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Pol. Adv. paid for by James Talarico Campaign

ISSUES

Strengthen Public Schools

As a former teacher, I’m deeply committed to fixing our state’s broken school finance system by increasing education funding levels, revamping outdated funding formulas, and reworking our recapture system (or “Robin Hood”) to be more equitable. That means smaller classroom sizes with cutting-edge technology, a more inclusive school environment with strengthened anti-bullying programs, increased teacher pay, and a better future for our kids.

 

Lower Property Taxes

The main driver of rising property taxes is our broken school finance system. Our state government and local school district used to split the cost of public schools down evenly, 50-50. But, over the last decade, the state government has dropped their share from half to barely 30%. Because the Legislature doesn’t pay its fair share of school funding, local districts are left to pick up the tab, raising our property taxes year after year. I’ll make sure the state government pays its fair share of school funding, meaning lower property taxes for all of us.

 

Protect Retirees

Rising cost-of-living expenses have made it more difficult than ever to become a public employee. For teachers, police officers, first-responders, and other public servants, we need to strengthen defined benefit plans and ensure affordable health insurance.

 

Economy and Jobs

Growing the Texas economy while keeping living expenses down will require a much more responsible approach to spending. The Legislature has slashed funding for healthcare, education, and other necessary programs while still running billion dollar deficits, instead choosing to dump money into massive tax incentives for corporations. I’ll support keeping holding our government accountable and working towards a more balanced budget and lower deficits.

 

But, a better economy isn’t enough - we also need a fairer economy too. To make Texas more equitable, I’ll support increasing the state minimum wage and ensure equal pay for equal work for all Texans.

 

Local Control

Last session, state leaders tried to overrule local communities on a variety of issues from tree ordinances to property tax rollbacks, and from regulating bathrooms to sanctuary cities. I believe we should be listening to local city council members, activists, and police chiefs about what their own communities need, rather than legislators from hundreds of miles away.

 

Healthcare

Healthcare should be affordable for every Texan. The best way to reduce our state’s high uninsured rate is by expanding Medicaid, but the Texas Legislature refuses to accept billions of our own federal tax dollars available to expand health coverage. That’s putting politics over people. Additionally, we need to vastly expand preventative care, meaning ensuring yearly check-ups and basic health needs are affordable even for poorer communities.

 

Traffic Solutions and Infrastructure

Texas needs to invest in the infrastructure necessary to reduce traffic without relying on tolls. Our outdated roads and highways threaten to slow growth and make commuting to work take longer and longer. It’s time the Legislature take seriously the idea of a high-speed rail system and robust public transportation systems in urban and suburban areas, and work to rebuild Texas’ vast network of highways, toll-free.

 

Reform Criminal Justice

We must reform our criminal justice system by legalizing marijuana, reforming bail bonds, divesting from privately-owned prisons, and promoting community policing initiatives to build trust between police officers and the neighborhoods they serve.

 

Gun Safety

Texans agree we need to make our schools safer through common-sense gun safety measures and greater mental health resources. This means ensuring universal background checks and restricting gun purchases for people convicted of felonies or violent misdemeanors. In addition, mental health care must be accessible and affordable for every Texan, especially our students. We should pursue these responsible solutions, not arm our teachers or militarize our schools.

 

Women’s Rights

Women’s health is an issue that impacts all of us. Addressing our state’s skyrocketing maternal mortality rate requires long-term investments in preventative care for all women. While the Texas Legislature insists on dictating their radical ideology, I trust Texas women to make their own health care decisions. I want to find common-ground with Republican lawmakers to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies through scientifically valid sex education and accessible contraception.

 

Social Justice

I will support the dignity and civil rights of everyone in Williamson County, including people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and Muslim Americans. I will firmly oppose any attempts by the Legislature to discriminate against Texans, whether it’s regulating bathrooms or restricting civil protections in the workplace.

 

Immigration

I believe immigrants are invaluable members of our communities. Regardless of party affiliation, we can all agree that the treatment of children at the Texas-Mexico border has been inhumane and indefensible. I support reuniting families, empowering our DREAMers, ending indefinite detention, and repealing Senate Bill 4 (the “Show Me Your Papers” bill) that passed last session.

 

Voting Rights

Our right to vote is sacred. I support online voter registration, expanded early voting periods, and a repeal of voter ID laws that needlessly make voting harder. Voting is right passed down by our founders and our forebears, and I will support any effort to make it easier for Texans.

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