The County Clerk's role is an exciting position to allow me to tackle issues directly related to how many constituents interact with their government, and I'm very excited about those opportunities. However, that doesn't mean that I don't have thoughts and opinions on a more national level as well, check out my stances and ideas for County Clerk under "Issues" and my more national stances here.
I will continue to fight for Medicare for all, as I believe it is the best solution for elevating stress on the VA systems for vets and enabling small businesses to be able to hire workers that they previously had no access to due to lack of being able to offer health insurance. Our current system allows people to suffer, siphoning years off the lives of not only our most vulnerable but increasing the reduction of the middle class, due to the financial hardships that medical issues can cause, even for insured individuals.
Everyone should be worried about the impact that our current higher education situation is having on your younger generations. I personally left College without a degree and over $30,000 in debt, while I have been able to use the knowledge gained in college and further my skill set in the workforce, I also appreciate that many people can not get to where I'm at today without either a college degree, or skilled training in their field. I was fortunate enough to enter my field at a time when on the job training mattered more than a degree, but I know that as automation continues to encroach on manual tasks, the job market's requirements for other entry-level jobs will have to become more competitive. We are a wealthy enough country to educate our citizens through trade school or college for free if we only close a few small tax loopholes. Educated and skilled individuals are only for the betterment of our communities.
I would also like to initiate programs to help students have a more hands-on exposure to their county government. We’ve already seen interest in a program to have the County Court travel from High School to High School to do a kind of Court Roadshow, that would not only enable a more practical exposure to a student’s county government, but would also increase access to the court for individuals that might not be able to make it to Georgetown to witness court, or speak in front of it. As recorder of that Court, I would be proactively working to enable the court to be able to do this. I am also hoping to establish a wide internship program, both during the normal school year, and summer programs to allow students to learn common office skills and also gain a higher understanding of the inner workings of the County Clerk’s office. This is something that I hope other elected officials will start making part of their practices.
Looking at the county budget for this year, it seems like the County Clerk’s office is already paying their employees at least $15 an hour, I will be verifying that that is true upon entering the office and making sure that we maintain that, or improve it as a high priority. I will also continue to use my voice to champion this issue to elected officials that will have a more direct influence on this for our county and our State. Pressing this issue at the party level, and holding our elected Democrats to the platform in regards to this is going to be an uphill fight, as we have to balance this need against the needs of a small business. While if a $15 an hour wage breaks the system, it should be allowed to break, we should also encourage small businesses by supporting them with Medicare for All as well as increasing our grant and loan guarantor opportunities for small businesses in our county. This is especially important as large businesses look north of Austin for space.
As County Clerk, I will be encouraging my employees to consider joining AFSCME and establishing a chapter to better allow them to organize and work together to ensure that they are taken care of so that they can better serve our county. I strongly believe that employees who wish to organize should be allowed and encouraged to do so. As to repealing right-to-work and more statewide type issues along this line, I will continue to champion these issues as an informed voice to elected officials who can and to continue to push that these issues be promoted in the party’s platform. “Right to work” is such a misleading title for laws that limit worker’s abilities to be enabled to work, and we should be concentrating our tax breaks for those who need a break, not those who are independently wealthy.
While as County Clerk I would not have direct influence over this issue, I will strive to be a strong voice on this issue to elected officials that do. Women’s rights are human rights. Companies that seek to prevent a woman from her rights through the use of misinformation and stalling are reprehensible and there is no way, in my mind to justify their actions or defend them as ethical in any way. While I believe that some people involved in this process, really do believe that they are doing the right thing, it breaks my heart to think of the young women whose lives are so adversely impacted by these practices and who are left to deal with the consequences of being misled and having precious time wasted in such a malicious manner. Having an abortion is one of the hardest decisions that a woman has to make, and getting between her and her own autonomy should not be a defendable position of any entity.
In Williamson County, the Election’s Office is run by an Elections Administrator who is appointed by the County Court. While I would not have direct influence over voting in the county, I will work closely with the Elections Administrator to make sure that we are reaching out to registered voters to proactively encourage them to come out and vote in every election they are eligible for. I will also make sure that I’m using my voice to champion for this issue at the State level. Texas should be automatically registering our voters at the DMV, we should be enabling online registration, and we should open our mail-in voting options to every voter.
I support policies designed to make sure that when a person reports misconduct or abuse that there are immediate protective responses put into place, and an investigation is executed in a manner that does not seek to blame the victim, only get down to the facts of what happened so that appropriate steps can be taken. More training is needed, as well as more transparency when funds are paid to victims with taxpayer dollars, voters should know when their elected representatives settle in such a fashion.
