November 2004 Higher Education Voter's Guide


November 2004
Higher Education
Voter's Guide(pdf)

(packet form(pdf))


Who Are We?

UT Watch is a student-based watchdog group for the University of Texas at Austin. We promote campus democracy, affordable education, and genuine access to higher education for all Texans. For more information, visit us online at www.utwatch.org.

Why Vote?

Students and their families are directly impacted by government legislation regarding higher education. For example, tuition was deregulated by the Texas legislature in spring 2003, and, as a result, students across the state are paying as much as $720 more per semester. In addition, there are bills in the U.S. Congress such as House Resolution 4283 that would result in the typical student spending an estimated $5,500 more for their loans. Students and their families must begin to get involved in the decisions that affect their lives, and voting is an important first step. This non-partisan guide aims to inform voters of their candidates' stance on several issues important to higher education to help them make informed decisions this November. Unfortunately, some candidates did not reply after numerous attempts to reach them.

"Grading" Methodology

Candidates that we support will have a star next to their names. Agrees: +1 Disagrees: 0 No answer / undecided: 0.5

State Level

Candidates must answer at least 5 out of the 7 "yes" or "no" questions favorably to receive our support. However, some questions are weighted more heavily than others; specifically, those in favor of tuition deregulation will automatically receive a score of "0". Those who do not support the re-regulation of tuition, increased state appropriation to universities, the bills regarding free speech will receive -1 point. Those who voted for tuition deregulation and support tuition re-regulation receive a total score of "0" for those two questions but are graded on the other questions.

Federal Level

Candidates must answer 6 out of 9 questions favorably to receive our support. However, one question, regarding HR 4283, is weighted more heavily. Candidates supporting this bill will be given -2.

 

Questions and Positions

(UT Watch's stance is indicated after each question)

Federal Level

  1. Do you support efforts, such as House Resolution 2956, to simplify the student financial aid application process? YES

    Simplifying the financial aid application process would cut down on a time-wasting and complicated process without impacting the amount of aid for which any student is currently awarded or eligible.

  2. Do you support efforts, such as House Resolution 2711, to allow students to refinance their federal student consolidation loans, and to allow students the freedom to select a student loan consolidator? YES

    H.R. 2711 and other similar measures would help ease the burden of large student debt by striking down the "single lender rule" and allowing students to refinance their consolidation loans when better rates come along.

  3. Do you support loan forgiveness efforts such as House Resolutions 1306 and 647 for teachers, nurses, and other public service professionals? YES

    Loan forgiveness eases the burden of debt by providing valuable but understaffed positions in the public sphere to motivated college graduates.

  4. Do you support efforts such as either House Resolutions 3519 or 3311 to contain skyrocketing tuition costs? YES

    The two bills mentioned are extremely different, but both represent some attempt by the federal government to address the huge increases in tuition witnessed during the last few decades. Ultimately, neither loan forgiveness nor more lucrative loans will fix the root of the problem - tuition is already too high but continues to increase at many times the rate of inflation.

  5. Did you support House Resolution 3077, or would you support any other attempts to establish International Higher Education Advisory Boards that would monitor and redirect area studies and language programs to better serve "national needs" such as homeland security? NO

    H.R. 3077 intrudes on academic freedom by creating "advisory boards," which will include two members of national security agencies. While UT Watch believes in the importance of homeland security, we also believe that the government has no role in directing academic discourse toward its own ends; the government should not infringe on autonomous scholarship and research by imposing its own agenda.

  6. Do you support House Resolution 685 or other efforts to repeal the provisions in the Higher Education Act of 1965 that prohibit those convicted of drug offences from receiving Student Financial Assistance? YES

    Depriving those convicted of non-violent crimes who seek to better their lives through education is inappropriate; there are already punitive measures available to judges to enforce drug laws.

  7. Do you support or oppose House Resolution 3180, otherwise known as the "College Opportunity for All Act"? SUPPORT

    This large and complicated bill would help make college more affordable by, for example, repealing recent student aid changes that would deny 84,000 students their Pell Grants, and by doubling the maximum Pell Grant Award by 2011. It also provides provisions similar to those found in House Resolutions 2956, 2711, 1306, 647, and 685, all of which are described in the earlier questions.

  8. Do you support or oppose House Resolution 4283, otherwise known as the "College Access and Opportunity Act of 2004"? OPPOSE

    This act eliminates low fixed rate consolidation loans, which will mean the typical student could pay as much as $5,500 more for their loans. It also raises the cap on student loan interest rates, and it does not raise the maximum Pell Grant awards. Candidates who support this act receive an extra 2 points off their "grade" in this guide.

  9. Do you support House Congressional Resolution 318 or other, similar efforts to establish an "Academic Bill of Rights"? NO

    This bill actually infringes on academic freedom by transferring the standards by which professors are hired, and the way that they grade and teach, from the academic arena to the political. It would allow courts and college administrators to have greater control over academic activities.

