Sierra Club Survey Response
July 25th, 2014 | View Post
The Sierra Club
The Sierra Club logo

Our campaign received yet another political survey, this time from the Sierra Club. While many people assume that my positions inherently do not align with those of the Sierra Club, I would strongly disagree. While I do not believe taxes should be taken to accommodate environmental concerns, I feel very strongly that we are significantly damaging the environment. Furthermore, I am openly in favor of allowing individuals to pursue damages against companies that infringe on their most basic property rights.

1. What has been your greatest environmental accomplishment or your most significant activity on behalf of the environment and/or managing natural resources as an elected official, private citizen, or business owner?

As an individual and small business owner, always pursuing modest and easily maintainable living and business spaces. And when possible, utilizing any renewable technologies available to me.

Within the political realm, I am a vocal proponent of renewable energies and technologies and will continue to encourage my family, friends, and any future constituents of the benefits of self-reliance with respect to energy, food, and even transportation.

2. What environmental and natural resource goal(s) will you actively pursue in the next state legislative session if you are elected?

I would like to remove any barriers to entry, regulatory taxes, and individual usage fees and taxes from renewable technologies. Self-sustainability should be encouraged and people certainly should not be taxed for this pursuit.

3. Most of Texas cannot import or export electricity to and from other states. In other words, unlike California, we have to generate and consume all of our electricity within the state. What should the Legislature do, if anything, to ensure we have enough power to meet demand?

The legislature should remove any and all regulations regarding the transmission and selling of electricity.

4. Texas leads the country in installed wind power. As a state official, what would you do to improve market conditions for other renewable resources, such as solar and geothermal energy?

I believe that solar, wind, geothermal, and other forms of renewable energy are wonderful technologies. As a State Representative, I would ensure that the legislature removed any regulatory barriers that impeded the progress and development of these technologies.

Going further, I would consider any legislation that prohibited local municipalities from taxing or requiring expensive development review processes for individuals or businesses seeking to install renewable forms of energy.

5. Do you support homes and businesses generating their own power from renewable resources such as solar? If so, how would you reconcile the revenue loss by utilities that depend on selling kilowatt-hours? Would you support legislation to ensure that homes and businesses earn a fair market value for any excess solar generation?

I absolutely support homes and businesses generating their own power from renewable resources. I follow the technologies closely and promote them often. I would not, in any way, attempt to reconcile the revenue lost by utilities that "depend" on selling kilowatt-hours.

I would also not support any legislation that forced a “fair market value” for renewable energies. If people are inclined to turn their homes into renewable power plants then I am all for them selling their energy to whomever they saw fit (presumably the highest bidder).

6. What do you see as the most pressing issues on groundwater? Do you favor local management of groundwater resources through groundwater conservation districts or a more centralized approach?

Generally speaking I see chemical and heavy metal contaminants as pressing issues, though more recently speaking, it strikes me that a lack of water is probably a much more significant issue than contaminated water. Of course both are very serious issues needing to be dealt with.

I believe that local areas should determine the best way to monitor, regulate, and/or distribute their groundwater. I do not support a centralized mechanism for this, especially in a state as large as Texas.

7. What role do you see emerging water supply strategies such as desalination and aquifer storage and recovery playing in meeting the future water needs for the state? Does anything need to be done to enhance the role of these strategies and if so, what do you propose?

I think these technologies are wonderful and very interesting. That said I am not familiar with the economics of desalination plants. I believe we should be encouraging engineering firms to pursue these technologies, but I do not believe the government should favor them over other technologies. Incidentally, I also do not believe any other form of energy development should have favor within the government either and this most certainly includes oil and gas exploration.

8. Water supply is a big challenge in many parts of the state. Using the water that we already have as efficiently as possible is one strategy to meeting our future water needs. Would you support efforts to fund a statewide water education campaign to inform people of their sources of water and how to conserve those sources?

In general I support campaigns aimed at educating people on scientific realities. At the same time, I would not support taxing people to accomplish this educational goal. If the scientific community felt it would have a large enough impact then I would support funding such a campaign through existing taxes (thereby requiring a different program, or perhaps several different programs to lose funding or have funding reduced).

9. Do you accept the broad consensus of the scientific community that climate change is occurring and human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, is causing it? What, if anything, would you do as an elected official to address climate change at the state level?

Yes. I have a degree in mathematics and work as an engineer. I believe in science.

At the same time, I also believe that the discussion of the topic has been largely co-opted by both Republicans and Democrats as a political tool to create further division between people. To that extent, I am very uninterested in the topic.

As an elected official I would aggressively pursue companies (and individuals) that violated the property rights of others. Furthermore, I would work to ensure that individuals could pursue litigation against these companies for violations of basic property rights.

10. What is your position on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from stationary sources, such as coal-fired power plants, to protect human health? Please explain why you take this position.

I do not especially support it. I cannot in good consciousness support the EPA in any way. It is clear that they play favorites with who is allowed to pollute and who is not based upon corporate influence and lobbying efforts.

11. Given the dramatic rise in activity and growing public concerns about its environmental impacts, what is your position on "fracking"?

While I do support the exploration of oil and natural gas, the evidence to how devastating fracking is to groundwater appears to be overwhelming. I therefore do NOT support it in practice.

As I mentioned above, I would support any efforts that provided individuals with easier mechanisms for pursuing damages against fracking offenses.

While I support engineering firms pursuing better and safer ways of applying fracking methods, it is clear we simply do not have the technology to accomplish this safely and cleanly at this point in time and I therefore do NOT support it.

12. Would you support additional funding for our state parks and wilderness areas, including a dedicated fund for the acquisition and development of additional parkland and wilderness areas?

