We have a sovereign duty to protect our citizens, not only physically but fiscally as well. Illegal immigration puts both of these at risk. We are a country that is guided by the rule of law, and out of control illegal immigration makes a mockery of this principle. Furthermore, the financial strain that illegal immigrants place on our society and governmental service is staggering. We must use all means necessary to secure the Texas border and end the incentives that encourage illegal behavior. To that end, I was proud to pass bills in 2015 and 2017 allocating $800 million to border security efforts, and passed a bill to ban sanctuary cities in Texas.
We do not have a revenue problem in Texas – we have a spending priority problem. I believe we must set priorities and make tough decisions by distinguishing “best” from “good”. We must use our revenues for best and be willing to eliminate – not just reduce – those things that are just good. This is how Texas families and businesses manage their finances, and our state government should do the same.
As a successful businessman, I know that it’s the private sector – not government – that creates jobs and economic opportunity. Government, while necessary, is a net “taker” from society. Our founders understood that well and severely limited the role of government in our daily lives.
The role of government is to create an environment where entrepreneurs, business owners and Texas citizens are free to chase their dreams, launch a business, and secure their family’s economic future. Government should avoid policies that have a negative effect on increased goods and/or services sold by the private sector. Frivolous lawsuits, unnecessary regulations, and government bureaucracy drive up the cost of doing business in the state, increase costs to our citizens, and ultimately are a drag on jobs and our economy.
Life begins at conception and I will defend that knowledge with my last breath. I believe that all citizens of Texas, both born and unborn, should have the same rights under our laws. Texas has long been a pro-life state, but we must remain ever diligent and continue to promote a culture of life. I also strongly believe it is important to provide abortion alternatives for those facing unplanned pregnancies. My wife Lisa and I have been longtime supporters of groups such as the Dallas Crisis Pregnancy Center, Prestonwood Crisis Pregnancy Center, and the LifeSavers Foundation, where Lisa serves on the Board of Directors. Throughout my tenure as State Representative, I have voted for and passed a number of pro-life bills to protect the unborn.
Supporting and improving our public education system is a priority to me. Both of my parents were school teachers, and in fact my 81-year-old father just retired from being a High School Band Director last year! My wife Lisa has been a public school teacher as well.
I strongly support public education, but our current system of financing schools is broken and cannot be sustained. The challenge is finding a more efficient way to spend the dollars currently provided but even before the money, it all starts with agreeing on a definition of what a “quality education” is for our children. Without a good definition of quality education then we will never even know the goal to shoot for much less obtain that goal. We have spent decades and billions upon billions of dollars on our education system with, at best, minimally improved results. We must determine the difference between the “best” uses of money in our education budget from the “good” uses of the funds and we must eliminate the good and focus only on the best.
One of my key guiding principles in the area of education is that parents – not government or any kind of education bureaucracy – should have the final say in the education of their children. At the end of the day the ultimate leverage needs to be placed in the hands of the families.
Texas has an outstanding system of higher education, which provides a wide range of education options to citizens. However, Texas parents and students have seen a dramatic increase in college tuition rates over the past several years. To ensure that college remains an affordable option for our students, we need greater transparency and accountability in our higher education system.
Faith has been a part of the public arena for thousands of years. It is only in recent history of the last 50 to 75 years that secularism has “shouted” its way to the forefront of our media and therefore our society. Faith in both arenas, public and private, should be protected. We have never come close to having a state sponsored church or religion and none of us with faith want such. We want the ability to practice our faith without fear of reprisal, persecution or tyrannical intervention by our government. I co-sponsored a bill in 2015 that protects pastors from performing marriage services that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
My family, traced back through my paternal grandmother, came to this country in the 1620s. Like many others, they had three main objectives for their lives in the new world – religious freedom, economic opportunity, and protection of property. Protecting private property is at the core of who we are as a nation and is written about in many of our country’s early governing documents. This right is absolute and must be protected from not only other citizens but foremost protected from our own government!