Oct. 11–Mike Collier, Democratic candidate for Texas lieutenant governor and challenger to incumbent Dan Patrick, laid out his platform’s goals during a recent interview with The Item.
Collier worked for 20 years as a top executive at Price Waterhouse Cooper, an international accounting firm, and then became chief financial officer of a Texas oil company. He wants to use that experience to help the public.
“I’ve always believed that politics would work a lot better if our politicians had skills in the private sector and offered it up for the public good,” Collier said. “I always knew that I would take my accounting and financial skills and apply them to politics.”
Collier’s main concerns with Texas are with gerrymandering voting districts, property taxes and public education. According to Collier, if elected, his main focus would be moving Texas to an independent redistricting model.
“The root cause of political divisiveness is gerrymandering,” Collier added. “Because of big data these districts are drawn to be pure republican or pure democrat and congressmen and congresswomen represent districts that are pure “R” or pure “D.” Because of this their political survival relies on them fighting the other guys. If you aren’t extreme you get a primary opponent…right now it’s political hacks that survive, not the true statesman.”
Collier is also looking to close corporate property loopholes that allow large industry to not pay their “fair share” of property taxes. He referred to 1997 legislation that significantly reduced the property tax liability of everything from luxury hotels to oil refineries. Some school districts, cities and counties have been forced to refund millions in tax payments to corporations that used the law to protest and reduce their appraisals.
“The state of Texas has loses nearly $15 billion a year in revenue from previous bad decisions,” Collier said. “The only way to solve the problems are to go back and fix those dumb decisions that were made. Homeowners and small businesses have been greatly cheated by this and they know it.”
The Democratic candidate also wants to “properly fund” public education and allow for small class sizes and increases in special education and pre-kindergarten programs.
“It’s a waste of teachers’ time if they have to try to teach 30-plus kids,” Collier said. “There are also nowhere near enough special education teachers in Texas and we need much more pre-kindergarten education programs, especially in the inner cities. If we did those three things, you would see a dramatic improvement in our education system.”
Collier also believes in supplying for an increase in career and technical training at the high school level.
“We need programs, so those that aren’t college bound can quickly find themselves in a career quickly and make money,” Collier added. “I think community colleges are also hugely important to the success of our economy.”
The general election will be held Nov. 6, with early voting beginning on Oct. 22.
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