Houstonian Voting (Part I): House of Representatives

From the Editor:  As part of his multi-instalment series covering the intricacies of the upcoming presidential election in the United States, SAS catalyst candidate and guest contributor to The Eye, Allen Wang, will be maintaining this featured column: POTUS POLITICS 2016.  As with all articles in The Eye, we welcome your feedback, opposing viewpoints, or commentary in the “Reply” section at the end of this piece. 

texas-10th-district
Texas Congressional District 10 (from wrhammons.com)

Howdy, again.

I figured writing this would be relevant for the SAS community, as I’ve noticed or keep hearing about how we have a large Houston, Texas community. I, myself, was born in Houston, Texas; I went to school at CFISD (Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District).

I’ll be giving a rundown on the candidates for the Texas’ 10th Congressional District for the House of Representatives for those who are interested in local politics back home, and aren’t sure who to vote for on their absentee ballot. And as voters, we typically have a bad knack of offhandedly voting incumbents that we aren’t entirely sure of who they are or what they do. If we armed ourselves with more knowledge on what our representatives are doing in Congress, then we potentially could be less unsatisfied with how things are going by avoiding absently voting in a polarizing or uncooperative politician.

You can take this quiz from ISideWith.com to help find your political match in the Houston Congressional election, on top of parsing my analyses.

michael-mccaul
Michael McCaul (from Statesman.com)

First, we have incumbent Michael McCaul (R). He’s been voted into Congress since 2005, and therefore has the most extensive political career compared to all the other candidates. Ontheissues.com, a non-partisan and extensive guide to American politics and politicians, rates him as a “hard-core conservative.”

(I want to keep this article short, so I’ll be doing further analyses on some takeaways I personally find very significant on his voting record later.)

Michael McCaul…

  1. Believes that Marijuana is a gateway drug,
  2. Is opposed to prioritizing green energy (he’s from Texas, after all – we have a ton of oil to use),
  3. Favors businesses over government in economic recovery,
  4. Is against avoiding foreign entanglements and wants to expand the military,
  5. Believes in absolute right to gun ownership,
  6. Wants to keep God in the public sphere,
  7. Is rated as anti-gay-rights,
  8. and is staunchly anti-abortion.

For more extensive run downs on these points, and a closer look at his voting record, I implore you to look at Ballotpedia and Ontheissues.org

Secondly, we have Tawana Cadien. She’s the democratic candidate, and was defeated by McCaul in 2012. Her background demonstrates heavy involvement in social/industrial

828convention06.jpg
Tawana Cadien at the DNC in Denver, Colorado (from the Wall Street Journal)

organizations in healthcare and education.

Honestly, her campaign and record is nothing compared to McCaul’s. This makes her political position lack a significant amount of technical detail,  and it doesn’t help that she doesn’t  take time to justify how her goals are practical and effective. In other words, I feel that the only thing going for her is being a democrat. It’s hard for anyone to disagree with anything her campaign has said on the issues it wishes to address (like help our seniors and our children), and if anything, critics can tackle why she wishes to use government as the vehicle for social good. She tries to use pathos to get votes, and it’s likely that that’s not enough for her to secure a victory.

Tawana…

  1. Believes “healthcare should be readily accessible” through comprehensive reform,
  2. Wants a “stronger” homeland security team, that will ”eliminate fear and replace it with confidence,”
  3. Got a 0% rating from the National Rifle Association,
  4. Wishes for better worker protections, veteran aid, and bolstering benefits for seniors.

Her campaign does have substance in what seems to be the primary issue she wishes to address – healthcare.

As a democrat, she will likely gather votes from the uninsured and unemployed, and believes that because Texas has the highest number of uninsured citizens in the country, McCaul’s anti-Obamacare position is not good for the district and those in need. She asserts that she “will bring compassion to the table,” and feels that her candidacy also represents protest against Donald Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric that has demeaned women.

“The fight against the Affordable Care Act hits every woman. This Act has provisions that simply state that insurance companies can no longer consider being a woman as a “pre-existing condition.” We are mothers, educators, receptionists, lawyers, business owner, pilots, nurses, chefs, community volunteers, and the list goes on. But we are not a “pre-existing condition.” So when members of Congress fight against measures that try to stop women from being considered as such, they are fighting against all of us….regardless of our party affiliation.”

Lastly, we’ve got a wild card in the race – an independent Libertarian, Bill Kelsey. He only focuses on three issues, but seems to be pragmatic on them. I feel like he’s a lot like Tawana Cadien in the respect that he’s 1) got specificity on the issues he cares about, 2)

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Bill Kelsey (from his Campaign Website, Kelseyforcongress.com)

doesn’t have solid political experience to bolster his campaign, 3) only has a few blurbs of opinion on his website and social media to appeal to voters, but 4) accommodates for a very specific, very involved, very principled, and steadfast ideological support-base.

Bill wants to:

  1. Progressively disengage from foreign entanglements, which includes military and flawed diplomatic alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia,
  2. Re-characterize illegal immigrants as ‘“illegal” by virtue of obscure bureaucratic technicalities,’ and as ‘refugees from deadly situations and could not afford the time or expense of the legal process,’
  3. Eventually phase out the income tax by firstly making cuts and benefits towards the poorest, working Americans.

He demonstrates focus, although no political record nor extensive case against his rivals, that can really bolster his candidacy as a third party candidate. He effectively points out the major foreign policy flaws of America, serves as an alternative to the establishment-allied Tawana Cadien and Michael McCaul, and brings new voice to the system as a common, practical man, that a lot of voters feel lacks in the status quo.

Let’s be more aware of the people who are running for Congress. Although two of the three candidates would lose if we looked at what their ability to campaign, they harbor an ideology that is incredibly distinct from our incumbent and would probably be effective replacements for a hard-core conservatives if you wish to vote that route.

Author: Allen Wang

Allen is a guest contributing writer for the SAS EYE, the Substitute Editor in Chief for Students and Politics, and is writing a series of articles for his Catalyst project on politics. He has helped restart the Students for Political Activism club, is overseeing the transition of leadership, is an avid MUNner, and will attend George Washington University in the fall. For all inquires, please email him at wang43537@sas.edu.sg

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