My Commitment to Solving Problems
In the business world every good deal starts and ends with a firm handshake. Unfortunately, we can’t even get to that point because career politicians and ideological extremists are comfortable with inaction in the Senate. People like my opponent willfully put extreme politics ahead of the country while our biggest problems go unaddressed. I’m sick and tired of that kind of politics.
I’m committed to advocating for practical legislation that matters to Texas and will support any meaningful efforts started with common purpose and in collaboration with my colleagues in the Senate. It’s time to get things done and repairing the damage caused by two decades of divisive politics and deadlock in Congress. That starts by not trusting the extremists behind our problems with a second term.
Throughout our history, our country was able to leverage our differences to accomplish great things. I believe we can revive that value in the U.S. Senate. I invite you, and anyone else willing to work with respect and for mutual gain, to join me at the table to solve our major challenges.
Stefano de Stefano
I support public education and the tremendous people dedicated to helping our kids succeed in school.
I believe we should make smarter investments in our students, so our country can stay competitive in the global economy and prepare the advanced workforce Texas need to support continued economic growth. I favor expanding student access to STEM programs in schools to achieve that goal.
I also believe we can never support a child’s development too early. I will work to increase Early Childhood Education resources available to families working to make the best of their kids’ curious and industrious minds.
I remain cautious about school choice subsidies, particularly in rural areas of our state. While vouchers may work in certain large metro areas, I believe vouchers in less-populated regions can be a drain on public resources intended to improve Texas’ school districts. Overall, I will fight against the privatization of our public education.
I support Texas Association of School Boards and the Association of Texas Professional Educators on their efforts to create an informed and educated citizenry. I stand firmly against whistleblower regime proposed by Empower Texans to prohibit faculty and students from engaging in our civic process.
Finally, I feel that guns have no place in our nation’s classroom – these are places where our children go to learn and grow into responsible and capable professionals and citizens:
Energy & Environment
Texan leadership on energy policy has not been very well-represented by my opponent Ted Cruz. According to Texas Monthly: “Cruz’s track record as the primary sponsor on energy-related bills is pretty dismal: only 5 percent of the bills he has sponsored address the energy sector.” At this point, Ted’s Senate office is most proud of his introducing AERA – a energy bill that ultimately went nowhere, twice. We deserve better than that.
What Texas says on energy needs to matter again in Washington. Texas’ Senator should be working every day to create a 21st century strategy that favors homegrown production to transition away from dirtier and more expensive production methods. We can start by ending government subsidies for coal and ethanol – the low hanging fruit – because Texas industries can beat out those outdated and inefficient systems while supporting growth in our modern energy economy.
We should support the expanded development of wind and solar energy resources in our state – on top of natural gas and oil – in order to prepare an energy vision for the future. I’ve built a reputation in my field by successfully negotiating win-win deals in the commercial world, and know I’m capable of bringing on my Senate colleagues to support meaningful legislation on the issue.
Climate change is real and I believe bringing on Texas energy sector expertise is a critical component to reducing emissions. You read that right. I trust our science on climate change, and it must be addressed. I favor Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal to encourage free enterprise to lead on curbing emissions without requiring new regulations on the energy sector.
We need to be leading in projects to carry excess water from the Gulf Region (anyone remember Hurricane Harvey?) to more arid parts of the nation struggling to meet their water resource demands. I’ve got a unique idea to take the thousands of Texans with pipe-building experience (and negatively impacted by low oil prices) who could help us construct a forward-thinking water infrastructure system for the benefit of the country.
Economy, Trade & Jobs
Investing in Infrastructure
It’s no secret crumbling infrastructure takes a toll on our economy and needs to be addressed immediately. Texas has the longest road and rail networks in the country, but one in five miles of Texas roadways, including federally funded interstates, need repair. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates the wear and tear of poorly maintained roads costs individual Texans an average of $500 per vehicle each year. That’s government dysfunction taking money out of your pocket.
If we can’t keep our roads paved, how do we expect to dredge the channel in Corpus or expand the port in Houston? I will make securing federal infrastructure investments a priority in the U.S. Senate to keep goods, skilled-workers, and public services moving quickly across the roads and rails of Texas.
Regulations on Business
Texas is an economic powerhouse and I believe our elected officials carry a major responsibility to support a strong future for Texas industries and small businesses. I’m in favor of reforming or eliminating disruptive regulations to help our economic engines reach new deals, create more jobs, and keep the Texas marketplace as one of the friendliest and best places in America to do business.
With the billions of dollars in commerce passing through our ports of entry at stake, I want to expand our nation’s trade agreements to further diversify our economy, underpin the energy sector and the Texas state budget, and keep retail prices low across the country.
We must create a unique vocational training system that would make the most out of Texans’ desire for good work and our companies’ needs for skilled workers to evolve with the our global economy.
