I believe the Texas Senate works together best when each legislator adds his or her unique point of view to the policy conversation. Every one of my colleagues presents bills that reflect their core beliefs and inform citizens as to the character of their legislative representatives. Read on and discover some of the issues I've helped address through legislation.

Improving Public Education

High-quality public education is not just necessary for Texas’ continued economic prosperity, it’s guaranteed in our constitution. Unfortunately, too many in state government view public education funding with a “whatever is left” mentality, rather than the most important investment that we can make in the future. When adequately funded, public education can lift not only entire families out of poverty, but entire communities.

I have fought for several sessions to fully fund our public schools, and I will continue to be an advocate for our children, who deserve all the opportunities we can give them. Of course, funding alone doesn't ensure a successful system. Attention must be paid to education policy and curriculum, as the Legislature did in the 83rd session by reducing the number of high stakes tests our kids are required to take to graduate and giving kids more curriculum choices. Now, teachers can spend more time educating our children, not just creating good test takers.

I have also supported legislation designed to ensure that every student is college- or career-ready when they leave high school, armed with the skills necessary to compete in the Texas of today, and the Texas of tomorrow.

To keep our children learning even during the summer recess, I've compiled a page of free educational tools available online. Be sure to check them out at and let other parents know as well.


Accessible, Open & Transparent Government

 Government should always strive to be easily accessible, open, and transparent. We live in an age where information is readily available 24 hours a day on the internet; government information should be as accessible as well. I am a staunch supporter of the Open Meetings and Open Records acts, and in the 83rd session, I carried a bill that would have allowed Texans to register to vote online. I’ve also supported legislation requiring homeowners associations to be more transparent and state agencies to post their audit reports online.




Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness

On Christmas Day in 2003, Jovonie Ochoa, a 5-year-old San Antonio boy, was starved to death by his family. This tragedy sparked an outcry in the community, and I was compelled to establish the Blue Ribbon Task Force. Since its inception, the task force has united concerned citizens, community leaders, and local and regional businesses in the fight against child abuse and neglect.

Task force volunteers have joined me in a number of block walks that brought the message of hope and support to young families who need it most. It is through this coalition that I am able to help affect real change for a cause I have dedicated my public service to decreasing the instances of child abuse and neglect in Texas.


Natural Resources

Texas is a vast State with abundant natural resources. Unfortunately, fresh water is not one of them. In 2013 Texans approved Proposition 6, a measure to dedicate $2 billion to funding water projects across the state. While this is a great first step, we have a lot of work ahead. I am committed to continuing my work on the Senate Natural Resources Committee so that even in times of drought, our families, businesses, and municipalities have the water we need to sustain our economy and our future.

Texas is undergoing a historic energy boom, thanks to drilling technologies that were not available even a few years ago. If industry can turn on a dime, so must our state government. I’ve worked closely with the energy industry to assure that our communities are ready for and benefitting from this historic activity.

As a member of the Energy Council, I will continue to play an important role in ensuring that industry, communities, and state government all move forward as partners invested in the success of the energy economy.



Thousands of Americans are moving to Texas every day. So many in fact that our population is expected to double over the next 50 years. That means many more cars and trucks will be on the road. Unfortunately, our road capacity has failed to keep up with population growth, and the resulting traffic congestion is getting worse every year.

Sitting in stop-and-go traffic is more than just lost time with your family and friends. It’s a warning sign that Texas is behind on expanding the infrastructure we rely on to keep our economy strong. The condition of our roads is also important, and nowhere is that need more apparent than in areas of our state undergoing surges of energy activity.

In 2013, I fought and secured additional funds for our county and state roads in areas affected by

 energy production. I also continue to fight the conversion of paved roads to gravel roads because it sets a dangerous precedent in a state that relies so heavily on the fortunes of the energy economy.