U.S. Rep. District 35 - Democrat
(This biography submitted by the campaign)
Texas has always been my home. Long ago, I served as Captain of the Safety Patrol at my elementary school, and today I am on a different kind of safety patrol in Washington. Throughout my service to the community, as a Texas State Senator, as a Texas Supreme Court Justice and in Congress, I have tried to reflect our shared values and concerns, to listen to our neighbors, and make your priorities, my priorities.
While I am new to some, I am not new to the struggles that so many working families face. Decades ago, a great San Antonio Congressman, Maury Maverick, summed up what this election is all about when he declared, democracy just means “liberty plus groceries.” I believe in protecting our individual liberties from intrusive government and in ensuring we stand by the veterans and their families, who sacrificed to protect our great democracy.
And “groceries” -- that is just a plain-spoken way of saying that my work is about pocket book issues, like encouraging job opportunities and economic development. That begins with my longstanding commitment to public education. I believe we should strengthen education from pre-K to post-grad.
I have worked to remove financial obstacles that could prevent a young person from getting the education necessary to achieve his or her full God-given potential. That is why I successfully authored the “More Education” tax credit. This law provides a tax cut to students, or their families, to reduce their federal taxes by up to $10,000 over four years as reimbursement for tuition and textbooks. This credit largely covers expenses at the Alamo Colleges and ACC and helps for more costly education. And I have worked to expand Pell Grants and reduce the cost of student loans.
Expanding educational opportunity is also why I have long been a sponsor of the Dream Act. I believe these immigrant students, who offer so much talent, should have the opportunity to work to become innovators and entrepreneurs. We must finally make their dream a reality.
Federal investment in our area universities provides a sparkplug for regional economic growth, helping create cutting-edge technologies and high-paying jobs.
I voted consistently against the big bank bailouts, whether proposed by President Bush or Obama. And I am sponsoring a bill to raise the minimum wage.
For our Seniors, we must keep Social Security and Medicare strong -- fighting those who would replace the guarantee of Medicare with a voucher to buy inadequate private insurance. And a special thanks to AARP for the national award presented to me for my work to strengthen Medicare.
My family is my personal strength. Libby, my wife for 43 years, was an elementary teacher before becoming a national leader on early childhood education. We’re blessed with two great daughters, Cathy, a teacher, and Lisa, a doctor, and three wonderful granddaughters -- for whose generation I want to build a more secure America. While grateful for the support so many have already shown me, the support I seek is yours.