Job descriptionThere are 31 senators in the Texas Senate, the upper chamber of the Texas state legislature. Term is four years.
DutiesWrites 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

Who’s Running?

Gwenn Burud

https://burudfortexas.com/
FB: Burud4Texas/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BurudForTexas
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gwenn-burud-82b899154/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/burudfortexas/
Phone: 817-607-3965
Email: Gwenn@burudfortexas.com
Democrat
Kelly Hancock (incumbent)

http://www.kellyhancock.com
FB: TexansForKellyHancock/
Twitter: @KHancock4TX
Republican

Candidate Q&A

Note: Answers to questions will appear as they are received from the candidates.

1. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND? WHAT EXPERIENCES DO YOU HAVE THAT MAKE YOU THE BEST CANDIDATE?
Gwenn Burud Answer:
I have been a deaf education teacher for the past 12 years. Prior to transitioning to teaching, I was an educational sign language interpreter. I earned my associates degree in Sign Language Interpreting from Tarrant County College; I earned my bachelor’s degree from Texas Women’s University, where I also earned my masters in Deaf Education. I have worked closely with children for the last 25 years, and have seen first hand how the funding formulas for public schools have impacted educators, teachers, and students. My position as a mother to three boys also allows me to see the struggles that families have with health insurance coverage and premiums while they are trying to cover special needs for their children.