State Level

  1. Did you support tuition deregulation? NO

    The deregulation of tuition has resulted in massive tuition increases across the state of Texas. UT Watch does not support any candidate who supported this measure.

  2. Would you support the re-regulation of tuition? YES

    Those who do not support a re-regulation of tuition receive -1 point.

  3. Do you support including an elected and voting student member on the UT System Board of Regents? YES

    The UT regents lack accountability, and this is a move in the right direction. However, UT Watch supports democratizing the entire Board of Regents.

  4. Do you support House Bill 1212, which limits foreign graduate student enrollment? NO

    No student should be denied access to education due to their nationality. Foreign students make important contributions to their respective fields and provide diverse perspectives and experiences to their departments and peers.

  5. Did you support SB 1370, which reduced benefits to teaching assistants and other state employees? NO

    Reducing benefits for Teaching Assistants in Texas is the wrong idea since it undermines the ability of Texas universities to attract top students, and it is already difficult for overworked graduate students to afford school.

  6. Do you support significantly increasing state appropriations to Texas universities? YES

    This is the best move to combat rising tuition costs and to improve the University.

  7. Do you support efforts such as those presented by House Bill 2447 or Senate Bill 1332 to relax restrictions on the time, place, and manner of speech in a state institution of higher education? YES

    Free speech is vital to public discourse, which is paramount in academe.

  8. Out of the issues previously mentioned, which is the most important to you?

 


Find Your Districts

There may be more than one district that corresponds to your zip code. The tables on the next few pages provide a quick and easy way to narrow down your list of candidates if you do not have your voter registration card with you. Your districts can be found on that card. Remember, you belong to only one district for each representative body.

Find your legislator! http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm

Zip Code Congressional District(s) Senate District(s) House District(s)
73301 21, 25 14, 25 49, 51
73344 21, 25 14, 25 47, 51
78701 21 14 49, 51
78702 21, 25 14 46, 49, 51
78703 10, 21 14 48, 49
78704 21, 25 14, 25 49, 51
78705 10, 21, 25 14 46, 49
78708 10 14 46, 48, 49, 50
78709 21 14, 25 47
78710 10 14 46, 50
78711 21 14 49, 51
78712 21 14 49
78713 10, 21, 25 14 46, 49
78714 21 14 49, 51
78715 21, 25 14, 25 47, 49, 51
78716 10, 21 14 48
78717 31 5 20, 52
78718 10 14 46, 48, 49, 50
78719 25 14, 25 51
78720 10, 21, 31 5, 14 48, 50, 52
78721 25 14 46, 51
78722 25 14 46
78723 25 14 46
78724 10, 25 14 46, 50
78725 25 14 46, 51
78726 21 14 48, 50
78727 10, 31 5, 14 50, 52
78728 10, 31 5, 14 50, 52
78729 10, 31 5, 14 50, 52
78730 10, 21 14 48
78731 10, 21 14 48, 49
78732 21 14 48
78733 10, 21 14 47, 48
78734 21 14 47
78735 21 14, 25 47, 49
78736 21 14, 25 45, 47
78737 21 14, 25 45, 47
78738 21 14 47
78739 21 25 47
78741 21, 25 14, 25 49, 51
78742 25 14 51
78744 21, 25 14, 25 47, 51
78745 21, 25 14, 25 47, 49, 51
78746 10, 21 14 48
78748 21, 25 14, 25 47
78749 21 14, 25 47
78750 21, 31 5, 14 48, 50, 52
78751 10, 25 14 46, 49
78752 10, 25 14 46, 49
78753 10 14 46, 50
78754 10 14 46, 50
78755 10, 21, 31 5, 14 48, 50, 52
78756 10 14 49
78757 10 14 46, 48, 49
78758 10 14 46, 48, 49, 50
78759 10, 21, 31 5, 14 48, 50, 52
78760 21, 25 14, 25 47, 51
78761 10, 25 14 46, 49
78762 21, 25 14 46, 49, 51
78763 10, 21 14 48, 49
78764 21, 25 14, 25 49, 51
78765 10, 25 14 46, 49
78766 10 14 46, 48, 49
78767 21 14 49, 51
78768 21 14 49, 51
78769 21 14 49, 51
78772 21, 25 14, 25 49, 51
78773 21 14 49, 51
78774 21 14 49, 51
78778 21 14 49, 51
78779 10, 21 14 48, 49
78780 10, 21 14 48
78783 25 14 46
78785 10, 25 14 46, 49
78786 21 14 49, 51
78788 10 14 46, 50
78789 10 14 46, 48, 49
78799 25 14 46, 51

 


Answer Key:

