Where Dan Stands
National Security, Foreign Policy, and Defense:
America is the leader of the free world, and should not back down from this responsibility. We can never forget the atrocities of September 11th, and what occurs when you allow terrorists to operate freely in ungoverned areas. We must continue to take the fight to ISIS, not only in Syria and Iraq, but also in Afghanistan and Africa. The threat of radical Islam is real, and we must do a better job fighting on all fronts. I have been doing that for my entire adult life.
We also cannot forget the threat right across the border: the Mexican drug cartels. In many areas right across the border, the Mexican government has no control whatsoever. We need to do a better job working with the Mexican authorities to thwart this threat, and prevent weapons and drug trafficking across the border, in both directions. This threat has been largely forgotten by American politicians. That must change.
Russia continues to test our will and our NATO allies. Vladimir Putin operates as a dictator, unaccountable to his own people. This allows him complete freedom to disrupt American interests and attack our country. A strong stance must be taken against Russian active measures, while also cooperating in areas of mutual interest. Putin understands realpolitik and political warfare, and we must too.
North Korea cannot be tolerated as a belligerent rogue regime for much longer. We must stand behind the president as he builds a coalition against North Korea. However, we should be exceptionally wary of pre-emptive action against North Korea. The consequences could be catastrophic for both American service-members and the South Koreans. No one knows the costs of war better than I do.
We need to follow the president’s lead in rebuilding the U.S. military. I have seen first-hand the toll that 16 years of warfare has taken on our soldiers, sailors, and airmen. Our ships are barely operational and the ones that are deployed are colliding and running aground. We need policy changes, and strong leadership to set us back on the right course. We need better cyber defenses, and we need to do better at keeping talented people in the military. We need to invest in new technology to maintain our edge, as China and Russia quickly catch up.
I support the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As Democrats make false accusations about Republican policies, we must stick to free-market principles and lay out the FACTS. We lowered the corporate rate while also removing unnecessary special-interest deductions, and it resulted in wage growth and more jobs. We have corporations the incentives to repatriate their profits, which is growing our tax base, and encouraging investments in THIS country. Corporations are not evil, they create jobs, employ Americans, and grow our economy. We must stand for pro-growth policies, because we cannot lift the poor out of poverty or raise middle class wages without a strong and growing economy. This is common sense economics, and we must show leadership to make it happen.
We must embrace free trade, and seek to give our businesses advantages by reducing regulatory burdens and lowering corporate tax rates. Small businesses are the primary driver of growth in this country and we need to ensure their success. It should be easy for entrepreneurs to start up their business and contribute to our strong economy. We have to protect the business owners that cannot afford to pay teams of lawyers to comply with tax law and regulations.
Social Security is on its way to complete collapse, and no one is talking about it. The CBO projects the Social Security OASDI trust fund to become insolvent by 2029. Without more revenue, benefits will be cut by approximately 29% in 2029. Until recently, the trust fund balance was growing steadily. But as the population continues aging and the ratio of workers to retirees decreases, the trust fund will eventually be depleted. It is vital to implement a solution that does not unexpectedly cut seniors’ benefits, but also does not place an unnecessary tax burden on today’s workers.
We must gradually transition to a mixed pay-as-you-go and investment-based system. Current workers will contribute an additional percentage of their taxable income into a personal retirement account (PRA) invested in a limited number of approved investment funds, which offer higher growth. These contributions should be small enough so as not to invite unnecessary risk, but large enough so that future retirement benefits can be maintained without increasing the payroll tax.
Our national debt has doubled in the past ten years. We cannot keep borrowing from our children. We can’t just cut discretionary spending, we have to attack the hard stuff: mandatory spending to include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If our debt continues to increase, we face increased interest rates that will reduce investment and become a drag on economic growth. We will be less flexible if we need to inject a trillion tax dollars into the economy, as we did during the financial crisis of 2008. Our credit will eventually suffer, and foreign investors will be less likely to buy up our debt, causing the U.S. dollar to collapse. It’s time we started making common sense decisions about spending before it is too late.