I can say that as an administrator that I would have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct among any of my staff members. I would also personally champion these initiatives at the county and state level. It is beyond time that these issues of sexual misconduct be handled appropriately. Employees should have yearly training on sexual harassment and the policies in place to protect them, complaints should be investigated, and if found true, people who are found to be committing actions of sexual misconduct of any kind should be handled with zero tolerance in the workplace, and criminal charges should be brought when possible.
It’s important to me to be an informed voice for elected officials who would have influence over this at the state level. Closest to my heart are the issues of the Hutto Detention center in Williamson County, and decriminalizing cannabis use and making sure that that results in the exoneration of those who have been jailed for cannabis-related offenses. We shouldn’t be jailing non-violent criminals, though there are many places where a crime might technically be considered non-violent (especially in the case of domestic abuse), it is important that we stop jailing people when they are not actually a threat to society. We should also be ensuring that we are promoting for people who have been through the jail system to be involved in the political process, as they have a unique perspective on the lives of those who do currently reside in jail in a way that many of us simply cannot understand. We should be encouraging them to vote, and if they feel called to - to serve in the government.
Williamson County, in particular, has a history of racial injustices. Be old in the case of the lynching of Caldwell Washington Sr. in Taylor in 1933, to new, in the county's rejection of the request of African Americans in the community to add a plaque to the Statue of a Confederate "Hero" in the County Courthouse's courtyard to clarify that it was erected during the Jim Crow era. There are also issues with Law Enforcement stepping in on immigration and continuing the war on drugs, which so adversely and unequally impacts communities of color. I would not have direct influence over these things, but will use my voice to champion the resolution of such issues, seeking to support communities of color in our County by easing barriers to government that adversely impact them, and speaking with elected officials with the objective to move them to address issues that they have influence over to facilitate better and address these injustices.
This is a particularly interesting subject for me. I’ve always wondered why people are so keen to protect jobs in the coal industry for example, when it would be much more beneficial to those communities to be retrained in green energy technologies.
Personally, I'm very interested in technologies that agricultural operations can use to not only reduce their carbon footprint but to aid them in living better lives.
As County Clerk I would not have direct influence over such decisions, but I would use my voice to encourage elected officials who can make these kinds of policy decisions to create programs to retrain employees of fossil fuel industries in wind, solar, and water related energy production technologies, to help them with job placement, and to encourage state run power production in solar and wind farms, as well as make grants available to small business and agricultural operations to encourage adding solar and wind to their facilities, either as a primary or secondary source of income, or as a primary source for their own utility.
As an informed voice to elected officials, I would champion programs and legislation that would encourage homeowners, business owners, and agricultural operations to implement solar and wind energy production as either a primary or secondary source of income, or as a primary source of utility. Along with additional programs for clean water use, water conservation, and rainwater collection. We also need to reward businesses, large and small by providing tax benefits to reducing their draw on our power grid by using more energy efficient technologies for their lighting and climate control.
I will use my voice to encourage the following: Get rid of the Hutto detention center - as detention centers for non-violent immigrant communities have no place in America, let alone our community; reform in the immigration process - making it possible to become legal without having to leave the country as a priority; and discouraging local law enforcement from being involved in immigration - they are present to protect our communities, not for enforcement that falls directly on the federal government's shoulders.
Regarding the Rohingya in Myanmar, women and marginalized communities and the poor in developing countries, and the conflict between Isreal and Palestine: I support Sanctions against countries where abuse is rampant, increased humanitarian aid, withdrawing military support of countries that are being abusive to their people.
In specific to Isreal and Palestine: I support a Two-State Solution.
I will not be taking money from Super PACS, and will only be taking money from PACs that can prove to me where funds are coming from.
Money is not free speech if a lobbyists or government relations professional contacts our office about a program or initiative they will only be given time after time is given to constituents. If their suggestions or requests make sense for constituents, constituents will be given ample opportunity to comment before action is taken.
We have got to stop compromising within our conversations towards right-leaning ideas before we've even gotten to the stage of involving Republican representatives or Voters. Its so tempting to start the compromising before they get involved in the process, to attempt to begin from a position that we think would be acceptable to the other party that we will have to work with. The problem with this is that we have been doing this so long that we've stopped listening to middle and poor America, to the everyday American, opting instead to attempt to make compromises on their behalf. Let us, within the party and among ourselves, fight for the bold progressive stances that everyday Americans want to see us fighting for and leave compromise to what we do once we've gotten to the table where decisions can and need to be made. Compromise is a good thing in government, but it has a proper time and place.
We also need to stop allowing our candidates to run on stances that oppose our platform and still get our endorsement or support. If you have candidates that your local parties know won't run on the issues that are a part of our platform - get someone running who will - call them out on it - even if you only do it privately, put the pressure on them to get them to adhere to the platform elected by the delegates. If you have candidates running on the platform or more than the platform support them - financially, volunteer base, early, and often.