The race for Texas Congressional District 25 is between incumbent Republican Roger Williams, Democrat Kathi Thomas and Libertarian Loren Marc Schneiderman. The district is in the central portion of the state and includes Bosque, Burnet, Coryell, Hamilton, Hill, Johnson, Lampasas, and Somervell counties as well as areas of Bell, Erath, Hays, Tarrant, and Travis counties.
Williams was elected to the office in 2012. He is a small businessman who owns a car dealership in Weatherford, just west of Fort Worth. Thomas, a wedding planner from Dripping Springs, wants a return to “reasonable governance,” with a focus on promoting cooperation on Capitol Hill. Schneiderman is the current Travis County Libertarian Party Executive chairman and states he wants to substantially reduce the size and intrusiveness of government and cut all taxes.
Do you support your party’s candidate for president, and if your party’s candidate does not win, are you willing to work with the other party’s candidate?
Schneiderman: If the American people are not successful in electing the best candidate for president — Gary Johnson — then I will put my faith in the down-ballot candidates. Working with Congress no matter their party affiliation is best for the American people and the 25th Congressional District. I would work with them. I must also add that Congress has ruined their relationship with the American people — they must focus on repairing that. The real question is: Can the people work with a Congress who is more concerned with special interest groups and lobbyists?
Thomas: Yes, I support Hillary Clinton for president. With maybe the exception of Thomas Jefferson, I think she’s the best-qualified person ever to run. If the GOP candidate wins, I will work with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to protect our country, should he try to do some of the things he’s said about our allies and Russia. We must keep our country safe and honor our Constitution. As long as he obeys the Constitution and common decency, I will do my best to work with him.
Williams: I support who the American people chose to be the Republican nominee for president. I will continue to work to repair the economy that the Obama administration has devastated for the last eight years.
How do you intend to promote better health care for veterans at the federal level?
Schneiderman: I favor a free-market health care system. I recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. Veteran’s Affairs has failed our after care for our military. The VA must turn its focus to the patient and not on the business of running a business. Congress must lead the charge. If a soldier is first to take a bullet, he or she should be first in line for care. The free market health care could also provide better services for veterans.
Thomas: All troops returning from the war zones should have PTSD/TBI screenings. Need more mental health services and funding. Tax dividends and capital gains over $50,000 as regular income and use money for veteran health and mental care. Raise payments to independent doctors for veterans living too far from VA clinics/hospitals, to encourage them to take veterans as patients. Streamline way the VA takes patient appointments, and possibly need more funding so that there are more professionals there who can help veterans. So many more living with incredibly serious injuries, not sure current system set up to help appropriately.
Williams: There needs to be greater accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs, period. There needs to be more oversight and specific objectives and timelines established and met so that our government upholds its end of the deal in adequately caring for those who sacrificed for their country. Today, our veterans are dying because of the VA’s incompetence.
What are your top three priorities if you are elected?
Schneiderman: They key to any successful platform is to increase our freedoms and limit the size and power of an over-reaching government. Save our country from special interest groups — national and international by ending crony capitalism contracts, revamp our foreign policy, downsize government institutions, localize education, reconsider many of our social welfare programs, impose term limits, restore individual property rights, balance the budget, free market health care, eliminate income tax, revisit the Constitution and re-establish the truths and limits of government for the freedoms and prosperity of all citizens.
Thomas: Comprehensive immigration reform: The right thing to do morally and ethically and good for business, too. Climate change legislation: It will affect the next generations; its’s irresponsible to ignore the science. It will affect our surface water (estimates 10 to 40 percent evaporation due to climate change), as well as farming and diseases. (As we get warmer, more “tropical” diseases and insects move further north.) Move subsidies and tax breaks from fossil fuels to wind, solar and thorium R&D. Campaign finance reform: The people have the right to know who is funding candidates and issues. Without knowledge, we can’t make informed decisions.
Williams: Lowering the national debt, fixing the sluggish Obama economy and ensuring our military remains the strongest fighting force in the world.
Do you favor federal standards for education? Why or why not?
Schneiderman: Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Recognizing that the education of children is a parental responsibility, we would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education. States must play a stronger role. Local communities need to better define their needs. We have ruined our education systems because government played an increasing negative role.
Thomas: Yes, because people move from state to state, we must have a federally set minimum standard, so that we have some standards countrywide for our schools. States should be able to have higher standards if they wish. Our country has been so successful at least in part due to our educational system.
Williams: I believe the states and local governments are in the best positions to know what is best for their own communities, not government bureaucrats in Washington.
Do you intend to do anything at the federal level to ensure a sustainable supply of drinking water capable of supporting future population growth within the district?
Schneiderman: Competitive free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Governments are unaccountable for damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air and wildlife. Texas is a valuable resource for the future.
Thomas: We need to do all we can to slow down climate change to keep our surface water from evaporating so much faster. Encourage water conservation — offering incentives to cities that lower water consumption. Have the FHA change their rules so they will finance homes with rainwater as their sole source of water to encourage more RWH. More money/incentives for desalination of brackish water R&D — must use less energy to process and find a use for the salt that is removed. Must also stop fracking from using potable water — it is a waste of good water to let them poison it.
Williams: In September I voted for the passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, which will provide critical investment in the country’s aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. I believe our national government should do three things: defend our nation, build our infrastructure and collect our taxes. After that, it should get out of the way.