Quotation marks around a quote from Jonathan Cocks for Texas Land Commissioner.

Texas is growing.  Building and maintaining Texas highways and other public assets, including water resources, remains an absolute priority.

Jonathan Cocks - Democrat for Texas Senate District 8

Jonathan Cocks smiling with a pond behind him.

Priorities

I moved to this District in 1983.  I not only watched the growth, but I also experienced it.  Growth brought new jobs, new neighbors, new opportunities, and new choices.  And if you've been here as long as me, you also suffered through the periodic inconveniences and growing pains that accompanied this growth.  

The past two years have been exhausting.  Like you, my family and I have struggled with the uncertainties of COVID-19 – online learning, working through our daughter’s distress when she was unable to physically interact with her friends, and wear a mask, don’t wear a mask.  I don’t need to be told inflation exists.  I experience the ever-increasing cost of food and other necessities every week when I purchase groceries for my family.  With the ever-present bickering by our political leaders, I’ve turned my television set off, it’s just too much.

 

What matters to you is also what matters to me, for example:

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The Economy

 The dirty secret, the State benefits every time the price of oil and natural gas increases.  Texas’ severance tax is a percentage of the oil and natural gas market prices.  Producers pay when their products are sold.  Prices go up, tax collections go up. While a rebate check to Texas consumers will not make inflation go away, it will acknowledge the sacrifices we make as we struggle to cope with the ravages of inflation. The ever-spiraling increases in gasoline, electricity, and natural gas prices. It’s time for the Legislature to share.  

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Solving the Texas Healthcare Crisis

I am appalled by the ever-increasing cost of health care.  I cringe every year when the cost of our family’s health coverage is announced.  It’s hard for my family to keep up, the cost of health care takes an ever-increasing share of our income.  I don't have all of the answers, but Texas has an abundance of really smart people who have parts of the answer.  It’s a real challenge, but the Legislature must tackle the elephant that lives in each of our living rooms – the constantly increasing cost of health care.

Reproductive Freedom

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My opponent helped author the Texas Trigger Law that made abortion illegal, even in the cases of incest and rape. This extremist law is not about the health and safety of Texans and actually puts more lives at risk. It is also a severe violation of privacy, which, in my view, infringes on the rights of women and families everywhere. The reasons one may choose to have an abortion is not my business, but we do know there are many valid, medical reasons to do so, and ignoring that fact is dangerous.

 

There are many fact-based solutions that will safely reduce abortions without infringing on individual liberties, and we should be pursuing those.  Solutions, such as expanding healthcare access, contraception, properly teaching sex education in schools, improved wages, universal childcare, maternal and paternal leave for new parents, and more. 

Election Security and Democracy

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My opponent and her husband, Ken Paxton, have stood at the frontlines trying to overthrow our national elections, restrict YOUR abilities to vote, undermine YOUR votes by suing other states and our federal government, and wasted taxpayer dollars on a frivolous lawsuit trying to enforce Texas law on other states. Even if you are concerned about voter security, you should be outraged over their actions. 

I believe every eligible voter should have access to voting, and our job is to make it as easy as possible while ensuring it is safe and secure. There are many misconceptions about voter security and voter fraud, but little to none is ever proven to exist. We know we must ensure secure elections, no one disagrees with that, but we must also be willing to see the facts and understand that the positions others are living with are not always the same as ours. We can expand voting rights to ensure that everyone who is legally eligible to vote can do so without risking the security of our elections. We can allow same-day and automatic voter registration when you turn 18 and allow absentee voting by mail for everyone, instead of just those who are 65 and older or have special requests. All of these are done in other states successfully and securely, and we can get to. Our Democracy relies on our success. Further restricting voting rights for legally eligible individuals is unAmerican. 

Energy and Environment

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Every summer, my family and I rely on air conditioning.  And each winter Holly can’t live without our fireplace and furnace.  Like you, I want to know that Texas has sufficient electrical generation capacity along with a durable and reliable distribution grid capable of supplying affordable electric power all year.  The time for just talking is over.  The Legislature must act to force the necessary changes to become a reality.

The Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is my family’s favorite national park.  My first visit occurred when I was nine years old, and I was hooked.  The recent Colorado wildfires along with the severe drought in west Texas are reminders that Earth’s climate is changing.  Like you, I want our children to inherit a world that no longer faces the risks of an ever-changing climate.  Let’s smooth the way for the inevitable changes required to minimize the impact of a changing climate.  And let’s start now so we minimize the economic consequences to Texas workers and our economy.

Education

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I value the public schools my children attend.  They have done so much for each of our four children.  In addition, my wife, Holly, is also a middle school teacher.  Our children and teachers have been through a lot.  Public schools not only educate our children, but they are also at the front lines of providing basic mental health and nutrition services to our children as well as providing a safe place to be during much of the workday.  Our public schools have gone above and beyond, they have stretched their human and financial resources to the limit.

 

Our schools need more money to do what we have asked them to do.  And it is not acceptable for our teachers and school administrators to be sacrificial lambs in the ongoing culture wars.  Texas already has a teacher shortage that will likely reach a new extreme this August.  It’s time to restore teaching to the honorable profession it is.

Public Safety

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Since the end of the COVID lockdowns, crime has become an ever-increasing problem.  Increased retail crime – shoplifting, stealing, etc. - is also a significant reason why consumer prices keep increasing.  

 

While I have been horrified by recent instances of abuse in our criminal justice system, I wholeheartedly support our police and law enforcement.  Our police and other law enforcement officers must be selected from the best in our communities.  We must ensure they receive the absolute best training.  The law enforcement community must include access to skilled mental health professionals.  Innovative technologies must be incorporated into crime prevention and law enforcement.  We must continually strive to achieve that appropriate balance between our personal privacy, individual rights, and our need to reduce crime and punish criminals. 

Local Control

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I serve on Fairview’s Planning & Zoning Commission.  My fellow commissioners and I work diligently to understand the matters that come before the Commission, and we strive to reach a resolution that benefits all concerned while complying with the law.  Community involvement is what makes local solutions to local problems the best solutions.  

 

But in their quest for absolute power, Republican legislators are now the protectors of the chosen few, often to the disadvantage of our families, friends, and communities.  Each time Republicans advance the interest of chosen few, a “one-size fits all fix” solution is imposed that you and I get to pay for.  Our issues are best addressed locally, not in Austin.

Property Taxes

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I admit it, I like it when my home’s value increases.  Unfortunately, as the value increases so do my property taxes.  No matter how hard I try, that “paper gain” the County Tax Appraiser tells me I have does not pay my property taxes.  No one should have to choose between feeding their family and paying their property taxes.  It’s time for Texas to find different revenue sources to fund our public schools.  Not an income tax, but a new source of revenue like a tax on sports betting and gambling or something similar.