I will always fight for 2nd Amendment rights. Democrats who don’t understand how guns even work continue to propose frivolous and ineffective gun-control legislation in Congress. We cannot allow the Leftists to set the terms of the gun rights debate in this country. Many states have borderline unconstitutional gun laws. We cannot allow this to happen in Texas. We must do a better job of enforcing current laws, especially background checks, so that guns stay out of the wrong hands. But I will never allow the government to prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves.
As a country, we must place more value on LIFE. I believe that each life is created by God for a special, unique purpose, and that every life has inherent value. Being pro-life goes beyond politics. It is a foundational, moral position on the side of humanity. Life starts at conception and I will fight to protect the unborn from conception onward.
We can and must stop late-term abortions in this country. I believe our country is on very shaky moral ground by allowing the abortion of a human being with ten fingers, ten toes, and heartbeat. This is not an attack on women, it is a question of our humanity. Not even far-left European countries like France allow abortions past 12 weeks, and yet we do?
Border security, border security, border security. Border security must come first, before we have any other conversation. Enough is enough, let’s enforce our laws. We should not only build the wall but also ramp up tech-savvy ways to secure our border, like drones and sensors. My background in national security makes me uniquely qualified to assess different proposals and find the right solution.
Furthermore, border security leads to better legal immigration laws. When we finally secure the border – a proposal that used to be bipartisan – we can then talk about next steps for immigration reform. America is still the shining city on the hill and we need good, legal immigrants with skills, a hard work ethic, and conservative values to come into this country. But they should do it legally, and we should welcome them. We should move to a merit-based immigration system, so that we get the best of the best in our country.
Sanctuary cities are an affront to our law enforcement and national security. When illegal immigrants commit crimes, we should enforce both criminal law AND immigration law. Encouraging law enforcement agencies to cooperate with one another is common sense, and good policy.
I will never let the government force a private citizen or business to actively participate in an activity that directly violates their religious beliefs. Period. We are simply protecting the freedom of individuals to abstain from something that violates their religious beliefs. This is common sense.
The original Americans who came over from Europe and founded this country came here for religious and economic liberty. They were people of conscience who wanted to be able to worship freely, build their communities, work hard, and live their lives free of unwarranted government intrusion into their lives. Religious liberty and pluralism have always been bedrock principles of the American republic, and I will fight every day in Congress to preserve this legacy.
Our education system is not preparing our students for the future or for the current work force. We have to encourage competition and dynamism in our schools. I believe in school choice policies, and putting the student first. We should allow families to choose the school that works best for their student: whether it be traditional public schools, public charter schools, virtual schools, private schools, or home schooling. School choice is about freedom, competition, and improving education for all children.
We also need to encourage policies that professionalize our teacher workforce. Study after study shows that the primary driver of good educational outcomes is good teachers. Not new iPads, or fancy stadiums, but good teachers. We need to focus on the basics. Our teachers are true patriots, and our hard-earned tax dollars should go towards improving teacher quality and rewarding good teachers, not endless federal bureaucracy in the Department of Education.
College is becoming too expensive for working class families, and not giving students the skills they need to succeed. Government subsidies have caused education costs to sky rocket, and it is only getting more expensive. A 4-year degree is the right choice for a lot of people, but it should not be the only choice. We need to encourage vocational training and apprenticeship programs that give workers the skills that industries actually need.
There are an estimated 5-7 million job openings in medium-skilled sectors that are not being filled, because we do not have the workers with the right skills. They don’t need English majors, they need technicians, data analysts, and manufacturing specialists. These skills are obtained through on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and trade schools. We need to start those paths in high school, and make it easier for laid off workers to obtain those skills when looking for new work.
Federalism & the 10th Amendment
I am a strong advocate for the idea of federalism, and the wisdom of the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Political power should be taken out of Washington and sent back to state capitals and local communities. I believe that policy is best made at the local level, where voters can reach out and touch their representatives. This is common sense policy, because different regions and communities face different challenges and preferences.
One-size-fits-all policies are counter to our Founding Fathers’ vision of the Republic, and we need to adhere to the greatest legal document in the world: the U.S. Constitution. Federal overreach causes inefficient and confusing policy, and it allows unelected bureaucrats to create de facto laws and regulations. As your congressman, I will fight to restore federalism and the 10th amendment.
