Where Gary Stands on the Issues
Defending life is of the upmost importance to Gary VanDeaver. He worked to help pass important pro-life legislation that closes a loophole that previously allowed minor girls to undergo an abortion without parental consent. He was also a co-sponsor to SB 8, the “Heartbeat Bill,” in 2021, which banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
As a proud member of the NRA and someone who believes that the Second Amendment must be protected and defended in law, Gary VanDeaver co-authored and helped pass “open carry” legislation, which removed concealment restrictions for Texans with concealed handgun licenses. He also was a co-author to the “permitless” carry bill, HB 1927, from the 87th Legislature in 2021.
Gary VanDeaver was one of only three freshmen to serve on the House Committee on Appropriations in 2015, helping to write the most conservative budget in Texas history. Gary has also helped to pass budget transparency legislation to end the practice of spending dedicated funds that are collected for a specific purpose, but used to fund another purpose altogether. By eliminating that budget gimmick the state budgeting process is more open, accessible, accurate, and easier to hold state spending in check. Gary has continued to serve on this valuable committee in 2017, 2019, and 2021.
Since the federal government has persistently failed in its responsibility to secure the border, the Texas Legislature has had to step in, and Gary VanDeaver has been a part of those efforts at every opportunity. He co-authored legislation that developed a permanent border security plan for Texas as well as legislation which attacked the problem of human trafficking and child prostitution. He also worked on a budget that increased border security funding to more than $1 billion in the 2021 session.
As a lifelong educator, Gary VanDeaver is proud to bring his expertise to the House Committee on Public Education, where he has served for several terms. He has passed laws every session that assist public schools in areas such as reducing high stakes testing, streamlining bureacracy, improving protections of student data, and increasing focus on CTE pathways. He was very proud to be a part of historic school finance reforms in the 2019 and 2021 sessions, and is continuing the fight to keep state promises to retired teachers.
The pandemic came at a great cost to many, but church doors never should have been shuttered. Gary VanDeaver worked hard to protect religious freedom by helping pass HB 1239, protecting people of faith from government overreach, SB 581, which protects private property owner’s rights to religious expression, and SJR 27, which gives Texas voters the opportunity to amend the state Constitution to include a ban on local officials closing houses of worship.
Health care is a big concern for the House District 1 area due to the rural nature of the counties, and the lack of adequate medical resources and facilities. During the 2021 session, Gary VanDeaver worked to successfully pass legislation that broadly expanded telemedicine services, lowered prescription costs, increased pricing transparency, expanded women’s health programs, and increased funding to behavioral health initatives and individuals with disabilities.
As a property owner himself, Gary VanDeaver agrees that property taxes are too high and that the property appraisal process needs increased transparency and scrutiny. In past sessions, he has helped pass legislation that has provided billions of dollars in tax relief to property owners across the state, including $3.8 billion in 2015 and billions more in the school finance reforms of 2019. He also supported capping property tax revenue growth to 3.5% annually, unless approved by voters.
Gary VanDeaver supports any legislation that increases our trust and confidence in the elections process. He believes it should be easy to vote and hard to cheat. Gary also offers an important perspective to those writing such legislation by representing the needs of his small and rural counties. He supported bills in the 2021 session that strengthend penalities for election fraud, increased efficiency in updating voter rolls, and clarified the role of poll watchers.
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