Early Childhood Education
The single greatest investment in our future we can make is in early childhood education. Children entering pre-kindergarten from low income and minority families enter knowing 32 million less words than their well-off counterparts. When we invest in our youngest generation of students, we close the school readiness gap and effectively invest in the future of our state.
Without a quality pre-kindergarten program, our youngest students will never be on the same level as their peers heading into the rest of their elementary school career and beyond. This is why I will continually fight to ensure these students have the resources and capability to do just as well as their peers, regardless of their income and ethnic background.
Criminal Justice Reform
There have been far too many headlines of unarmed African Americans who have been killed during an interaction with law enforcement. Nevertheless, our communities are extremely grateful to the men and women who risk their lives daily in order to keep us safe. We must continue to work to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve.
The need for change became even more urgent when five Dallas Police officers were murdered during an otherwise peaceful march against police brutality. I believe that Texas is moving in the right direction on police-community relations and has the opportunity to set an example for the rest of the nation.
During the 84th Texas Legislature, I passed an important piece of legislation requiring law enforcement agencies to report all officer-involved shootings to the Office of the Attorney General. This law put Texas at the forefront of the nation in transparency in policing. I will continue to fight to make transparency and accountability in policing a reality in Texas.
Minority and women-owned businesses serve a vital role in the state of Texas, and yet, the state is continually failing to support these historically underutilized businesses time and time again. During the 84th Texas Legislature, I passed an important piece of legislation to help these businesses gain access to capital so they can strive in the Texas economy.
Another important issue that warrants greater attention in the Legislature is increasing the amount of mainstream banking services and access to capital in low income communities. How can we fault people for getting trapped in a cycle of debt with payday lenders, or expect them to save and build credit if they don’t even have access to banks or credit unions?
I passed a bill during the 84th Texas Legislature to designate certain areas in the state as Banking or Credit Union Development Districts to ensure banks and credit unions can be established and succeed in these areas that are most in need of these services. I will continue to fight to ensure these underrepresented populations have a voice in the Texas Legislature and a means to succeed in Texas.