Dallas Morning News Candidate Questionnaire

Occupation/main source of income:

Actuary

Education (include all degrees):

BBA from University of Wisconsin – Madison, major in Actuarial Science. I began at LSU where I spent 3 years majoring in Chemical Engineering before transferring to Wisconsin to pursue Actuarial Science. I have passed numerous actuarial exams.

Highlights of current civic involvement/accomplishment:

Voting, paying taxes, reaching out to all US Senators and numerous US House of Representatives to give them my opinion on important issues. Signing multiple petitions in advance of a cause, volunteering as Watchdog at PSID, coaching little league baseball and lead my office’s charity/ personal improvement throughout the year.

Highlights of past civic involvement/accomplishment:

Coaching youth rugby, Habitat for Humanity, & volunteered at The Humane Society. Voting, paying taxes, reaching out to all US Senators and numerous US House of Representatives to give them my opinion on important issues. Signing multiple petitions in advance of a cause, volunteering as Watchdog at PSID, coaching little league baseball and lead my office’s charity/ personal improvement throughout the year.

Previous public offices sought or held:

None

How much funding have you raised for your campaign?

$0

Who are your top three contributors?

I will take campaign contributions but do not believe we should send officials to Washington that 30%+ of their time fundraising and not serving us. I therefore ask individuals to reach out to friends and family to inform them about political candidates and to vote. We either need to stop complaining that congress spends too much time fundraising or send individuals who spend 100% of their time on the job we elected them to do.

Have you ever been arrested or involved in any criminal proceedings? If so, please explain:

No, never.

Have you ever been involved in any civil lawsuits or declared personal or professional bankruptcy? If so, please explain:

No

What is an example of how you led a team or group toward achieving an important goal?

I kick started a health challenge in my office in which teams of 4 individuals competed to complete a set of health goals. Each individual selected 3 daily goals from a list I created (ranging from only taking stairs, to eating a salad a day) to help them towards achieving a healthier lifestyle. For two months I tracked each team’s progress and checked in with my co-workers to help encourage them to stay on track with their goals. As a finale to our health challenge, my co-workers and myself finished a 5-mile Tough Mudder. It was great to see people that were winded after a flight of stairs at the beginning of the challenge cross the finish line of a five mile obstacle course.

Why are you running for this office?

I believe we should expect more. Congress is not broken but the candidates we send to Washington and how those individuals are selected is. Republicans and Democrats seem to spend more time shaming the other party than finding compromises and appropriate legislation to move America forward. A major problem is the lack of transparency and abundance of vague, cookie-cutter responses from candidates and officials when it comes to their positions. Party endorsements occurring before all the candidates are even known shows me that we need new individuals representing us in Washington. We need candidates that are selected by the voters, not just people well connected in the Republican Party. When looking at who to vote for this term, I did not find any individual that I felt had the ability to adequately represent our interests and issues. America is fragmented and while I can’t piece her back together, I believe I am a candidate who will put forward ideas, opinions, and the transparency needed to start mending our country.

Why should voters choose you over your opponent?

I am what and who we need in Washington. As an actuary I bring a different and unique view to the table. Congress does not need any more lawyers or career politicians. We need individuals who rely on data and understand the underlying issues that drive the majority of the US budget (Social Security and insurance). I am going to focus on solutions that work to solve the issue regardless of party lines, be transparent so all individuals know where I stand on important issues, and focus 100% of my time on serving as an elected official and not spend 30%+ of my day focused on fundraising. The system cannot be fixed by individuals preselected and groomed by the Republican Party but instead, Republican ideals need to be pursued by an individual selected by the voters.

Length of residency in Texas and, if applicable, your district:

2 years and 6 months in my district. Five additional years from 2007-2012.

What political leader do you most admire and why?

Harry S. Truman in my opinion faced the hardest decisions of any world leader, and right or wrong, made a tough decisions to use nuclear weapons with the best interest of our country in mind. He also signed the Marshall Plan to help rebuild Europe while reducing barriers to increase trade and signed the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) which stressed the importance of alliances and an international community.

What do you make of President Donald Trump's style and agenda? Do you view him as an ally, a breath of fresh air in a capital that needs to be shaken up? Or as volatile, dangerous and out of his depth? Or something in between? What would your role be in working with or against him?

– I view President Trump as something in between. I agree with the agenda items that he wants to address (immigration, taxes, healthcare, Social Security, etc…) but his lack of detail about his plans and the broad statements, make it impossible for me to decide if I agree or disagree with his positions because there just isn’t enough real information available. Presidential Candidate Trump promised to shake up Washington, and he definitely has, but in the wrong way. I had high hopes that President Trump would shake up Washington by calling out both Republicans and Democrats for their inability to work together and the ridiculous political games that have turned most current elected officials into late night TV comedy. I disagree with President Trump’s use of Twitter to launch personal attacks on Americans and other world leaders. Also, the indisputably false statements he makes can cause harm and confusion to the American people when coming from the US President. I feel the leader of our nation should be held to a higher standard and act as the role model his position requires. The more President Trump ostracizes groups and individuals the more likely their main goal will to be fight against Trump and undo his legacy, rather than work with him to benefit America. I would work with President Trump to enact sound policies in which both parties can get behind but as an individual representing Texas district 3 I would only vote for a bill I believe is beneficial to Texas and America and not solely because of party affiliations.

