Growing Prosperity in Rural Texas
We should foster investment in public education, jobs, healthcare, and infrastructure to revitalize rural Texas communities, and level the playing field for Texas farmers, ranchers, and farm workers.
Julie was born in South Oak Cliff but at age eleven her family moved to a little town called Ovilla. As the daughter of a public school teacher, she understands the challenges that working Texans in rural Texas face.
For too long, country club politicians in DC have paid lip service to rural Texans and funnelled money to big corporations while our hospitals close, teachers lack adequate resources in schools, and infrastructure lags behind the rest of the country -- a problem that is only being exacerbated as automation takes more jobs.
While these politicians say “America First,” they support agriculture policy that allows foreign corporations to buy out our local mid-sized producers -- allowing mergers and opposing policies like COOL that allow foreign meat producers to undercut Texas cattle ranchers.
And for decades, this country’s agriculture system has grown increasingly concentrated in the hands of big corporate multinational agriculture monopolies. That makes our system unfair, unsustainable, and unstable for farmers, workers, and consumers.
Texans have seen this play out in “get big or get off the farm” policies to corporate consolidation in seed, fertilizer, pesticide, farm machinery, meatpacking, and more. That has paved the way for giant agribusiness monopolies to hollow out rural communities while they make enormous profits.
There are currently four corporations that control 88% of the beef industry, and there are three corporations controlling 66% of the pork industry -- that leaves Texas’ farmers with too little power to negotiate fair contracts, and as a result, they’re left with few options other than entering unfair contracts that allow corporations to dictate how they raise their livestock, set their prices, and bring their stock to market.
That's why Julie believes that we need to break up Big Ag to level the playing field for Texas’ small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers. That means enforcing our antitrust laws so Texas farmers can work their own land and be competitive in today’s markets.
Texas’ rural hospitals have been facing a crisis for many years. At least 18 hospitals in rural Texas have closed since 2013 and 80 Texas counties have 5 or fewer doctors.
This is an urgent crisis that demands our immediate attention, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. Julie has 15 years of healthcare finance experience and a deep understanding of how we can get healthcare delivered to every single Texan. We need to increase funding to build more rural hospitals.
And just as rural Texas communities are underserved by medical care, that problem is compounded by the lack of high-quality internet and choice in providers. As of 2016, only 69 percent of rural Texans could access high-speed internet. In our wired economy, with big companies automating our jobs, and an epidemic that has exposed the importance of telehealth and connected classrooms, Julie believes it is critical that every household in rural Texas be guaranteed high-speed broadband internet.
More than 4 million Texans, mostly in rural areas, currently lack internet access. As technology has become tantamount to opportunity, Julie knows that we must work to bring broadband to rural Texas, so that every Texan can engage fully in our modern world.
If Texas businesses are going to thrive, new jobs are to be created, and our economy is to remain competitive in the national and global economies, Congress must fund the investment in guaranteed high-quality broadband. It is essential for health care services, for our schools and education system, our economy, and the day-to-day needs of every Texan.
On top of it all, the COVID-19 recession has affected every single household in America. Rural Texas is no exception. That’s why Julie is fighting to revitalize rural Texas’ economy, invest in rural communities, and create a stronger framework for a more prosperous and inclusive rural economy.
You can count on Julie to fight for rural Texas more than any other candidate, because you'll never have to worry about where her priorities lie. She has sworn off all corporate PAC money. Julie is fighting for people, not corporations and lobbyists.
In Congress, Julie's commitments include:
1. Enforcing our antitrust laws, disrupting price fixing and collusion, and ensuring fair competition and open markets for Texas ranchers and farmers.
2. Providing funding for Hospitals to offer community health clinic services, skilled nursing facility care, and home health alongside traditional hospital services.
3. Upgrading and providing robust infrastructure for rural Texas, including upgrades to water and wastewater systems roads, bridges and highways, and modernizing our schools.
4. Expanding Telemedicine so people can talk to doctors from the comfort of their homes.
5. Expanding debt forgiveness for doctors, dentists, and nurses who practice in rural Texas, and increasing funding for helicopters/ambulances to transport patients.
6. Funding improvements to modernize the electric grid and increase electricity efficiency.
7. Encouraging business to locate jobs in rural Texas instead of outsourcing to foreign countries, and penalizing companies that offshore jobs or pay starvation wages.
8. Guaranteeing high-quality, high-speed internet to every Texan by passing a 21st Century Telecommunication Act, and expanding access to fast, low cost internet by utilizing cooperatives that deliver electricity and telephone to deliver broadband internet.
9. Restoring the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), which was the entity charged with leveling the playing field and protect independent farmers and producers from monopoly power, disbanded by the Trump administration in 2017.
10. Ending loopholes that corporate agribusiness exploits and ensuring that taxpayer dollars that should be going to family farmers get to them instead of huge factory farms.
11. Rebuilding and expanding health care infrastructure in rural Texas, including hospitals, emergency departments, mental health clinics, and more.
12. Lowering the cost of prescription drugs and making prescription drugs more accessible to rural Texans.
13. Investing in small businesses in rural Texas and ending corporate welfare and giant tax breaks to big multinational corporations that just ship the jobs overseas.
14. Strengthening federal crop insurance programs for Texas farmers who are being squeezed by rising production costs, including corn, sorghum, winter wheat, cattle, and others.
15. Holding Big Ag accountable for environmental pollution and labor abuses.
16. Improving water efficiency and quality by expanding funding for programs such as the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
17. Investing in regenerative agriculture by offering incentives to producers for planting cover crops, no-till drilling, and intensive rotational grazing to sequester carbon and create a more resilient local food system.
Watch a discussion on investing in rural communities and agriculture policy with Julie here.