Voter Guide Questions & Answers
Note: I was asked the below questions as part of a voter guide but they only allowed short 1-sentence responses. I believe voters deserve more information in order to make the best choice for themselves and so I have posted my full answers here to their questions. As always, if you have any questions about my stances on specific issues, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What training, experience, and background qualify you for this position?
As I look back on my life experiences, I find it amazing how my journey through life has qualified and equipped me to serve as state representative. As a native Texan, I have seen firsthand the vast opportunity of our great state. I am very much aware of the distinct pride and heartfelt desire to be a part of something bigger than myself, which has engrained in me the desire for servant leadership. As a lifelong educator, I know the importance of investing in our future, whether it be providing a world-class education to our sons and daughters, building infrastructure to sustain the next generation, or improving quality of life, I recognize that while we enjoy life today, we must be intentional about building a brighter future. And finally, as a cattleman, I recognize the importance of caring for the land and the life it provides. Even as Texas becomes more urbanized with each passing year, we must protect and defend Texas agriculture and our rural way of life, which sustains so many with not only the food and goods we provide but also a guardian of Texas values and identity.
How would you ensure election laws do not create barriers to Texans’ freedom to vote while ensuring safe and secure elections?
During the most recent sessions of the Texas Legislature, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in crafting and passing legislation to protect the integrity and security of our elections. Throughout the process, I was able to clearly see the importance of peeling back the layers of political rhetoric, study the bills, and have a good understanding of what they actually do. For me, the “election integrity” bill accomplished two things. First, elections across Texas are more standardized than they were previously, which means voters in my district have the same access to the ballot box as voters in every other county in Texas. My rural, financially challenged counties do not have adequate resources to staff and operate 24-hour voting centers like counties with more resources, such as Harris County. The inequity in access to the ballot box puts rural Texans at a disadvantage in the struggle to have our voice heard. The second outcome of the “election integrity” bill was that voters in my counties now have an extra hour each day to vote during the early voting period, as well as enhanced ability to “cure” a ballot. Again, this issue became a political hot potato with people on both sides of the issue spewing inaccurate and misleading information. My position has always been that I support anything that makes it easier to vote, harder to cheat, and gives every Texan equal access to the ballot box.
Health Care: What is your position on reproductive rights and how would you address the economic and health consequences for those who seek and cannot obtain abortion in Texas?
I am an avid supporter of pro-life policies. My positions on this issue do not come from a political platform or strategy, but from a sincere, deeply held belief that life begins at conception and should be protected just as vigorously as a life outside the womb. Again, the driving force behind my pro-life stance is not political, but rather, a product of my sincere moral and religious convictions. That being said, I believe we can do much more to support the healthcare of expectant mothers by providing better access to medical and counseling services. I am also open to providing better healthcare access and education to reduce unplanned pregnancies. I also firmly believe that a prolife position should not end at birth. Rather, a child born in Texas should have the opportunity to live a healthy life and receive an education that will provide him or her with a bright future and to become a prosperous and contributing citizen.
Autonomy of State and Local Government: Under what circumstances should the federal government limit the authority of elected state officials? Under what circumstances should the state government limit the authority of elected local officials?
I believe the best decisions are those made closest to the issue being addressed. As a proponent of local control, I do not believe the federal government should limit authority of state officials, nor do I believe the state government should limit the authority of locally elected officials. However, this concept only works when everyone is respecting our Constitutional rights and freedoms, and operating in a transparent and good-faith manner, rather than being driven by political motives. It seems to me that in its most basic form, local control means individuals having the ability to make decisions for themselves and their families without fear of overreaching power grabs by government at any level.
Power Grid: What further changes, if any, are needed to ensure that Texas has sufficient power in times of extreme weather conditions?
I believe that much of the legislation passed in the recent sessions will result in a more secure and dependable power grid for all Texans. Most would agree that the winter storm of 2021 was a 100-year event, but we cannot afford to brush it off by assuming it will not happen again for another 100 years. I believe we learned a lot about the vulnerability of our state’s power grid and it would be irresponsible if we do not take those lessons to heart and address the issues that would result in a repeat of that horrible situation. We realize that many of the new policies and procedures will require time to implement. It seems to me that wisdom would dictate that we fully implement the new policies while monitoring the power grid and assessing the unintended consequences of those policies as well as vulnerabilities that those policies do not address and come back in the 2023 session prepared to take the next step to ensure a safe and dependable power grid that does not place undue financial burdens on the individual power customers.
CAMPAIGN BUSINESS ONLY
P.O. Box 866
New Boston, TX 75570
Pol. Ad. Paid by the Gary VanDeaver Campaign. Not produced or maintained at taxpayer expense.