The gap between the rich and the poor in America is widening. Is this a problem for the country, and if so what should Congress do about it? What action should Congress take, if any?

It is a huge problem and will impact our social and political landscape if this is not addressed. I have no issue with the rich being rich but the rest of the country needs wages that allow them to save for the future while adequately providing for their family’s needs today. If the private market fails to provide enough wages to be financially supportive, the government must become a necessary evil and be the last resort to supply necessities. This would send our country in the wrong direction, towards socialism. I do not believe financial irresponsibility, lack of motivation, or wanting handouts is just cause for social programs. The government should be there to help those truly in need as I believe our morals as a country should be to help those in need. Congress needs to a) tax the rich at an appropriate rate “as Warren Buffet says he is taxed at a lower rate than his secretary” b) Do not increase minimum wage as that has an negative unemployment effect but instead, increase the Earned Income Tax Credit c) Focus on education and preparing for the knowledge economy the US is transitioning to d) A mechanism is needed to provide equal representation as the rich are inadequately represented in congress by the influence of money on our political decisions explained by the research paper on the influence of elites, interest groups, and average voters on American politics.

What is the greatest threat to American security, and how should America respond? What specifically should Congress do to help?

When I think of American security I think of economic and physical security. Even though terrorists and outside forces are a clear and present danger, I feel the greatest threat to our way of life is internal. This danger is the current divide in our country and the inability to understand one another and move forward together. We need to address future changes in the landscape to our economy and job market with the likes of green energy, automation, and artificial intelligence. We need to renew our focus on educating our citizens in order to provide the intellectual resources to continue growing our economy. Most importantly, we need to understand we all are different with different opinions, thoughts, religions, races, lifestyles… and accepting this is vital to progressing as a strong unified nation.

What changes should be made to U.S. trade policy?

America is operating at a trade deficit which needs to stop. Consuming more than we produce can only go on so long and this inequality in trade will need to be addressed one way or another. I believe Trump was correct in putting a halt to trade deals but bilateral trade negotiations are not the solution. We need trade deals that retain free-market principles and do not encourage trade wars or protect specific industries or countries. America needs to simplify and reduce our non-tariff impediments while balancing out imports and exports. In order to accomplish this trade balance we need to credit those who export products and in return give them the ability to import materials and/or products or sell those credits in a liquid market. Our trade deficit cannot be balanced overnight but a transition overtime is possible. The major downside is imported products would become more expensive for US citizens, but the upside would be the continued strength of the US dollar.

How should the next Congress address illegal immigration? Please be specific about the millions of people in this country illegally.

Legal immigration strengthens the U.S. economy and does more good than harm. We need to embrace legal immigration to encourage growth and fuel American businesses. However, illegal immigrants are an issue and our leniency towards the millions in this country illegally needs to stop. Laws in place to discourage and penalize hiring of illegal immigrants need to be enforced. This is a complicated matter though as we must address the industries where illegal immigrants are in high demand (i.e. farming and construction). Illegal immigrants in these industries are vital to our economy but have to be able to obtain legal, temporary work visas and have the ability to apply for citizenship (should they so choose) as long as they continue to be employed by the job the visa was applied for. Part of the solution for freeing up visas is to change how an individual becomes a US Citizen by removing the automatic citizenship by birth to non-U.S. Parents. With this change alone, over 300,000 a year more people could be legally allowed in the U.S. On top of that, I would recommend increasing the number of naturalized citizens allowed in the U.S.

Would you support or oppose the full repeal of all provisions of the Affordable Care Act?

The ACA has some good legislation (i.e. pre-existing conditions) and therefore I do not care if congress repeals all of it or just makes changes to the ACA as long as it is fixed with sound, bipartisan solutions. As time goes on we can then fine tune the bill in response to issues that arise. As an actuary, I believe there are a few key items that will lead to affordable and competitive healthcare prices. First is legislation that will end employee provided healthcare & replace it with individual healthcare purchased through open markets (like auto insurance). Everyone will have access to the same plans and coverage will not change when switching employment. Price transparency for all procedures and visits will allow patients to be aware of the cost upfront. Everyone will have healthcare if they want it and cost assistance is available if people are unable to afford care. Individuals are not required to have healthcare but will be responsible for all costs if medical attention is needed. Candidates or current politicians should not continue to say the fix for our current solution is “we need a single-payer plan” or “we need to repeal and replace ACA and replace it with something affordable with great coverage.” We need real ideas and solutions like I am proposing above.