Our country is running out of skilled tradesmen, as an entire generation of builders, electricians, machinists, masons, welders, pipe-fitters, and carpenters prepares to take a wealth of knowledge into the retirement. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough up-and-coming men and women moving into those fields. We must act to support the keeping people in those positions – good jobs that cannot be outsourced overseas.
I envision establishing public-private partnerships to expand our pipeline of Texans moving into vocational work. Private companies could provide instructors, curricula, and assessments in collaboration with local communities. On the public side, I’d like to leverage our nation’s enormous holdings of federal government and local buildings to create training facilities where industry partners can teach the skills they need for their workforces – in general contracting, manufacturing, energy, high-tech, and many more.
Federal Debt & Balanced Budgets
The compounding national debt threatens our national security and future economic growth. It is irresponsible to pass the consequences of inaction on this issue to our children and grandchildren. There seems to be no willingness to take on our debt, and I was disappointed to see Senate Republicans abandon real tax reform while adding over a trillion dollars to the national debt.
I’m willing to work with my Senate colleagues to pass a balanced federal budget that tackles the $20 Trillion+ in runaway debt. Good people all over Texas live within their means, and Washington should too.
Full Legalization of Cannabis
I believe it’s time to move the nation beyond cannabis prohibition.
I believe it makes humane sense to allow patients to access cannabis in treatment for their pain and illnesses. I favor regulating and taxing the sale of cannabis to support public investments with increased public revenue. I am committed to overturning prohibition of cannabis as an important first step to reforming a criminal justice system unjustly impacting communities everywhere.
Gun Violence & Mass Shootings
I just welcomed my second son into our family, and my 5 year-old has already been required to complete active shooter training at his daycare. Parents like my wife and I, dropping their children off at schools every morning across America, should not have to prepare for another mass shooting striking down our kids.
While I fully-support 2nd Amendment and our Bill of Rights, our nation has updated our Constitutional laws and protections to reflect evolving times; like when we established equal protections under the 14th Amendment or gave women the right to vote.
I believe we must modernize our nation’s gun laws to reflect today’s reality: semi-automatic weapons like AR-15s were not threatening kids when the 2nd Amendment was ratified in 1791, or even as recently as the 80’s, when I was in school.
‘Thoughts and prayers’ from NRA-backed politicians will never be enough to console the families ripped apart by mass shootings. I stand with the Texas teachers and parents calling for a sensible solution on guns. I won’t give in to the NRA’s calls for arming our educators and forcing our kids to learn around weapons.
Congress must act by passing commonsense reforms to safeguard public safety. We can start making by working on the policy items that have high level of support across America (see table below) to negotiate a bipartisan, common-ground outcome.
I support a multi-faceted legislative strategy to end Congress’ spectacular failure in taking action on mass shootings to include: raising the legal purchasing age; limiting high-capacity weapons accessories; instituting a reasonable a waiting period; prohibiting criminals from obtaining firearms; expanding universal background checks; increasing public access to mental health resources by expanding Medicaid; and discouraging gun ownership through a market-based approach included in changes to our insurance and liability laws.
Immigration Reform & Border Security
With Texas’ geographic position along the country’s longest international border with Mexico, Texas is uniquely-suited to lead the nation on how to address the failures of our immigration system. And despite overwhelming support in our country for Congress to reach a bipartisan immigration solution, some in the Senate are unwilling to even acknowledge Texas’ needs to make progress on the issue. We deserve better leadership (see video above).
As the son of an immigrant who launched my family’s American Dream in Texas, I know a broken immigration system does Texas and America no good. It limits businesses seeking skilled and seasonal workers to fuel our economy, hurts law enforcement’s ability to protect our communities, and restrains our rich cultural diversity.
Any solution to immigration system must make the process safe, secure, streamlined, inexpensive, and easier to comply with. We can negotiate a solution that: brings undocumented immigrants out from the shadows; secures the border with a fiscally-sound and with 21st century technology; institutes a biometric entry-exit system to reduce our number of overstayed visas; and includes permanent protections for Dreamers brought into this country through no fault of their own, but who know no other home than our great nation.
I will make meaningful immigration reform a priority in the U.S. Senate and intend to work with anyone necessary to figure it out, once and for all. Read more on my thoughts on immigration here, and here.
I believe the federal government has no business regulating people’s private lives – how they choose to live, what god they pray to, the words they speak, whether they choose to lawfully own a gun, who they love, or in personal health matters.
Additionally, the government needs to refrain from unlawful seizures and imposing excessive bails and fines through the judicial system.
Congress is leaving our troops behind. Our heroes deserve better quality healthcare, a VA with the right reforms and resources to eliminate backlogs, more healthcare providers in rural counties, expanded access to mental health resources, and more opportunities to help our veterans transition and lead when they return to the civilian world.
Our vets raise families all over the state, build successful businesses here and keep our communities safe. I believe we can do better to overhaul what we offer in return for their service to our country.