No.

13. There is much debate and discussion about how to meet the current and future transportation needs of Texans. What do you see as the best ways to address the transportation needs of the state, especially given constraints on funding?

Like so many of my responses, I think the best thing to do is remove excess regulations placed on individuals and businesses trying to provide transportation needs.

Beyond that I believe this question is best left to local governments. It need not be thoroughly defined at the state level.

Nomad Bar Backs Our Campaign
July 15th, 2014 | View Post
Nomad Bar
A view from the outside patio looking into the Nomad Bar at the corner of Corona and Cameron

After another fantastic weekly campaign strategy meeting, a group of campaign volunteers headed over to the Nomad Bar.

A few weeks ago, the owner of the bar had pledged to support our campaign. My residence is just a few blocks from the bar and I'm certainly at least a semi-regular customer. It's always been my go-to for meeting people out for drinks. I also happen to run some of the community forums that he is a part of.

So naturally I was very happy to walk into the bar and see our campaign signs hanging in various windows and over shelves. It's a wonderful feeling to be getting so much support from the local community and I look forward to working hard for them.

We Can Do It - First Print
July 12th, 2014 | View Post
We Can Do It
Minutes after receiving the first print of Lady Liberty exclaiming "We Can Do It!"

This afternoon I had the pleasure of speaking to a fairly sizable group of candidates. Wedged between Robert Butler and Kurt Hildebrand, I spoke on the topic of Reddit and other social media platforms. Reddit played a vital role in kick-starting my campaign; I want other candidates to know what a powerful resource it can be.

Following the meeting, the Kurt Hildebrand offered to donate the original print of the new Lady Liberty logo to anyone who was willing to commit to Gold donor status with the party.

With all of the help I've been getting from people this race, I wanted to make sure I gave something back. Moreover, as a lover and collector of art, I thought this would make a great addition to my "political wall". I had the former chair of LPTexas, Pat Dixon, and the current chair, Kurt Hildebrand, both autograph it for me.

If you'd like to get a copy of this print, they're available at the Libertarian Party of Texas website.

Outright Arizona Podcast Guest Appearance
July 11th, 2014 | View Post
LibertariansWorkingForYou_640x480
The Outright Arizona podcast with host Mike Shipley
The complete episode can be found here.

While serving as a delegate at the Libertarian Party National Convention, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Mike Shipley from Phoenix, Arizona. I was immediately intrigued at the organization he chairs.

In 1998, an organization was founded called Outright Libertarians. The organization works to present the Libertarian Party and candidates to the LGBTQ community. They also work to monitor the Libertarian Party's continued support of the LGBTQ community and equality in general. Mike is the current chair of the organization and also founded and runs the Arizona chapter.

He asked me if I would like an opportunity to discuss my campaign with his listeners. Of course I jumped at the idea. I was especially excited to be a guest since promoting LGBTQ equality within the State of Texas is one of my primary platform goals.

We spent the first part of the show discussing the LGBTQ community in Austin and then in Texas as a whole. We also spent some time talking about my opponent and the difference between being reactionary towards the LGBTQ community versus being truly proactive (she has been the former; I am interested in the latter). After a short break, we came back and discussed ending the so-called "war on drugs" as well as my position on removing the TSA from Texas.

Libertarians Working for You Radio Guest
July 9th, 2014 | View Post
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Libertarians Working for You with host Arvin Vohra

This afternoon I was the featured guest on a nationally syndicated internet radio show called Libertarians Working for You. The show is hosted by Arvin Vohra and focuses on what changes Libertarian candidates across the country would bring into their respective offices.

We had four different segments between commercial breaks and fit quite a bit of information in throughout the show. We began our conversation with how to address, and ultimately abolish the War on Drugs within the State of Texas. From there we moved onto removing both the TSA and the NSA from the State of Texas.

After a second commercial break we came back to discuss how I would introduce marriage equality for the LGBTQ community within Texas. We ended the show with a discussion on how to remove crony-capitalism from within the State. Of course this last point tied heavily back into the War on Drugs given the crony-capitalism that exists between the state and militarized contractors.

The show can be found on the Libertarians Working for You website in its entirety.

Campaigning at Satoshi Square
July 4th, 2014 | View Post
SatoshiSquare_2014-07-04_640
Posing in front of the new Satoshi Square at 3rd and Chicon

This 4th of July holiday I was invited to check out the new Satoshi Square at 3rd and Chicon. It was a great opportunity to meet people in East Austin while out on the campaign trail.

If you've not yet heard of this place, do yourself a favor and check it out. They have a well-organized, shared-space warehouse with a strong community focus on Bitcoin.

I really wasn't sure what to expect when I got there. In my own words, it's best described as a coffee shop for educating people about Bitcoin. There were plenty of people there helping others navigate the technical details; I saw several people obtain their first Bitcoin wallet.

If you're in the Austin area, I would highly advise stopping in and checking it out.

Speaking to TX NORML at the Flamingo Cantina
July 2nd, 2014 | View Post
Kevin Ludlow at TX NORML
Kevin Ludlow addressing TX NORML from the stage at the Flamingo Cantina

I was approached by TX NORML a few weeks back and asked if I would consider being the speaker at their upcoming monthly business meeting. I excitedly accepted the opportunity.

For those unfamiliar with the group, NORML stands for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. They are a massive national organization with a presence virtually everywhere. They are responsible for shedding light on so many of the problems with drug prohibition in the United States and actively seek candidates who are interested in reversing this nightmare in the country.

As one of those candidates I was honored to speak at the event. There was a pretty sizable crowd; my speech was very well received. I look forward to meeting with them many more times before the election.

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