WFAA invited each of the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senator from Texas to answer the following questions to help inform voters before Super Tuesday on March 3.
Attorney, Small-Business Owner and Founder of a Non-Profit
How long have you lived in Texas?
Why are you running for U.S. Senate?
I am running because, in the richest country in the history of the world, life should not be this hard. 2016 was a wake-up call to me, and I am running because we are running out of time. Finally, I am running because I know that John Cornyn can be beaten, but it is going to take someone operating from a different playbook, with the moral clarity, the political courage and the work ethic to get it done.
Prior political experience or civic leadership involvement?
I have never run for public office before.
There are a lot of candidates in this race, why should voters choose you over someone else?
Because I am not a politician and I can beat John Cornyn. I am 3 points behind the front-runner, having spent 1/3 of 1% of her war chest. Imagine what I can do with some real resources. I have built 2 small businesses and a non-profit, all profitable and all from scratch. I speak 3 languages & have lived in 3 other countries. I am a ‘fed-up mama’ with 3 small kiddos. I’m running because we are running out of time. I have the moral clarity, political courage & work ethic to do what no politician will.
In your view, what are the three biggest challenges facing Texas? Specifically, how do you plan to address them?
Wealth inequality, lack of access to quality healthcare for all and the gun violence epidemic. Regarding wealth inequality, I would increase taxes on households earning more than $500,000 a year and on corporations, while promoting a livable wage that supporters a life of dignity for all full-time workers. Regarding healthcare, I want a system that looks like Spain, where my daughter's life was saved and we didn't lose our house- no more deductibles, co-pays, pre-existing conditions, out-of-network costs, co-insurance or all the ways they fleece you. Regarding gun violence, I want all gun owners' to carry liability insurance and have insurance companies assess risk so that the financial costs of the gun epidemic are no longer born by society while strengthening background checks, red flag laws, banning open carry, the sale of weapons of war and closing private sale loopholes.
Washington is broken. Lawmakers retreat to their parties, follow orders from party bosses and rarely work across the aisle for the common good. How would you change that?
Washington is broken because Republicans stopped acting in good faith long ago and have abdicated their duties to their constituents. I am not a fan of the Democratic Party establishment, but I refuse to play the game of false equivalency and normalize Republicans' sabotage of our democracy over the last 40 years, accelerating its decline since the election of the first Black President.
If elected, how would you address the mass shootings in Texas and across the country?
See comments above regarding gun-owner liability insurance and other common-sense gun solutions that the vast majority of Americans want.
What federal cuts would you support to help achieve a balanced budget?
Cuts to military spending and a review of our credit agreements to reduce our interest payments on outstanding debt. Also, I would promote a fair tax code to increase revenue to pay for public education, universal healthcare, higher education debt reduction/forgiveness and infrastructure spending in preparation for a sustainable 22nd-century economy.
Do you support or oppose open borders?
What does that even mean? Of course I don't support open borders. But I certainly don't support a vanity wall project that does nothing to improve security at our border, nor speaks to the constant cyberattacks on our assets and interests, much less attacks by domestic terrorists.
Do you support universal healthcare? If so, how would you pay for it?
Yes, I support universal healthcare. And paying for it is easy, since the for-profit model of healthcare in this country is two times the cost of universal healthcare in most other countries. Despite the fact that we pay through the nose for it, it doesn't adequately provide for 25% of Americans, causes 65% of bankruptcies every year and results in up to 400,000 deaths (the third leading cause of adult mortality) due to medical error.
If elected, what’s your priority on Day One in office?
My priority on November 4 as Senator-Elect is to move to McAllen where I will figure out how we reunify families. On Day 1 I will walk in with a plan and in addition, launch a constituent hotline where Texans will have a personal connection to getting things done and will have a human- and humane- response within 48 hours.
On what issue or issues could you work with the White House? Or U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell?
Elizabeth Warren and I have a lot in common, and I feel confident that we could easily work together on most any issue. Regarding Mitch, I don't foresee spending much time in Kentucky, and I am sure he will enjoy his inflated pension.
On what issue, would you not compromise?
Caging children. Separating families. Accepting gunmakers' rights to unfettered profits over American lives. Childhood hunger. Limiting women's rights to control their own bodies. Quality public education for all. Preparing for a 22nd-century sustainable economy. The shooting of unarmed black men. Russian interference in our elections. Gerrymandering. Voter suppression.
Have you ever been arrested, charged with a crime or faced criminal proceedings in a court? If yes, please explain:
Have you ever been involved in any lawsuits or declared bankruptcy? If yes, please explain:
Favorite restaurant – or night out in Texas?
This is my favorite question of all! I love all things food. Favorite restaurant at the moment is Huynh Restaurant at 912 St. Emmanuel in Houston. The food is well-priced and delicious, it's BYOB, ambiance is great, and they are super kid-friendly.
Do you ever ride public transportation such as city buses or light rail?
Sometimes, but rarely in Houston.
Tell us something about yourself – unrelated to politics or this race – that voters probably don’t know.
My husband is an amazing salsero (salsa-dancer) and when we first met, I wanted to impress him, so I secretly took salsa lessons from a woman I found on Craigslist 3 nights a week for several months.