Jonathan's Platform

Economy

Small business is the backbone of our district’s local economy. They strengthen the economy and help sustain our communities. However, small businesses in HD-54 have struggled under years of disinvestment and a lack of support from representatives. This is why Jonathan believes in expanding and properly utilizing federal CARES Act funding as well as investing in grants for tech companies, and micro businesses. We can diversify our economy while also building up our local entrepreneurs.

Investing in small businesses and entrepreneurs to expand our job market and build an economy focused on creating future growth means that tangible changes are coming. Jonathan knows that our infrastructure plan and a focus on small business will bring hundreds of jobs to HD-54. He  intends to revitalize jobs in local construction and childcare as well as new sectors like tech. He believes HD-54 will play an important role in securing domestic production and local supply chains. He will harness the educational resources in our district to provide the training and retraining necessary for young people, retiring military, and workers transitioning out of industries of the past to secure these reliable, well-paying, forward-thinking jobs

For too long, the importance of central Texas and the needs of its residents have been overlooked. Now is the time for us to step forward as economic leaders of Texas and the nation. He believes bringing the educational, personnel, technical, and natural resources of HD-54 together is key to bringing Bell County, and all of Texas, into the future.

Education

In a rapidly modernizing economy, we need to set up our kids for success. That means ensuring that our public schools have the resources and freedom needed to find innovative ways to prepare students for college and careers. Texas ranks in the bottom 10 states for per pupil spending, and Jonathan believes it is time for that to change.

Problems with teacher retention have reached crisis levels in Texas. Every teacher who leaves the profession costs taxpayers approximately $20,000 in lost training and endangers student opportunities to thrive in the classroom. These problems have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We can improve our public education system by:

  • Increasing per-pupil spending to be on par with the national average.
  • Using the full amount of federal COVID relief funds intended for education on our schools, NOT to fill other holes in the state budget.
  • Investing in rural broadband and technology for schools across the state.
  • Investing in higher teacher salaries and professional development programs to increase teacher retention.

Additionally, Jonathan believes it is not only possible but imperative for teachers and parents to work together in providing the highest quality education for the children of Texas. We must trust our dedicated educators to manage their classrooms, their libraries, and their curriculums using modern, evidence-based strategies. Teachers understand the developmental importance of difficult conversations, hard historical truths, and controversial topics. At the same time, parents must have the opportunity to participate in their children’s education and share what is important to their families and communities. Family members must feel welcome and heard at their children’s schools. 

Infrastructure

Jonathan sees improving our infrastructure as a giant step in District 54’s progress. Jonathan knows that infrastructure is a multi-faceted topic. He has four key infrastructure priorities for HD-54:

  1. Providing access to clean water: Across the district, our cities are dealing with crumbling water infrastructure, boil water notices, rapidly dropping water tables, and catastrophic water pollution. Jonathan will expand funding to ensure every resident has access to clean drinking water. He believes it is time to take a proactive approach to ensure the safety of our water for generations to come, rather than reacting to each crisis as it hits. 
  2. Fixing roads and bridges: Winter storm Uri hit our state hard. Fixing the damages and building a stronger system for the future will cost $160 million. Jonathan believes we need to invest money and resources to create a long term solution to the road damage caused by our hot summers and cold winters. We need to enlarge and improve the highways that connect our communities. Developing transportation infrastructure is key to attracting new jobs to our area.
  3. Childcare: Talking with parents in the district has made it clear that HD-54 families are concerned about the high cost of childcare. Jonathan will increase funding to create more childcare centers, as well as increase wages for childcare workers.
  4. Rural Broadband: Providing accessible and affordable broadband internet is one of the key steps in invigorating our economy and helping small businesses get off the ground. Affordable broadband internet is necessary for our children to access the education tools they need from home. Jonathan will push for broadband expansion to move forward quickly and equitably.

Veteran Care

Being the gold-star son of a Brigadier General killed in Afghanistan, Jonathan holds the well-being of veterans near to his heart. Conversations with HD-54 veterans have identified the need to improve the healthcare access of those who have served as a priority. Jonathan plans to do this by:

  • shortening wait times and decreasing the distances veterans and their families must travel to access quality health care resources in Bell County. 
  • destigmatizing mental health care.
  • addressing the high suicide rates among veterans.
  • legalizing marijuana to keep veterans with chronic pain from developing devastating opioid addictions.