Y = Yes; N = No; X = No answer/undecided

Congressional Districts: 10, 21, 25, 31 State Senate Districts: 5, 14, 25 (No campaigns to report) State House Districts: 20, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 Congressional District 10

Lorenzo Sadun (D) - Grade: 9 We Support This Candidate Perfect Score

Website: www.writeinsadun.org; Email: contact(AT)writeinsadun.org
Phone: (512) 371-9455; Fax: (512) 371-9455
Address: PO Box 9077 / Austin, TX 78709-0774
 

1. Simplify Loans: Y 2. Refinance Loans: Y 3. Loan forgiveness: Y
4. Tuition: Y 5. Intl Studies Board: N 6. Repeal drug offenses: Y
7. HR3180: Y 8. HR4283: N 9. HCR318: N

 

Michael McCaul (R)
Website: www.mccaulforcongress.com; Email: info(AT)mccaulforcongress.com
Meetup: MMcCaulforCongress.meetup.com
Phone: (512) 342-0001; Fax: (512) 342-0002
Address: 3508 Far West Blvd., Ste. 320 / Austin, TX 78731
Unable to respond in time

Robert Fritschie (Libertarian)
Website: fritsche.lpcandidate.com
Meetup: rwfritctieforcongress.meetup.com; Phone: (512) 794-7950
Address: 12370 Alameda Trace Cr., #228 / Austin, TX 78727
Unable to respond in time Congressional District 21

Rhett Smith (D) - Grade: 6 We Support This Candidate
Website: www.rhettsmithforcongress.org
Email: smithrhett(AT)yahoo.com
Meetup: rrsmithforcongress.meetup.com; Phone: (210) 317-5143
Address: PO Box 17271 / San Antonio, TX 78217
 

1. Simplify Loans: Y 2. Refinance Loans: Y 3. Loan forgiveness: Y
4. Tuition: X 5. Intl Studies Board: X 6. Repeal drug offenses: Y
7. HR3180: X 8. HR4283: X 9. HCR318: X

 

Lamar Smith (Incumbent) (R)
Meetup: LSSmithforCongress.meetup.com; Phone: (210) 826-1085;
Fax: (210) 826-1093; Address: PO Box 6155 / San Antonio, TX 78209
Unable to respond in time

Jason Pratt (Libertarian) - Grade: 4.5
Meetup: jprattforcongress.meetup.com
Address: 4904 Woodview Ave. / Austin, TX 78756
 

1. Simplify Loans: N 2. Refinance Loans: Y 3. Loan forgiveness: X
4. Tuition: X 5. Intl Studies Board: N 6. Repeal drug offenses: N
7. HR3180: N 8. HR4283: X 9. HCR318: N

 

Congressional District 25

Lloyd Doggett (Incumbent) (D)
Website: www.votedoggett.com; Email: info(AT)votedoggett.com
Phone: (512) 220-7965; Fax: (512) 220-7975
Address: 2212 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. / Austin, TX 78702
Unable to respond in time

James Werner (Libertarian) - Grade: 4
Website: electjameswerner.com; Email: electjameswerner(AT)earthlink.net
Meetup: jswernerforcongress.meetup.com
Address: 2001 Kenwood Avenue / Austin, TX 78704
 

1. Simplify Loans: N 2. Refinance Loans: Y 3. Loan forgiveness: N
4. Tuition: N 5. Intl Studies Board: Y 6. Repeal drug offenses: X
7. HR3180: N 8. HR4283: X 9. HCR318: X

 

Rebecca Armendariz Klein (R) - Grade: 4
Website: www.becky4congress.com; Email: mail(AT)becky4congress.com
Meetup: rakleinforcongress.meetup.com
Phone: (512) 220-2770; Fax: (512) 477-0009
Address: PO Box 1508 / Austin, TX 78767-1508
 

1. Simplify Loans: Y 2. Refinance Loans: Y 3. Loan forgiveness: Y
4. Tuition: Y 5. Intl Studies Board: Y 6. Repeal drug offenses: Y
7. HR3180: Y 8. HR4283: Y 9. HCR318: N

Congressional District 31

Jon Porter (D) - Grade: 4
Website: www.porter2004.com; Email: jon(AT)porter2004.com
Meetup: jporterforcongress.meetup.com; Phone: (512) 335-2203
Address: 1420 Cypress Creek Rd., Ste. 200-320 / Cedar Park, TX 78613
 

1. Simplify Loans: Y 2. Refinance Loans: Y 3. Loan forgiveness: Y
4. Tuition: Y 5. Intl Studies Board: Y 6. Repeal drug offenses: X
7. HR3180: X 8. HR4283: Y 9. HCR318: N

 

Celeste Adams (Libertarian)
Website: www.lpcandidate.com/celesteadams Email:celesteadamsforoffice(AT)yahoo.com
Meetup: cadamsforcongress.meetup.com Phone:(512)554-1762;
Address: 6800 McNeil Dr. 434 / Austin, TX 78729
Unable to respond in time

