WHERE I STAND ON KEY ISSUES FOR DISTRICT 85

Education

My time as a social case manager at Alief Elisk Ninth Grade Center where I saw firsthand that our students were worried about how they will eat over the weekend because school is their breakfast and lunch.

I also saw that they were worried about whether they would graduate since some were still reading at a 3rd grade level. Gerrymandering is a fact. What is less obvious to a lot of folks is what it is doing to school district lines. We must address issues at a school district level. We cannot say that public education is the great equalizer if the same quality education is not available to all students. A family should not have to move because they feel they are not zoned to a good school. And even worse, a family should not feel their children are at a disadvantage because of where they live and the school they attend.

Special Needs of Children

l am an Early Childhood Interventionist (ECI). This is not just my career; this is close to my heart. One of my twin daughters, Giselle, was born with an autoimmune disorder.

I was told that she would not speak or walk. But I studied the brain for many years I knew we had a golden opportunity because Giselle was only 12 months old. Her window of opportunity was great because she was diagnosed at such a young age. By the time an infant turns three, 92% brain development is complete. By the age of five, 96% of brain development is complete. So, it goes without saying that when the Texas Education Agency wants to balance the budget, that should not occur at the expense of our infants and toddlers. But this has been what has been happening since 2011, and it continues to occur now. Our Texas leadership hasn't removed the program; but they have changed the eligibility requirements so that young children must wait longer for help. And given what we know about brain development in early childhood, we know that waiting is can change outcomes drastically for a child. This must change.

Healthcare

My time as both Director and Lead Physician of one of the few women's clinics in Jalisco is where I realized that affordable health care alone is not the answer, but also access to affordable health care. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

Families should not have to be worried the next time their child has an asthma attack and cannot get to an ER or pediatrician. A mother-to-be should not have to wait until her second trimester until she is seen by a specialist. Texas has taken such great strides with early detection of breast cancer by using a mammogram bus. That kind of intervention needs to be used to bring specialists out into our communities so that Texas families can not only afford health care but have access to that health care.

Rural Development

As a Community Outreach Coordinator for 6 counties, I have spent many hours on dirt and farm roads. Texas ranchers provide one of the stable backbones for our economy.

To continue to build on their success we must allow for rural development. Roosevelt initiated rural electrification; we must initiate or improve access to broadband internet. A majority of small business farmers and owners do not have access to such services at their home, making them unable to compete at the same level as many others. Texas has the land and the means to become a competitive force in fulfilling the growing demand for organic fruits and vegetables, as well as utilizing sustainable green practices. We must bring funds and programs like this one to enrich our communities.