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My response to a science questionaire

  1. Pandemic response: Do you believe the response to Covid-19 has been appropriate in Texas and around the United States? Has this event changed how you view pandemic preparedness?

  2. Considering how little information was known about this virus, the handling of it was likely as well as can be expected from government. Information and recommendations changed quickly.

It would hoped that more people and communities can learn from this and start their own preparedness plans to gather supplies and collect funds. Local businesses, churches and relief organizations can get help to people faster and more efficiently.

People should be able to seek the treatment that they believe will help. The government should not put barriers in the way. These are decisions best left to people and their healthcare practitioners.

  1. Healthcare infrastructure: Texas has the lowest rate of health insurance coverage in the nation, resulting in reduced access to care and worse health outcomes. How would you ensure that all Texans have access to high-quality healthcare?

I would propose we take steps to untangle insurance from employment. Rather than offering benefits, the employer could pay a benefit package that the employee could spend as they wish. This would encourage more insurance companies to enter the marketplace, could help save employers money as well as employees. Job loss is a frightening thing, and losing healthcare coverage is a big part of that. It would be easier for a person on unemployment to cover their insurance premiums this way.

Of course there is no easy answer to this. Hospitals will continue doing charity care where they can and communities can make use of low cost clinics whenever possible.

    3. Climate change: What challenges do you believe Texas faces due to climate change, and how will your policies address these challenges?.

    The involvement of government in 'fighting' climate change will likely only lead to more waste and bureaucracy.

We have seen the problems in areas like Flint Michigan where the EPA and state governments failed the community.

An industry who wishes to have a positive image in the community will find ways to manage their waste and emissions in the best way possible. There are a plethora of regulations on the books already.

  1. Energy: Texas has been a leader in the energy industry for more than 100 years. As the demand for renewable energy increases, which energy sources will you prioritize and how do you plan to keep Texas at the forefront of this important industry?

    No conversation about renewable energy is complete without exploring the nuclear energy option.

    As wind and solar power options increase and become more affordable, I would expect less dependence on fossil fuels with better use of renewable energy.

    It must be remembered, that alternative energies exact an environmental cost as well.

Unfortunately the Gas and Oil industries appear to heavily rely on cronyism. As of 2019 there were what amounted to federal subsidies of 400 million a year. Government should back out of propping up industries.   


    5.Mental Health: How would you support improving mental health resources and supporting research on mental health disorders?

    This would more appropriately be dealt with by the state legislature and the communities involved.


  1. Research funding: What are your funding priorities for scientific research and development?

    If there is a need and a way to market it, there will be entrepreneurs to direct and fund it. As of December 2019, Texas was the number one destination for companies leaving California. We need to continue learning from that and keep the policies that encourage businesses to come here.


    7. Innovation: How do you plan to support the expansion of science and technology as key industries in Texas?

See the answer on # 6. Continue and improve making an economic climate that attracts industry to Texas.

    Having said that, I feel this is a state related issue and Federal government doesn't need to have a role here. States should be able to decide where their unique needs are.

  1. STEM education: How would you support the development of strong science and mathematics courses in Texas public schools?

    I don't feel that the Federal Government belongs in public education. The states, Districts, and Counties can decide best how to address this.

  1. Immigration: In 2018, foreign-born workers accounted for approximately 28% of the science and engineering workforce in Texas, a percentage which has risen steadily since 2005. What role do you think immigration plays in scientific innovation, and do you support skilled work and training visas such as H-1B and F-1 visas?

    I am in full support of work and training visas. It's a great benefit to have talent from all over the world coming here to share their knowledge and ideas.

  1. Priorities: What are your top three science policy priorities?

    Getting government out of science as much as is feasible as it can become politicized when government funding is involved. The libertarian viewpoint is to encourage as much private industry, research, and development as possible. If it's beneficial and people want it, the market will lead the way.

Committee to Elect Melanie Black
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