By LESLEE BASSMAN, Four Points News
The Texas House District 47 race is heating up as the primaries are getting closer and seven candidates are vying for incumbent Rep. Paul Workman’s seat.
As of the filing deadline on Dec. 11, Candace Aylor, Elaina Fowler, Vikki Goodwin, Will Simpson, and Sheri Soltes are running in the Democratic primary election, while Workman, Patty Vredevelt, and Jay Wiley are running in the Republican primary election.
The primary elections are on March 6 and a runoff election will be May 22 if needed. The general election is Nov. 6. Members of the Texas House of Representatives serve two-year terms and are not subject to term limits.
Each candidate was asked to respond to the following three questions, in 60 words or less:
- Briefly describe your background.
- Why are you running for office?
- What are your top priorities if elected?
This Q&A is in alphabetical order and Democrat candidates are marked with D and Republican candidate are marked with R. Here are the candidates responses.
Candace Aylor – D
- As a Registered Nurse, licensed in Texas for 16 years, I have worked in multiple settings, including ER, ICU, as well as in mental health, and writing Texas Medicaid medical policy. As a mother and advocate, I have worked for years to transform the child serving systems at the local, state and National levels.
- I’m bringing lived experience to the House floor. As mother, a nurse, and as an advocate and activist ensuring the voices of families & communities are heard in places of power, I believe the only way Texans can thrive and live full lives is if the power structures that govern our lives and our bodies are ones in which we want to participate.
- Healthcare 4 All: includes preparing our state’s health systems to be capable of mitigating risks from losing the 1115 Medicaid waiver funds, and ultimately ensuring all residents of Texas have access to quality health care services, regardless if ability to pay. Protection & Justice: ensure all residents of Texas have equal rights & protections under an equitable, fair & effective Justice system.
- Elaina Fowler – D
- • State Director of Texas Retirees for American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
• Twenty years of public policy experience
• Former Chief of Staff in the legislature
• Policy aide to Austin’s Mayor Pro Tem,
• Former environmental remediation business owner
• Boards: Girl Empowerment Network, National Women’s Political Caucus of Texas, Project chair and active member with the Junior League of Austin.
2. • I am a resident and homeowner in the City Park Road neighborhood.
• Increased traffic on 2222 and 620
• Community traffic roadway issues impacting City Park Road and Riverplace Boulevard.
• Safety concerns for our children and timely arrival of emergency response personnel.
• A need for local governments to come to a consensus on social and environmentally responsible development in our area.
3. • Protect the defined benefit pension plans of our public school educators and employees.
• Fix Chapter 41 of the education code-school finance.
• Create social and environmentally responsible development legislation for communities and municipalities that have environmentally sensitive landscapes and limited greenspaces for development.
• Create a plan for drought conditions to protect homes and businesses from flash flooding –common to the district.
Vikki Goodwin – D
- Vikki Goodwin is a community activist and a mom with four children in college. She is a UT and LBJ School of Public Affairs graduate with a long history of volunteering on numerous boards and committees, including her HOA board, school committees, and civic organizations. Vikki is the broker/owner of Goodwin & Goodwin Real Estate.
- Vikki sees a need for leaders who want to honestly address the future of Texas, not divert our attention with divisive legislation. Her volunteer work with the Austin school district inspired her to advocate for public schools and teachers in the Texas Legislature. She wants Texas to remain a strong and vibrant state for her children and the next generation.
- Vikki’s top priority is making the state pay its fair share for public schools, as mandated by our state constitution, rather than ever-increasing local property taxes. She also plans to address traffic issues affecting our quality of life in Central Texas. Other priorities are environmental protections and budget transparency.
Will Simpson – D
- I am an Austin native, husband, father of three and technology executive. The focus in my executive career is Change Management, where I help companies move from a traditional command-and-control model to a servant-leader model that puts people first. It is here that I learned to live the values of transparency, integrity and candor.
- I believe that the current elected officeholders are eroding the core of our democracy by ignoring basic principles of servant leadership. They are failing to adhere to the separation of church and state and suppressing voters’ voices just to stay in power. Running for office is the action I am taking to correct this.
- My top priorities are based on what I have heard from the people of this district. They are: fixing public school finance, traffic and growth management, and water management. My overarching priorities include political gerrymandering, women’s health care rights, and ensuring all people have a voice regardless of age, gender, religious beliefs, race or sexual orientation.
Sheri Soltes – D
- Founder and CEO, Service Dogs, Inc., celebrating 30 years. We help wounded veterans and other disabled Texans by training Hearing and Service Dogs for them free of charge. Prior to that I represented injured workers as a trial attorney. I have 23 years of legislative experience.
Honors graduate, UT and UT School of Law. 25-year resident of District 47.
- You want integrity in government. So do I. I hear your despair: dangerous, congested roads, skyrocketing property taxes and reckless overdevelopment destroying our natural resources.
While he penned self-serving legislation, I wrote laws helping disabled Texans. While he played in his helicopter, I built a nonprofit rescuing hundreds of shelter dogs and helping hundreds of people. I’ll outwork Workman.
- Transportation solutions that utilize all technologies, not just those of the wealthiest lobbyists.
Return Texas to funding 60% of public schools.
Protection of our natural resources that make District 47 the most beautiful gem of Texas.
When I am in office, my door will be open to Everyone. I will continue to listen to both your concerns and your solutions.
Patty Vredevelt – R
(Did not submit a response after multiple attempts to reach.)
Jay Wiley – R
- I am a conservative Republican, father, husband to Dr. Sally Grogono, and small businessman operating a concierge medical practice. I attended The Citadel military college and St. Mary’s School of Law. Sally and I live in River Place. I organized a petition to stop low income housing locally and want Four Points to have a stronger voice.
- Last session, Paul Workman voted against property tax relief (SB 1, Aug 14, 2017), to allow school districts to increase property taxes without voter approval (HB 486, May 3, 2017), and for toll roads (SB 312, May 16, 2017), just to name a few. We need a state representative who fights for taxpayers, not downtown Austin lobbyists.
- Property tax relief is #1. Homeowners are getting soaked in Travis County. I will also focus on our critical traffic issues in Four Points. I sit in the same traffic as you and understand it better than a state rep from Spicewood ever could. If we vote the same people into office, we will keep getting the same results.
Paul Workman – R (Incumbent)
- My wife of 46 years, Sherry, and I have lived in Travis County since 1983, and we currently live in western Travis County. I have been a builder my entire life, building churches, schools, medical facilities, and apartments, to name a few examples. Most of that time I owned my own construction company, creating hundreds of jobs in Central Texas.
- I’m running for office to continue working on my top priorities: transportation, water and property tax reform. I want to continue my work with TxDOT and local leaders to find solutions to ease congestion on our overcrowded roads, like 620 and 2222. In addition, I’ll continue working to maintain a reliable supply of clean drinking water in our Highland Lakes.
- Transportation, water and property tax reform. I’m honored Governor Greg Abbott chose me to work on finding solutions to our out-of-control property taxes. We’ve developed a plan to ensure that cities and counties cannot raise your taxes by more than 4% without a vote of the people and we’re working on additional reform to prevent unfair increases in appraisals.
Texas House District 47 election: Breaking down the numbers
Filing deadline: Dec. 11, 2017
Primary election: March 6
Primary runoff: May 22
General election: Nov. 6
Texas House of Representatives seats: 150
Election term: Representatives serve for two-year terms