schools do not have my vote.

[Center for Public Priorities posting, May 22, 2017]

 Send to your Texas and national elected officials

 Re:  Public Education, no public money in private schools

 I oppose spending public money for private schools.  Quality public education depends on a proper level of investment, ingenuity, and accountability.  Within the framework of a quality public education system, there is ample room for appropriate flexibility to allow for learning differences and realities.  I support a strong public education system, beginning early, that gives all people in the U.S. an opportunity to prosper.

Short version:   I oppose spending public money for private schools.  I support quality public education, beginning early, that makes it possible for everyone to have an opportunity to prosper.

 Send to your Texas and national elected officials

 Re:  Public Education, the economic future of our state and country

 I support full funding for quality public schools, as the leading way to lift the school-age population (50% of the total!) on the reduced or free-lunch program out of poverty and into economic prosperity. We need to equip all youth with quality educations, using proper investment, ingenuity, and accountability. I support quality public education, beginning early, that makes it possible for everyone—regardless of their economic starting point—to have an opportunity to prosper.

Short version:   I support full funding for quality public schools, as the leading way to lift the school-age population (50% of the total!) on the reduced or free-lunch program out of poverty and into economic prosperity.  I support quality public education, beginning early, that makes it possible for everyone-regardless of their economic starting point- to have an opportunity to prosper.

[50% of the total source: 2015 study reported in The New York Times]k

 Send to your Texas and national elected officials

 Re:  Higher Education and its economic importance

 I support full funding for higher education in Texas. Because Texas has emphasized the importance of major public research universities, the state has been able to draw major employers with an interest in talented pools of employees, quality of life factors required to retain such employees, and research support to sustain the companies’ competitive positions. I oppose cuts in funding to higher education in Texas.

PRESIDENTIAL COMPORTMENT

 Send to the President

I am concerned about your claim, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally.  I am concerned about your erratic communication style. In our tinderbox world, with the potential of North Korean nuclear attack, erratic communication does not serve the American people well.  The truth always matters.  I’m proud that my alma mater, The University of Texas, has engraved on its main building, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

Send to your U.S. elected officials and those Republicans from other districts who are likely to be sympathetic (McCain, Collins, Graham, and perhaps others):

I am concerned that President Trump has potentially made a major breach of espionage etiquette by sharing information with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the United States without the express permission of the ally who provided said information. I believe The New York Times when it says such an act “could jeopardize a crucial intelligence-sharing relationship.”  Please take appropriate action.

[information as reported on the New York Times front page, May 16, 2017]

RAINY DAY FUND

 Send to your elected officials in the Texas legislature and the Governor

 I supported Speaker Straus’s proposal to spend $2.5 billion from the Rainy Day Fund—the Economic Stabilization Fund—for the state’s upcoming two year budget.  Oil and Gas revenues to the state dipped before this legislative session; as we have seen, those revenues will rise again.  Meanwhile, we need to keep funding essential services that fuel economic participation for all in community life—things like public education at all levels.  We need to keep funding essential services that keep our state out of crisis.  We need to keep funding enrichment opportunities that make Texas a draw for outstanding employers.  I oppose being short-sighted and failing to use this resource—a resource designed for this express purpose—economic stabilization.  I oppose “endowing” the fund—it ties up stabilization money needlessly.

Short version:  I supported the spending $2.5 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for the state’s upcoming two year budget.  I oppose being short-sighted and underfunding services needed to keep Texas economically competitive. 

TAXES

 Send to your elected officials in the Texas legislature and the Governor

Re:  Franchise or Margins tax

 SB 17, the new version of HB 28, impacts an estimated $8 billion of revenue every two-year budget cycle. This tax is the third-largest source of state revenue.  I oppose the political divide that makes one party the tax party and the other party the tax-free party.  Instead, we need two parties that understand tax cuts do not pay for themselves through increased economic growth and that work together to fix tax structures, not eliminate them.  The people of Texas need the state to have revenues to pay for the services we require in order to have a healthy community infra-structure.  That’s good business sense.

short version: I oppose SB 17, the new version of HB 28. The state can’t afford to eliminate or reduce a major revenue source—the franchise or margins tax which accounts for 1/3rd of the state revenue—without a plan to replace that revenue.

[Austin American-Statesman, Business section starting page 1, May 20, 2017]

Send to your elected officials in the Texas legislature and the Governor

 Re:  Local Property Tax Assessment Cap SB 2

I oppose SB 2. The state should not impose local property tax assessment cap.  I support decisions about local taxes being left to municipalities that have the best knowledge of their particular needs. At the same time, I don’t believe many of us are brave enough to vote to increase our taxes—thus the problem with SB 2, requiring that to expand the cap.  Some needs, like education, if underfunded, result in economic fallout.  Other needs, like community healthcare or public safety personnel, if underfunded, create crisis.  SB 2 sets up both significant difficulties.

Short version:  I oppose SB 2.  I support decisions about local taxes being made locally, in a realistic manner.

 Send to your elected Texas officials

Re: Tax Overhaul and Fiscal Policy—Local

 I support overhauling school finance and other areas of fiscal policy that hold Texas back.  Unless the legislature does the hard work to correct the problems with school finance, the children of Texas will not have the option of public schools that prepare them to take competitive places in the Texas economy. Quality public education is key to attracting and retaining major employers. Unless the legislature does hard work to correct regressive inequities in the tax code, the people who struggle economically—the large majority of Texans—will be held back and quality employers will look elsewhere for talent.  I oppose putting off financial corrections that are needed now.

Short version:  I support the overhaul of school finance.  This work would best be done in conjunction with a complete review of fiscal policy.  I oppose bad fiscal policies that don’t invest sufficiently in the right solutions for the long-term. This lack of foresight hurts all Texans.

Send to your elected national officials

Re: Tax Overhaul, Home Mortgage Interest—National

 I oppose eliminating home mortgage interest deductions from the tax code.  Mortgage interest deductions help the middle class and encourage asset accumulation in home equity for those who might not otherwise have success saving sufficiently for retirement.

Short version: I support continuing to allow people to deduct home mortgage interest, an important tax feature for the middle class and aspirant middle-class.

 Send to your national elected officials

Re: Tax Overhaul, Charitable Deductions—National

 I oppose eliminating or cutting back charitable deductions from the tax code.  Many individuals who give generously would have to cut back gifts which provide essential services to communities through non-profits.  Poor people would be hurt if giving is cut back. All of us would be hurt.  I support efforts to do more for people in need effectively. Individual charitable donations are an important avenue of help to many, as are government housing and community block development programs.

Short version:  I oppose eliminating or cutting back charitable donations from the tax code.  I support providing help to communities through personal charitable giving and through helpful government programs.

 Send to your national elected officials

Re: Tax Overhaul and Fiscal Policy—National

I oppose any proposed changes to the tax code that provide further favor to the already very rich. It benefits a few with very big voices. Nor, have I seen evidence that tax policies that benefit the very rich at the expense of everyone else create economic stimulus. I support changes to the tax code and to spending policies that sufficiently fund important community needs—environment, quality public education, health and mental health, housing access, and social security—while keeping the economy growing and reasonably minimizing national debt.

Short version: I oppose any proposed changes to the tax code that favor the already very rich.  I support charging enough taxes, proportionately distributed, to cover important community needs—environment, education, health, housing access, public safety, and social security, while keeping the economy growing and reasonably minimizing national debt.

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