Our country is frighteningly close to violating our Constitution by allowing the left to shout down and shame anyone who disagrees with them. This is happening regularly on college campuses all over the country. From Berkeley to Boston, leftist agitators are trying to “enforce” political correctness by shutting down speeches that they disagree with. Even some liberal commentators are finding this problematic and have called them out for their anti-American ways. College should be a place for the free and open exchange of ideas, not a place where groupthink and political correctness are enforced, and anti-conservative thugs reign supreme.
We need to encourage and inspire young conservatives to stand up to this leftist bullying. I do not back down from fights, and I am not about to back down from this one. The future of our country is at stake.
We need a free market, patient-centered health care system. Unfortunately, ObamaCare was a massive government takeover of the health care system, and it has been an unmitigated disaster. Congress needs to immediately repeal this horrible law, and the president needs to sign it. ObamaCare has caused health care costs to go up, has kicked millions of Americans off of their health insurance plans, and has increased taxes, all of which have been detrimental to the health care system.
We need to replace it with a health care system that puts patients first, encourages competition, allows consumers to buy health insurance across state lines, and expands health savings accounts.
I understand all too well the experience of being a patient in socialized medicine, both in the military and the VA. When no one is held accountable, and there’s no competition, quality of care suffers and prices skyrocket. We must give states the flexibility to experiment with solutions that deliver the cost effective and highest quality care to the most people. As Americans, we should all agree on this common-sense goal.
We have to look at the insurance market differently. When we force insurance to cover routine visits or treatments, the costs of those treatments naturally skyrocket and premiums follow suit. The employer-based health insurance deduction lowers wages and hides the actual costs of healthcare. As a result, health care is overused without any measurable improvement in health outcomes.
Medicaid continues to grow without actually improving Americans’ health. When Medicaid enrollees increase drastically, as they did under Obamacare, we reduce the quality of care for our poorest and neediest patients. We need to block grant Medicaid payments to states so they can experiment effectively. I have faith that Texas will use that money effectively and efficiently, and ensure that the neediest Texans get the health care they need. The federal government may mean well, but it isn’t doing well.
It is time for Congress to take on out-of-control drug prices, and beat back the pharmaceutical lobby. We must change the incentives for hospitals, pharmaceutical companies so that free market forces can effectively reduce drug prices. We need more transparency in research and development costs, and we need the FDA to assess the effectiveness of new drugs compared to existing drugs, so that consumers are not tricked into buying more expensive, repackaged medicine. We need to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and establish simple, preliminary and common formularies, much like the VA does with access to other medicine if needed. This encourages free market forces to drive down costs.
One of the most promising areas of medical innovation is the expansion of telemedicine, where medical professionals treat patients across great distances using electronic communications. A significant barrier to telemedicine is the requirement that physicians obtain licenses from each state in which their current or potential patients are, or may be, located. We must fix this. It is easy to do, and it is common-sense policy.
Last, we must find ways to encourage Direct Primary Care solutions, where patients pay a reasonable fee ($100-$300 monthly) for access to a primary care doctor to manage their health care. We can do this by allowing Health Savings Account to pay for this service, since current law does not allow this. We should be seeking solutions that get ER patients without real emergencies into primary care facilities instead, reducing overall costs. We also have to remove regulatory barriers that discourage doctors from opening up their own primary care practice.
If elected I will immediately call together a Houston-based healthcare commission to tackle these problems.
Fix the VA and Take Care of Our Veterans
The VA has made improvements, but is still far from where it needs to be. I know, because I live with it every day. Our veterans are hurting, with suicide rates that are catastrophic at around 20 per day. Furthermore, excessive benefits for veterans that do not need them are costing the taxpayers billions while crowding out veterans who truly do need the care. We have to fix this.
If elected, I will keep going to the VA for my appointments, so that I continue to understand the patient experience at VA hospitals in Texas. It is time to move forward with privatizing and outsourcing evaluation services for veterans coming into the VA system. This allows VA doctors to focus on healthcare for our veterans, not compensation evaluations.
Texas is an energy leader in the world, and I will always support the Texas energy industry. Our natural resources power our homes, businesses, and millions of other infrastructures around the country. Energy jobs are critical to our economy, and must be a priority when considering any type of regulation or law coming out of Washington.