As your voice for Texas Senate District 9, I promise to fight for your interests, to stand against money in politics, and to work tirelessly to provide our community with the better outcomes we expect from the great state of Texas.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
2. WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR CAMPAIGN DONATIONS COMES FROM INDIVIDUALS? WHAT PERCENTAGE COMES FROM PACs?
Gwenn Burud Answer:
My campaign donations have come from individuals. 0% has come from corporate PACs. The Citizens United decision has created an imbalance in politics where those with the most money are given the most voice – Texas can create a different election finance regime than the federal government. The reason that we haven’t is because the Republican lawmakers in power have been receiving staggering sums of money from groups around the country who shouldn’t be involved in Texas politics.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
3. IF ELECTED, WHAT IS THE FIRST PIECE OF LEGISLATION YOU WOULD PROPOSE?
Gwenn Burud Answer:
I would propose legislation that the governor be forced to accept the Medicaid expansion package, offered under the Affordable Care Act so that Texans can begin to reap the rewards of their tax dollars and get access to the care partisan politics has denied them. Medicaid expansion would make the biggest difference to low-income adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma. Allowing our state to take advantage of Medicaid expansion would also help bring more psychiatrists to Texas – we are currently 5,000 short to meet the existing need of Texans.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
4. WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON VOTING LAWS? PLEASE ADDRESS WHAT IDENTIFICATION SHOULD BE REQUIRED FOR REGISTERED VOTERS AT THEIR POLLING PLACES, WHETHER YOU SUPPORT ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION, AND WHAT TIME RESTRICTIONS SHOULD BE PLACED ON VOTER REGISTRATION.
Gwenn Burud Answer:
I believe that most current voting laws are veiled excuses to prevent people of color and those with low incomes from voting. The increased restrictions on voter identification have not served their purpose of reducing “voter fraud”, which amounts to a very small number. Instead, these restrictions have disenfranchised thousands of Texans. I fully support online voter registration, especially with the current push by Republican lawmakers to purge the voter rolls. The current deadline for voter registration is one month prior to Election Day – I believe it should be much shorter.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
5. DESCRIBE YOUR POSITION ON STATE FUNDING FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION. ADDRESS ISSUES SUCH AS THE PROPORTION OF STATE FUNDS TO LOCAL DISTRICT FUNDS AND WHETHER STATE FUNDS SHOULD BE USED TO SUPPORT CHARTER AND/OR PRIVATE SCHOOLS.
Gwenn Burud Answer:
We need to restore the state funding ratios that were present prior to the 2011 cuts – where the State funded over 50% of the cost of educating our students. The current projections of the State to only fund 37% of our education costs is a reflection of the Republican legislature’s plans to borrow from our future to fund their current initiatives to keep their supporters happy. State funds should not be used to fund charter and/or private schools if it means those funds are diverted from public education. To cut funds to a school that needs improvement is giving up on public education – the teachers are committed, the principals are committed, and the children are committed. The ones with the least at stake, the lawmakers, are the ones that are willing to sacrifice the school for a political win.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
6. DESCRIBE YOUR POSITION ON WHAT ROLE STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES SHOULD PLAY IN FEDERAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT; ADDRESS ISSUES SUCH AS SB4, PASSED BY THE 2017 STATE LEGISLATURE.
Gwenn Burud Answer:
The State should be horrified that we have allowed family separations to occur within our borders because of our legacy of private prisons. Even though some were shut down by the DOJ, the private prisons were able to renew their contracts with ICE, and attempted in our last session to become housing centers for children. Kelly Hancock voted for this conversion, even though it didn’t pass. Just because the State is not in charge of immigration, does not mean that we have to allow these injustices within our borders. SB4 has not reduced illegal immigration, but instead has driven crime underground and has stopped the reporting of crime by populations of color.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
7. DESCRIBE YOUR POSITION ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE, WITH PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO JUDICIAL DISCRETION AND THE SENTENCING OF NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS.
Gwenn Burud Answer:
Criminal justice needs to be reformed, especially in its treatment of people of color and those with mental health issues. The use of mandatory minimums as a deterrent has not worked – instead, we have taken our judges out of the process of determining appropriate sentences and created a system that treats individuals as incapable of remorse or reform. I support legalization of marijuana precisely because of the disparate impact that these laws have on people of color and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The incarceration of non-violent offenders has been proven to harden them into violent criminals – we should focus on returning people to society instead of keeping them locked away forever. Removing private prisons would take the profit incentive for repeat offenders out of consideration for our prison system.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
8. DESCRIBE YOUR POSITION ON HOW THE STATE CAN BEST PROVIDE FOR FUTURE ENERGY NEEDS. PLEASE ADDRESS WHAT RESPONSIBILITY THE STATE HAS TO PROMOTE DIFFERENT TYPES/SOURCES OF ENERGY AND WHAT RELATIONSHIP THE STATE SHOULD HAVE WITH THE ENERGY INDUSTRY.
Gwenn Burud Answer:
Texas is in a unique position to be at the forefront of renewable energy creation. We have the ability to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through solar and wind energy capture, but the current tax incentives to the oil and gas industry make it uneconomic. Although Texas has seen economic benefit from the oil and gas industry, we need to be sure that we are considering our long-term future as well as our short term profit. Clean energy jobs are less dangerous than oil work, clean energy jobs do not create the pollution and waste that we see in oil and gas operations, and clean energy provides a safer future for our children.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
9. WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE FEDERAL REGULATION OF FIREARMS UNDER THE SECOND AMENDMENT? WHAT RESTRICTIONS SHOULD BE PLACED ON THE SALE AND OWNERSHIP OF FIREARMS, INCLUDING WHERE FIREARMS ARE PERMITTED?
Gwenn Burud Answer:
I know that for many Texans, the right to own a gun is extremely important. I believe that responsible gun owners also recognize that there are some people who should not have access to deadly weapons. Like the overwhelming majority of Texans, I support universal background checks for all gun buyers. Furthermore, I would propose a “red flag” law that would hinder someone’s ability to purchase a weapon if it seemed that person was going to do harm to themselves or others. Unlike the “no fly” list, this would be subject to due process and would be a temporary hold – not a permanent ban. Responsible gun ownership also means keeping guns away from children – I believe we should strengthen our gun storage rules to help prevent needless tragedies.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
10. DESCRIBE YOUR POSITION ON THE STATE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR HEALTHCARE PROVISION, WITH PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND WHETHER TEXAS SHOULD ACCEPT FEDERAL FUNDS TO EXPAND ITS MEDICAID PROGRAMS.
Gwenn Burud Answer:
As I stated earlier, Texas has a responsibility to accept the Medicaid expansion. There is an ever growing group of Texans who do not have health insurance – they forego preventive care and end up needing more severe medical interventions. The reduction in local clinics due to lower Medicaid reimbursements is putting more pressure on emergency rooms to provide routine medical care instead of emergency services. Texas has a growing population, and we need the federal dollars to be sure that all Texans are cared for.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
11. WHAT LEGAL RESTRICTIONS SHOULD BE REQUIRED ON ABORTIONS?
Gwenn Burud Answer:
Rather than focusing on abortion restrictions, I believe the State should be focusing on providing health care to women, regardless of whether they are pregnant. The maternal mortality rate in the State shows that the lack of access to routine medical care means that women are more likely to die from preventable conditions while they are pregnant or after giving birth. The focus on preventing abortion has driven up the death toll of women who want to have children – if the goal is healthy children, we must start with healthy mothers.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
12. DO YOU BELIEVE MARIJUANA SHOULD BE LEGAL UNDER STATE LAW? ADDRESS ISSUES SUCH AS MEDICAL AND RECREATIONAL USE.
Gwenn Burud Answer:
Absolutely. The medical benefits are still being researched, but there are many who have received relief from chemotherapy, epilepsy, and other conditions from approved medical sources. Recreational marijuana creates an economic opportunity for our state – we could be bringing in around half a billion dollars each year to help fix our budget shortfalls on infrastructure and education. Texas should be leading the way on marijuana legalization instead of clinging to its racist underpinnings as a justification for the continued incarceration of people of color.
Kelly Hancock Answer:
RECENT NEWS ARTICLES“DFW-area candidates address questions related to public education…,” Community Impact Newspaper (Oct 4, 2018)
https://communityimpact.com/dallas-fort-worth/grapevine-colleyville-southlake/city-county/2018/10/04/candidates-address-questions-related-to-public-education-funding-ahead-of-nov-6-election/