VG 11.08: State Representative District 75
Posted on October 20, 2008
Candidates: Charlie Garza, Chente Quintanilla
Salary and budget: Legislators earn $600 a month plus a $151per diem for a maximum of 12 days a month. This is in addition to a $12,250 monthly budget for expenses related to state business including running their district and capitol offices. They also receive a 50.5 cent miliage allowance
Term: Members of the Texas House of Representatives are elected for two-year terms.
Carlos “Charlie” Garza
Occupation: Assistant Principal, Desert Hills Elementary
Education: The George Washington University, PhD. Candidate; Old Dominion University, M.S.; Eastern CT. State University, ABT; Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, IL, BS
Relevant Experience: U.S. Navy (Retired), Republican of the Year 2001, Nominated to be the United States Under Secretary of Homeland Security, Top Secret Control Officer, Casualty Assistance Calls Officer (CACO) Secretary of the Navy representative entrusted with honoring and taking care of service members families who gave their lives for our country, Liaison for the White House, The Secretary of the Navy, Office of Legislative Affairs, Aide to Senator Frist/Tipper Gore, Nominated National Hispanic Image Award (2x), National Hispanic Leadership Summit (3X), National Who’s Who Among Teachers (4x), Member of the State Republican Executive Committee
What are the top three state issues for the next Legislature? Change the TAKS/End of Course accounting system. Currently a one-day snap shot is the sole measure to determine a student’s success. Chente has created a ‘one size fits all’ approach via standardized testing. My approach allows an accountability system that mirrors the college-admissions process whereby decisions are based on multiple factors, one of which is the standardized test. Secondly military and first responder’s children are discriminated. According to state law a student must have three years in one foreign language. The fact is not all school districts offer the same foreign language curriculum. The language of the law should be changed to allow students to take whatever language is available. The method by which property taxes are calculated and levied should be reformed, including (a) limitations on the revenue growth generated from any single piece of property year-after-year, (b) making members of the appraisal review boards answerable to the public rather than the taxing entities which appoint them, and (c) creating a uniform statewide standard for property tax appraisal.
What are the top three El Paso issues for the next state Legislature? The “gross margins tax” on Texas business, which has been labeled a business income tax by the Federal Accounting Standards Board, should be eliminated. Some specific state taxes and fees are diverted from their intended purpose. A levy should either be used for its intended purpose or abolished. Unfunded mandates should be prohibited. We should be able to appeal to the offices of the Attorney General and Comptroller, which in turn would investigate the claim and would have the authority to suspend regulation pending further action or clarification by the Legislature.
What are the top three issues for District 75 in the next state Legislature? Help bring good paying jobs to El Paso, cut taxes and improve schools.
Has House Speaker Tom Craddick been a friend or foe to El Paso, both in terms of specific projects (such as the medical school) and in terms of policy and programs? El Paso by voting straight demarcate ticket has created an adversarial system. Chente refuses to debate, relying on people to vote straight ticket. People throughout the state ask how do you take him seriously. Cathie Adams said it best when she said “Chente says he is for the people with his slogan ‘por la gente.’ The facts show otherwise …Quintanilla voted 76% of the time to raise taxes. This example clearly shows how Quintanilla is out of touch with his district, a more accurate phrase should be “con Chente paga la gente.”
How important is a good relationship with the state leadership in the executive and legislative branches? Extremely important, I will reach out to any and every one who supports the needs of El Paso regardless of party.
What do you think the surplus should be spent on next session? Provide a raise to retiree teachers who have not seen a raise in years and properly fund schools.
What items have you included in your legislative agenda and what priority have you given to each? Tax relief, transparency in government spending, education, and lower fuel costs.
What specific committees do you want to sit on and why? Education committee: I know education and how to fix its woes. Ways and Means to help write the laws that will spur the economy and improve the plight of people.
Inocente “Chente” Quintanilla
Residence: Tornillo, Texas
Occupation: Education Administrator, retired
Education: Sul Ross State University, B.S. and M.Ed., Supervisory, Mid-Management, and Superintendent Certification
Relevant Experience: 2002-Present State Representative, 36 yrs. in Education @ Socorro Independent School District, Former Assistant Superintendent of Administration (21yrs.), Principal, Assistant Principal, High School Teacher, Football, Basketball and Track Coach, Jr. High Teacher, Elementary Teacher.
What are the top three state issues for the next Legislature? One of the top issues, which coincidentally is tops for El Paso as well, is property appraisal and tax reform. As a member of the Select Committee on Property Tax Relief and Appraisal Reform, we heard testimony from all areas of Texas; including El Paso. The recommendations of the committee will be the basis for legislation in the upcoming legislative session. Because the Speaker has scheduled two more meetings in November, I hesitate to comment on what the report may contain until the report is issued.
Once again, school finance will be on the books because of the shortcomings of the previous bills that were put forth by the leadership. Small businesses have experienced many difficulties because of the taxation imposed in order to pay for property tax relief of two years ago. Although the bill started out fair, the leadership allowed loopholes for too many large corporations; and ended up with a plan that taxed businesses even though that business had losses for the year.