Another key issue for veterans inHD-54 is employment. Risk of unemployment is part of the complex environment veterans face as they transition out of service, and it can trigger additional struggles with homelessness, substance abuse, incarceration, or suicide. While Texas has significant legislation in place protecting veterans’ employment, such as the Texas Military Veterans’ Full Employment Act of 2015, there is still more that can be done on the state level. 

Jonathan will advocate for more of the apprenticeships, on-the-job training programs, and technical certifications that allow veterans to translate their military experience and training into the civilian workforce. He will continue to support veteran-owned small businesses and expand tax-abatement programs for veterans.

Criminal Justice

Jonathan believes the safety needs of our communities and the personal freedoms of individuals must be balanced through reasonable reforms to criminal justice, prison, and law enforcement systems.

He is committed to changing the standards of police procedure at a systemic level. He will fight to fund and implement improved training and education with an eye toward a more collaborative relationship between communities and law enforcement. He will push to change policies and procedures that disproportionately affect historically disenfranchised populations.

Simultaneously, Jonathan believes in the importance of making mental health services and professionals part of the regular community support system. He recognizes that community members and police officers alike are safer when trained mental health professionals are present to aid in de-escalation and conflict resolution.

The backlog of cases in Bell County is unacceptable and must be addressed. Jonathan will fight to protect every individual’s constitutional right to a fair, speedy trial. He believes that everyone deserves access to quality legal representation, as well as equitable bail and sentencing standards. He intends to fight legislation that disproportionately targets people of color and poor people.

Reproductive Rights

Jonathan believes in bodily autonomy and will fight for every person’s right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term. His own birth mother, at 12 years old, was given the choice and community support necessary to carry him to term. He believes all people should have the same right to decide what is appropriate for their own bodies.

He believes all health care decisions should be made between a patient and their trained medical provider. He will expand access to reproductive health care, including abortion care and contraception, for all Texans. He will fight to overturn the horrific abortion bans currently in place in Texas.

Jonathan will also fight to bring scientifically-based, age-appropriate comprehensive sex education to Texas, as research shows this to be one of the most effective ways to reduce abortion rates.

Cannabis Reform

Jonathan is a firm believer in the benefits of medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD, chronic pain, as well as other illnesses. Veterans and civilians alike deserve access to this well-researched, safe alternative to highly addictive opioids.

Additionally, he believes it is time for Texas to legalize marijuana for 21+ recreational use and take advantage of the fiscal benefits of a regulated marijuana industry as other states have done for years. Many of the infrastructure costs HD-54 faces could be paid for through a cannabis tax.

Although marijuana use is roughly equivalent across racial groups, Black Americans are almost 4 times as likely to be arrested. Decriminalization and legalization will go a long way to alleviating the overcrowding of our criminal justice system caused by minor marijuana charges.

Jonathan has worked alongside other Bell County organizations and candidates to successfully get decriminalization of marijuana on the ballot in Killeen and Harker Heights for the upcoming election.

Gun Violence

Jonathan is a licensed and trained gun owner. He recognizes the importance of the 2nd amendment. He also believes responsible gun owners have an obligation to protect our communities through reasonable safety measures.

The consequences of gun violence weigh far too heavily on our schools, teachers, and students. Jonathan is prepared to work with other legislators to enact a wide range of protections, including improving school safety protocols, training law enforcement, and enforcing current gun laws more effectively.

He will also advocate for universal background checks and red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who are a danger to themselves or others. Because the vast majority of mass shootings are done by 18-21 year old males using assault style rifles, Jonathan believes in limiting the purchasing and ownership of these rifles to 21+.

While Jonathan recognizes the need for increased mental health services in our communities, he also recognizes that not all mental illness leads to gun violence and not all gun violence is caused by mental illness. He will push to increase funding for comprehensive research and gun violence deterrent programs that address all the causes of gun violence.

Voting

Voting is a sacred right and an essential duty. Voting legally should be free, fair, and easy.

Period.