John Carter (Incumbent) (R) - Grade: 3
Website: www.carterforcongress.com; Email: info(AT)carterforcongress.com
Meetup: JRCarterforCongress.meetup.com; Phone: (512) 246-9996
Address: PO Box 6930 / Round Rock, TX 78683
 

1. Simplify Loans: Y 2. Refinance Loans: N 3. Loan forgiveness: Y
4. Tuition: Y 5. Intl Studies Board: X 6. Repeal drug offenses: X
7. HR3180: X 8. HR4283: Y 9. HCR318: X

 

Note: Rep. Carter answered all questions. However, it was not clear how some of his answers were to be tallied.

State Senate Districts 5, 14, 255

- No campaigns to report -

State House District 20

Jim Stauber (D)

- Grade: 6 We Support This Candidate
Email: jcstauber(AT)sbcglobal.net
 
1. Dereg: N 2. Re-reg: Y 3. Student regent: N
4. Foreign Grad Students: N 5. SB1370: N 6. State Appr: Y
7. Free Speech: Y 8. Most important issue: Tuition, state employees

 

Dan Gattis (Incumbent) (R) - Grade: 3
Website: www.dangattis.org; Phone: (512) 931-2068
Address: PO Box 2856 / Georgetown, TX 78627
 

1. Dereg: Y 2. Re-reg: Y 3. Student regent: N
4. Foreign Grad Students: X 5. SB1370: X 6. State Appr: Y
7. Free Speech: Y 8. Most important issue: Tuition

 

State House District 46

Dawnna Dukes (Incumbent) (D)
Phone: (512) 463-0506; Fax: (612) 481-0373
Address: PO Box 14645 / Austin, TX 78761
Does not respond to questionnaires
Abstained on Tuition Deregulation

State House District 47

Terry Keel (Incumbent) (R) - Grade: 0
Website: www.terrykeel.com; Phone: (512) 480-8683
Address: 1108 Lavaca Suite 400 / Austin, TX 78701
Unable to respond in time
Yes on Tuition Deregulation

State House District 48

Kelly White (D)
Address: 11 Sundown Parkway / Austin, TX 78746
Unable to be reached

Todd Baxter (Incumbent) (R) - Grade: 0
Website: www.toddbaxter.com
Address: PO Box 161122 / Austin, TX 78716
Unable to be reached
Yes on Tuition Deregulation

State House District 49

Elliott Naishtat (Incumbent) (D) - Grade: 7 We Support This Candidate Perfect Score
Phone: (512) 463-0668; Address: 6401 Wilbur Dr. / Austin, TX 78757
 

1. Dereg: N 2. Re-reg: Y 3. Student regent: Y
4. Foreign Grad Students: N 5. SB1370: N 6. State Appr: Y
7. Free Speech: Y 8. Most important issue: State Appropriations and Tuition

 

State House District 50

Mark Strama (D) - Grade: 7 We Support This Candidate Perfect Score
Phone: (512) 633-3795 Address: 12820 N. Lamar # 732 / Austin, TX 78753
 

1. Dereg: N 2. Re-reg: Y 3. Student regent: Y
4. Foreign Grad Students: N 5. SB1370: N 6. State Appr: Y
7. Free Speech: Y 8. Most important issue: Tuition

 

Jack Stick (Incumbent) (R) - Grade: 0
Website: www.jackstick.org;
Phone: (512) 391-9000; Fax: (512) 474-8006;
Address: 100 Congress Ave, Suite 1800 / Austin, TX 78701
Unable to be reached
Yes on Tuition Deregulation

Greg Knowles (Independent) - Grade: 4
Phone: (512) 689-8285
 

1. Dereg: N 2. Re-reg: Y 3. Student regent: Y
4. Foreign Grad Students: N 5. SB1370: Y 6. State Appr: N
7. Free Speech: Y 8. Most important issue: Free Speech

 

State House District 51

Eddie Rodriguez (Incumbent) (D)
Phone: (512) 463-0674 ; Address: P.O. Box 2436 / Austin, TX 78768

Unable to respond in time
No on Tuition Deregulation

State House District 52

Mike Krusee (Incumbent) (R) - Grade: 0
Website: www.mikekrusee.com; Phone: (512) 463-0670
Address: 13231 Briar Hollow / Austin, TX 78729
Unable to respond in time
Yes on Tuition Deregulation

Karen Felthauser (Write-In) - Grade: 6.5 We Support This Candidate
 

1. Dereg: N 2. Re-reg: Y 3. Student regent: Y
4. Foreign Grad Students: X 5. SB1370: N 6. State Appr: Y
7. Free Speech: Y 8. Most important issue: State Appropriations*

 

*Note: Felthauser is running primarily to increase state support for education

 

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