Because the Department of Insurance is under Sunset (legislative review with the purpose of change or abolition), insurance will be a major piece of legislation. Homeowners are waiting for promised reductions in their insurance premiums. Also in this vein, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) will be deliberated extensively. TWIA’s purpose is to provide Texas citizens adequate wind and hail coverage when it is not available in the insurance marketplace; and pay insured’s claims when losses occur. The fund for its purpose this year has been reduced to dangerous levels.
What are the top three El Paso issues for the next state Legislature? As stated above, property tax and appraisals is one. We need to find the solution to provide relief for property owners.
The Paul J. Foster Medical School will need to receive funding to continue its growth. I am very confident that we will not have problems that arose in past legislatures; the school has been visited by several legislators this past summer. I personally escorted Chairman Chisum of the Appropriation Committee on a tour of the medical complex and he was very impressed.
There will be another bill in support of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in their effort to re-open the Speaking Rock Casino. It is their choice who sponsors the bill, but I support legislation that allows each county to decide if gambling is allowed. After all, each county decides whether liquor is sold within the county.
What are the top three issues for District 75 in the next state Legislature? The first is healthcare. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission has failed to implement the increases in Medicaid reimbursement rates that should have been in place in 2007. I, along with other Democratic Caucus members, will continue to pressure Commissioner Hawkins to once and for all fund the reimbursements so that the needy will get healthcare and so that our doctors will get a fair reimbursement for their services.
Education for poor districts and students will be another important issue. Efforts will be made once again to reduce revenue sharing by rich school districts with poorer school districts. I assure the families, students and teachers in the schools of El Paso County that I will fight against any reductions. Another part of education is the effort to modify the Top Ten Percent admissions law. It is a fair law and rewards poor Hispanic, African-American and rural white students for their efforts. The results of ten years with the rule prove its value.
Another issue my office will be pursuing is funding for Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP). This program provides important funding for colonia areas such as those in District 75. Recently, the scope of the program has been widened too much resulting in reduced opportunities for our constituents. I will work with my colleagues to try and focus those funds on colonias, the original reason for EDAP.
Has House Speaker Tom Craddick been a friend or foe to El Paso, both in terms of specific projects (such as the medical school) and in terms of policy and programs? I believe that Speaker Craddick has, in his capacity as Speaker of the House, acted according to a political philosophy. That philosophy has tended to short change many needs for El Paso County. It is the responsibility of the minority to fight against those harmful issues; which I and the Democratic Caucus have done repeatedly since 2003. That is part of the political process in the legislature. I shy away from placing a label on Speaker Craddick. I understand the politics in the House. We all advocate for our district and eventually, maybe this year, the leadership changes (either by vote or by the behavior of the speaker) and the issues that we, the minority, advocated begin to be favored.
How important is a good relationship with the state leadership in the executive and legislative branches? I feel it is very important to be able to talk to the leadership. That is why I avoid making negative comments about a specific individual. I enjoy good relations with many members from across the aisle.
What do you think the surplus should be spent on next session? I stated earlier this year in the Times that I felt the money should be returned to the property owners in the form of buying down taxes. After that consideration, I feel that we can have a substantial amount available for providing healthcare for Texans who have a modest income.
What items have you included in your legislative agenda and what priority have you given to each? Part of our legislative agenda is derived from constituent conversations or needs. Based on these, I will consider filing legislation that provides seniors more protection from unscrupulous Medicare Advantage Plan agents; protecting property owners from multinational petroleum companies imposing on their land; restricting the use of nitrous oxide on vehicles designed on common roadways; and providing parents some means of monitoring the texting by their minor children. These are not a complete list and the priorities will be sorted closer to the session. Other legislation that I will sponsor may be suggested later by the leadership, another member or by various state organizations.
What specific committees do you want to sit on and why? Actually, I have been happy with the Committee on Local Government Ways and Means as well as the Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures. Both have provided me a strong tool for assisting constituents locally; which is my main focus as an elected official. With some attrition in the House, my seniority may result with my appointment to other more powerful committees, as was the case with the Speaker appointing me to the Select Committee on Property Tax Relief and Appraisal Reform.
Voter Guide 11.2008 Online Resources
Races included in the Voter Guide 11.2008
Attached as a pdf is the Voter Guide brought to you by El Paso Media Group and the El Paso Chamber of Commerce.
Download your own personal copy of the Voter Guide and read it on your computer or print it out and read through it during your lunch break.
Races included in the Voter Guide 11.2008
State Representative District 75; Charlie Garza, Chente Quintanilla
State Representative District 78; Dee Margo, Joe Moody
8th Court of Appeals, Judge Place 3; Kenn Carr, Guadalupe “Lupe” Rivera
448th District Court; Christopher Antcliff, Regina Arditti
County Criminal District Court #1; Manuel Barraza, Don Minton
County Sheriff; George Stoltz, Richard Wiles
Attached as a pdf is the Voter Guide brought to you by El Paso Media Group and the El Paso Chamber of Commerce. Download your own personal copy of the Voter Guide and read it on your computer or print it out and read through it during your lunch break.
For more information:
Fax: 915 546-2220
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