We have to unleash the power of the Texas energy sector, and become the world leader in energy that we are meant to be. There is no good reason to rely on Middle Eastern oil anymore. We should be drilling for even more clean natural gas and allowing exports around the world, so that the everyone can enjoy cleaner and cheaper energy. Cheap energy has brought billions of people from the grips of poverty over the last century. Why stop now?
The President was right to pull out of the costly and meaningless Paris Climate Agreement. That agreement was merely value signaling, not good policy. We must use our money to develop better infrastructure, not engage in hopeless attacks on our energy industry. We must invest in new and cleaner technologies that can compete in the marketplace without expensive and distortionary government subsidies.
Protecting our energy industry and protecting the environment are NOT mutually exclusive. Our country has led the world in reduced CO2 emissions while also growing our economy at three percent. We have been able to do this because the energy sector has revolutionized natural gas exploration, allowing cleaner energy to be used and reducing emissions drastically. We should all agree that we need to protect our natural treasures, lakes, rivers, forests, and oceans. “Don’t Mess With Texas” should mean something to all of us, as it certainly does for me. We have to keep Texas beautiful.
Elected office isn’t just about passing legislation, or having 1 out of 435 votes, it is about leadership. It is about using your power and influence for the good of the people in Houston.
If elected, I will immediately begin two outreach programs for our children and teenagers. The first will be focused on children’s nutrition and physical fitness, the second will be focused on teens who may be susceptible to gang activity. I am uniquely qualified to do both, so please allow me to explain:
Children’s Health: Growing up in Katy, my mother was a nutritionist for the local school district. As a kid, I thought it was so exciting when she would come sit with me during lunch in the cafeteria. It made me feel special, and I knew she not only cared about me, but all the kids and what they were eating. She knew the importance of a good diet for growing bodies.
She passed away when I was only 10 years old, after fighting breast cancer for 5 years. It was devastating. Before she died, she told me that she knew I would soar to great heights. For me, that meant I needed to help other people, the way she did.
As a SEAL, I was constantly taught the value of physical fitness and good nutrition. Keeping our bodies fit and healthy is the building block for our success. If our health suffers, we cannot do the basic things necessary to be successful. We must teach our kids these lessons at an early age.
I will not only be an advocate for healthier school lunches, but I will be on the ground working with kids on their physical fitness. I will encourage my fellow Navy SEALs to travel to Texas and do the same. We will show kids what is possible when you start building a strong foundation early on in life.
Gang Violence: Houston continues to have a serious gang problem. It is absolutely poisonous to our young teens, resulting in criminal records, school drop-outs, and even deaths. Leading a successful life after being in a gang is extremely difficult. We need people who can relate to the choices teens are facing with respect to gang membership, and we need someone who can show them a better path.
But we can’t just scare kids into making the right choices, we also have to show them a different path. I want to be able to show them what it really means to be part of a team, have camaraderie, and be truly tough. We will show them what life is like in the greatest and most elite team there is: the U.S. Navy SEALs. We must show teens that their choices now affect them forever; that they are capable of amazing things if they start on the right path now. There is no time to waste. We must reach them now.
Supporting our Israeli Allies
The American-Israeli bond runs deep, born out of mutually held values of democratic norms, rule of law, and freedoms of religion and opportunity. As a long-time supporter of Israel, I will ensure that our alliance does not waver, and that America continues to support Israeli security, advocate for her on the international stage, and contain the threat from Iran and terrorism across the region. Read Full Israel Policy
The Middle East
President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, commonly known as the JCPOA, injects a refreshing dose of hard-nosed realism into America’s foreign policy in the Middle East. This course correction, which departs from the wishful thinking and timid resolve that marked the Obama administration’s policies abroad, cannot come at a more urgent moment in the Middle East. Read Full Middle East Policy
As your future Congressman, I owe it to you to provide realistic solutions that I can fight for from the U.S. House of Representatives. Too many Congressional candidates offer talking points that are either unrealistic or already taking place at the State level. Voters in the 2nd District deserve to know what I can do for you as a member of Congress. Read Full Flood Policy