Congress writes the budget for the United States. What is one area that Congress should invest much more heavily in, and why? What should we be spending much less on?

We need to invest in the future instead of the past. What I mean by that is industries, such as the coal industry, should not be kept alive by government assistance. Instead, those funds should be allocated towards growing sectors of the economy (i.e. green energy) in order to lead as an innovator instead of finding ourselves in a situation of playing catch up with the rest of the world. We need to improve our infrastructure including telecommunications to prepare for the economy of the future and focus on our intellectual capital. This can be accomplished with an increase in funding towards education and NASA, both of which pay back the country many times over. It is imperative on many levels that we address Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid now as those expenses will continue to grow and directly impact millions of Americans. Directly cutting spending in these areas should be a last resort and instead we should look for solid adjustments, private partnerships, and passing a strong and sound healthcare policy. I also believe we can build stronger partnerships with international allies to help reduce our military expenses.

What action, if any, should Congress take in response to mass killings involving firearms?

We are given the right to own guns and I believe that right should not be taken away. This is a perfect example of the old adage of how a bad apple can ruin the barrel. The majority of gun owners are safe and responsible when it comes to their firearms. They teach their children and those around them to respect guns and proper gun safety. They understand the gravity and responsibility that comes with gun ownership so these people are not the problem and neither are their firearms. It’s when firearms end up in the possession of those “bad apples,” the people who do not have the mental competency to own and operate a firearm that we end up with such atrocities as mass killings. So herin lies the problem, how do you keep firearms out of the hands of those incompetent people while retaining the rights and freedoms of responsible firearm owners? I wish I had a fool proof solution but as I see it, there is not a way to get rid of the “bad apples.” However, we can work to reduce the chances of firearms ending up in the possession of those people by putting laws in place that allow a more in depth background check and stiffer penalties for gun sales that do not go through the legal channels. We also need to make gun owners liable with harsher penalties in the instance of, trafficking, reckless ownership, and straw purchases.

The Social Security fund that pays most retiree benefits will be insolvent within a generation. What steps should Congress take to keep it in the black? Please be specific about who would be affected and how soon.

There is no perfect solution but the best and first option should be to keep all existing funding to all individuals at current levels. Changes are needed to address the solvency. Some steps I am in favor of are as follows; 1) The U.S. Social Security Administration does not get the highest return on the current surplus and therefore a partnership with corporations or a change in investment strategy is needed. A joint partnership could provide adequate returns while still providing the security needed to continue to provide benefits. 2) As people continue to live longer, the full retirement age needs to slightly increase which will impact younger Americans. 3) Payroll tax cap needs to be increased from the current cap of $128,400. 4) Reduced benefits for high net worth individuals.

The Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015. Has that had a positive or negative impact on America since then, and is there anything that Congress should do either in response or to further support gay rights?

Roughly 4% of Americans consider themselves LGBTQ and now have the right to legally wed, which is a right they should have. I feel we are all allowed to have our own beliefs but putting laws in place to block someone’s right to live and have equal protection under the law based on another’s opinion is against everything American represents and stands for. America is the land of opportunity and freedom because of being founded by people escaping persecution for their beliefs. America should be inclusive of all people and that means allowing the same rights to any gay person that a straight person is afforded. Congress should pass an anti-discriminatory LGBTQ law.

What is your view on the science of man-made climate change? Do you support action to reduce the output of greenhouse gases? If so, what steps do you favor?

With 97% of climate scientists agreeing that humans are the cause of global warming, I have to believe that we are the cause and believe those who doubt the veracity of this issue are causing more harm than good. Let’s for a moment take the position that we are not causing global warming and the experts are wrong. If that is the case, then under false pretenses we will leave our children and future generations as follows; energy independence, with preserved rainforest and natural environment, livable sustainable cities, clean water and air, all while having a healthier lifestyle. So I guess what I am saying, is even if experts are wrong, what is the harm in trying to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly world? I could live with leaving that legacy, regardless of if global warming is man-made or not. The corporate sector is already transitioning to a greener, 100% renewable, battery powered vehicle economy and the government needs to embrace and allow these industries to thrive. Protecting deforestation, allowing growth and new innovations thru research at NASA and the Department of Energy, and not sustaining industries like coal for the purpose of jobs is what the government needs to do.

When the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, many lawmakers on both sides vowed to update the law. That hasn't happened. Should Congress strengthen the existing Voting Rights Act, and if so how?

The Voting Rights act of 1965 was enacted to prohibit racial discrimination but in today’s world there are more forms of discrimination that could exist. A new law should be enacted to protect all forms of voter discrimination but should not require preclearance by any states and should be able to be challenged in court if problems exist. Legislation should also be put in place to remove the practice known as gerrymandering which involves drawing district lines in such a manner as to give ones party an advantage over the other.