Where Gary Stands on the Issues
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, and a constitutional amendment proposal that if passed by voters in May 2022 will increase the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000.
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 successfully increased border security funding to an unprecedented $1+ billion in the 2021 session.
Gary believes in protecting the lives of the unborn and ensuring they have healthy, loving homes when they arrive. He was a co-author to SB 8 (87th, Reg.), the “Heartbeat Bill,” in 2021, which banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. He also worked to help pass important pro-life legislation that restricted access to “abortion pills” and other legislation that closed a loophole that previously allowed minor girls to undergo an abortion without parental consent.
As a proud gun owner and member of the NRA, Gary believes in protecting the second amendment. He co-authored and helped pass “open carry” legislation, removing concealment restrictions for Texans with CHLs. During the 2021 regular session, he was a co-author to HB 1927, which instituted “constitutional carry” in the state of Texas, HB 2622, which prohibited the restriction of sales of firearms or ammo during a disaster, and HB 1500, which made Texas a second amendment sanctuary state.
Gary VanDeaver was one of only three freshmen to serve on the House Committee on Appropriations, helping to write the most conservative budget in Texas history in 2015. He has also helped to pass transparency legislation to end the practice of spending dedicated funds that are collected for a specific purpose on another purpose altogether. The state budgeting process is now more accessible, accurate, and better suited to hold spending in check. Gary has continued to serve on this committee in 2017, 2019, and 2021, passing fiscally conservative and balanced budgets every time.
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, decreasing bureaucracy, improving protections of student data, establishing fair accountability practices, and increasing focus on CTE pathways. He was proud to be a part of the historic school finance reforms in the 2019 and 2021 sessions. His main goal is to protect and improve the lives of the roughly 5.4 million children in Texas.
Gary VanDeaver has supported 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 unique needs of our small and rural counties. He supported bills in the 2021 Regular and Special sessions that strengthened penalties for election fraud, increased efficiency in updating voter rolls, and clarified the role of poll watchers.
Winter Storm Uri was an incredibly difficult experience for many. Gary’s staff was on-call 24/7 throughout the storm and its aftereffects, doing all they could to get residents water, power, and other assistance, even as they lacked those resources themselves. Afterwards, fixing the grid became another emergency item for the legislature, and Gary supported the successful passage of bills that reformed ERCOT, restructured the PUC, protected consumers from high electricity bills, mandated winterization of the grid, and streamlined bureaucratic processes to avoid future disasters.
Church doors never should have been shuttered during the pandemic. 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 gave Texas voters the opportunity to amend the state Constitution to include a ban on local officials closing houses of worship. This amendment passed in November 2021 with 62 percent of the vote in the state.
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 and telehealth services, lowered prescription costs, increased pricing transparency, expanded women’s and children’s health programs, and increased funding to rural healthcare systems.
Rural broadband issues are pervasive in our area of the state, and Gary VanDeaver has been advocating to expand access to this vital service for every citizen of his district. In the fall of 2020, he authored a letter on behalf of the House Committee on Public Education requesting the Governor add rural broadband to his list of emergency items. In the 2021 session, when the issue was declared an emergency item, he co-authored HB 5. This created a Broadband Development Office and a funding mechanism for encouraging broadband development in a fiscally conservative manner.
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