The Trib talks to the first declared Democratic candidate for Governor.
The Tribune spoke to Payne about his ideas for the state and how he plans on building momentum ahead of the election to mobilize Texans. The following is an edited and condensed version of the interview.
What changes would you try to implement as governor?
Our educational system is very much underfunded, and we need to get back to the basics. We have too many rules and regulations in place and we need to give the power back to the professionals — those are the teachers and the parents. We also need to make our colleges and universities more accessible to everyone and stop the huge increases in tuition happening each and every year.
Currently we have 2.2 million undocumented individuals in Texas. We need to provide a compassionate, and strict, policy to allow those undocumented individuals a pathway to citizenship. We need to stop treating undocumented individuals with the venom that we’ve been treating them with.
We also need to bring Medicaid expansion to Texas and ensure that women’s health is brought back to the forefront.
I support and uphold the Second Amendment wholeheartedly, but we need to continue to design policies that will provide more education and the promotion of gun safety.
Gerrymandering is not democracy, as far as I’m concerned. I believe our districts should be designed by an independent group so that they’re fair to all Texans and not just a particular group of individuals.
The last thing I’ll tackle is foster care. We had a law come down this past regular legislative session that allows adoption agencies to actually turn people away. There’s already a small group of people within our state who want to adopt or are eligible to adopt, and to limit that sends a horrible message to those children who need adopting. As someone who came out of the foster care system myself, that’s a law I would work to change almost immediately.
See here for some background. There’s more to the interview, but that’s the most important bit. Payne has company in the race from Tom Wakely, whose website has now been updated to accurately reflect his candidacy. I saw a bit of chatter on Facebook over the weekend that Mike Collier, who is now running for Lt. Governor, is thinking about switching to this race. Whether he does or not I feel reasonably confident that Payne and Wakely won’t be the only candidates running. For now, see what you think about Jeffrey Payne.