Kent believes that for far too long Congress has misplaced its budgetary priorities, choosing to stand with special interests rather than the voters who elected them. As such, he is calling for a reprioritization of how Congress allocates our federal tax dollars to maximize efficiency and to affect as many citizens as possible. While Kent is a strong advocate for a robust national defense, he feels that through modernizing certain elements of our military that we will be able to free up enough budget to shift from defense spending to social and healthcare programs that benefit the members of our society that need help the most.
We are on a race to the bottom. High school dropout rates are regressing rather than progressing. Teacher retention is falling behind and college readiness is slipping. As a former public school teacher, Kent Lester knows that a robust public school system is the pathway to success for our fellow citizens and our country. Ensuring that every person, regardless of circumstance, attends quality, affordable public schools is the cornerstone of our platform. Having this foundation greatly increases a person’s ability to lead secure, productive lives and helps us all end the school-to-prison pipeline and bring this country to its fullest potential. As your representative, Kent will:
Defend against School Vouchers. Vouchers have a negative effect on the funding for our already underfunded schools, while propping up charter schools with dubious accreditation and educational standards. Public money should fund public schools.
Serve as a Watchdog against school discrimination. Over 60 years after Brown v Board of Education, we are still dealing with disparities in education based on race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and disability. These disparities fuel the social problems that have created the school to prison pipeline that has done nothing but fail our young people. Kent will advocate for disadvantaged school districts and support federal funding to achieve equity in our nation’s schools.
- Work to expand and diversify public education. We can not keep supporting one-size-fits-all educational models. Kent will introduce legislation that will incentivize states and school districts to implement and sustain real-world technological and vocational education. We must end the harmful rhetoric that a college degree is the only path to success in this world. If we weren’t pushing every student to attend a four-year university, we wouldn’t have near the college dropout rates and massive student debt that we have in this country.
The good news is that it's not too late to change course. With the proper priorities, American public schools can be a positive example for a changing world. Kent Lester is stepping up to help lead the way to a brighter future for America’s children that starts in the classroom. As Americans, we will leave no one behind.
Kent strongly believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. As a veteran, Kent has access to a comprehensive healthcare system with low premiums, high quality of care, and high freedom of choice. And he believes that that every American should have access to a similar system. That’s why Kent will make working towards Medicare-for-All a top priority of his as a US Representative. We need to ensure that basic health maintenance and emergency care are a guaranteed right of every American, and Kent knows that the only way to do so is with a single-payer healthcare system.
Kent knows that climate change is one of the gravest issues the US, and the world, faces today. With District 31 continually experiencing extreme weather and record high temperatures year after year, Kent knows that we must act now. Kent knows that we must address environmental issues using sound, scientifically based solutions, not partisan rhetoric. A staunch advocate for the US’ participation in the Paris Climate Accords, Kent promises to ensure that the US remains a global leader in tackling climate change so that we can leave a healthier, more sustainable world for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.
Since our founding, America has been a nation of immigrants built upon a promise of Freedom that has drawn countless millions to our shores. That’s why Kent believes that Congress should work in a manner that builds upon the heritage of our nation and supports the development of the all Americans in their pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness. Kent believes that building bridges—not walls—is the way forward for developing the American economy. That’s why Kent will work for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress:
Formalize Protections for DREAMers. After President Trump’s decision to end President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, it is imperative for Congress to make DACA provisions a part of federal law. There are 217,000 DACA-eligible recipients in Texas, of which over 2,000 call District 31 home. Once in Congress, Kent will work to formalize protections for DREAMers that contribute to our community and our economy.
Support Border Security, but Oppose Spending on a Border Wall. Congressional Republicans led by John Carter support dumping more than $8 billion from the federal budget into President Trump’s plan for a border wall. Funding this invasive and expensive project will draw resources from other much-needed parts of the federal budget—including disaster relief funds and funding for federal agencies such as the Transport Security Administration and even the United States Coast Guard. Kent will instead focus on supporting funding for enhanced border security measures that include hiring more border patrol agents, strengthening the capabilities of local agencies to enforce immigration laws, and supporting bilateral border enforcement agreements with Mexico to strengthen cross-border law enforcement ties.
Streamline and Modernize Guest Worker Programs. In Congress, Kent will work to end the abuse of federal guest worker programs—such as H-1B and H-4 visas—by supporting legislation that prevents corporations from using them to import cheaper labor to avoid hiring American workers. Guest worker visas exist to allow talented workers the opportunity to engage in the world’s strongest economy, not as a tool for major corporations to drive down labor costs by hiring cheaper labor from abroad.
Kent believes in a Path to Citizenship and a maintenance of the economy and freedom of opportunity that draws new Americans into our society. As Americans, we leave no one behind, that’s why Kent will make working towards comprehensive immigration reform a priority in Washington.