|Job description||There are 31 senators in the Texas Senate, the upper chamber of the Texas state legislature. Term is four years.|
|Duties||Writes and votes on state laws.
Proposes state constitutional amendments that are voted on by statewide ballot.
Votes to uphold or overturn a Governor’s veto.
The Senate can hold impeachment trials against statewide office holders.
|Annual salary||$7,200/yr; $190/day when legislature in session|
|Konni Burton (incumbent)|
Note: Candidate answers are shown alphabetically by last name.
What is your current occupation? Educational background? What experiences do you have that make you the best candidate for Governor?
Beverly Powell: Occupation: Real Estate Education: Texas Wesleyan, BS Texas Wesleyan, MBA
Experiences: I have a long record of public service that has prepared me to run a race for State Senate based on my experience giving back to the community. For the past ten years I served on the Burleson School Board, including two years as President of the Board. Since being elected to the Burleson School Board, teacher pay, graduation rates and advanced placement of students are all up. For seventeen years I have served on the Texas Wesleyan Board of Trustees, and for the past three years I have been Chair of the Board. At Wesleyan I was selected to the negotiation team for the sale of the law school to Texas A&M and have been led the board during a time of aggressive economic investment in the SE Fort Worth community that Texas Wesleyan calls home. I have also served on the Burleson Opportunity Fund Board of Directors, a fund that has raised $1.2 million for college scholarships for 900 Burleson graduates.
What percentage of your campaign donations comes from individuals? What percentage comes from PACs?
Beverly Powell: 2% of the total donations have come from Labor and progressive PACs. 30% of our total raised has come from Labor and progressive PACs.
If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation that you would propose?
Beverly Powell: I would propose working with local officials and the business community to replicate what have we done with the Burleson Opportunity Fund across the state of Texas. In Burleson we have worked with corporate donors, community organizations and local government economic inventive funds to raise over $1.2 million in college scholarships for graduates. Over 900 students have received a scholarship, and not once have we denied an eligible applicant. I would propose that Texas dedicates economic incentive funding to a program also financially supported by the business community and philanthropic donors to take our Opportunity Fund model into other regions of the state. We can make debt free college an option for every Texas college student without raising taxes or paying for the entire program with government funds.
SB4, the sanctuary cities law, is currently law in Texas but is under review in the courts. How do you plan to deal with this complex issue?
Beverly Powell: I opposed SB4, and I still do, because I care deeply about the safety, security and well being of our state. Our first job as a state is to make sure Texas families are safe. Local law enforcement leaders across our state made clear SB4 would endanger public safety. The police chiefs of Fort Worth and Arlington signaled that they strongly opposed SB4 when they joined with police chiefs of numerous other large cities across Texas in signing a letter urging lawmakers to rethink the flawed bill. Unfortunately, lawmakers in Austin closed the door on our law enforcement leaders and put a narrow ideology ahead of the safety of Texas families.
Our communities are safer, they are stronger and they reflect our moral values when we bring citizens together rather than tear them apart. SB4 tears Texas families apart, hurts our economy and makes Texans less safe. It’s time to replace this flawed law.
Over half of the average property tax bill goes towards funding our public schools, which are already suffering from budget shortfalls. How do you plan to address property tax relief vs. school funding?
Beverly Powell: The state’s share of funding for public education is at a 20 year low. Yet as a state, we continue to add an additional 1,000 residents every day. The math simply doesn’t add up. If we do not invest in our schools, we will have overcrowded classrooms, facilities that can not handle the population growth and teachers who are even more overworked and underpaid. This is not a recipe for success. The state of Texas must find ways to strategically increase our state’s share of education funding, thus reducing the property tax burden placed on Texas homeowners. We must also strategically use economic development programs to stimulate local economies. A line by line analysis of the state budget is desperately needed as there is not a greater investment we can make than in Texas’ children.
Should Texas participate in the Medicaid expansion system and why?
Beverly Powell: The easiest way to reform healthcare in Texas would be to expand Medicaid. We as a state are leaving billions of dollars on the table by not joining state’s where Republican governors have expanded Medicaid. The expansion of Medicaid will make access to health care a reality of healthcare for nearly 100,000 people in Tarrant County alone.
I believe that the state of Texas is leaving billions of dollars on the table by not expanding Medicaid. By expanding Medicaid and ending the assault on women’s health, we can begin to address the maternal mortality rate in Texas. By expanding Medicaid alone, Tarrant County would see over $300 million dollars annually in new funds to over an additional 97,000 residents.
In recent years, scores of women’s health clinics have been closed throughout the state, resulting in millions of Texans lacking access to health care and a shamefully high maternal mortality rate. How would you address the problem of access to healthcare that now confronts Texans, especially women?
Beverly Powell: Recent reports of Texas’ rising maternal mortality rate are unacceptable. I know first-hand that prioritizing good care for mothers, for all women, and for the state’s children is crucial to the health of the family and of Texas. I will focus my attention on expanding access to quality healthcare for all Texans, including our underserved populations–care focused on prevention, education and treatment. I will oppose efforts to close women’s health care clinics so women in every region of the state have access to quality, affordable health care.