The following is a compilation of the unedited responses from Joi Chevalier, Democratic candidate for Comptroller of Public Accounts, to the 2018 Amarillo Pioneer Voter Guide Questionnaire. Chevalier is running against Republican incumbent Glenn Hegar and Libertarian Ben Sanders in the November election.
Comptroller of Public Accounts
Founder, CEO The Cook's Nook, a culinary incubator with more than 22 companies in development.
Please list any of your political, civic or non-profit experience.
- Served on diverse boards focused on advancement for young women: Morning Star Rising and chairs the Girl Scouts of Central Texas Alumnae Association.
- Additionally, I was a member of Slow Food USA; earned the Slow Food Austin chapter scholarship and membership to Chefs Collaborative; am a member of the new Women in Food, Farming, and Food Technology; and am a member of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR).
- Civic service includes past roles on the Allandale Neighborhood Association Executive Committee; CityWorks Austin 2013; worked with the Democratic Party Travis County Convention Resolutions Committee; and served as a member of the Texas Democratic Party Chairman’s Platform Advisory Committee, writing platform sections on voting rights, election transparency, food justice, and foreign policy. At the TDP State Convention, she was appointed to the Nominating Committee for Party Officials. I have served as an Obama Delegate at County and State Convention in 2008 and at County Convention in 2012, and as a Bernie Sanders Delegate at County and State Convention in 2016. I am a Member of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, a Life Member of the National Black MBA Association, and Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts of the USA.
What is your educational background?
BA English, Latin; UT Austin MA English, British Literature & Technology; UT Oxford Program, Brasenose College, Oxford UK Honors Graduate; August Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.
Why did you decide to run for comptroller?
The iconoclastic Texas political history included those who championed others, ensured visibility to all corners of the state citizenry, including those most needing representation as a core value of ‘Texan.’ This included a commitment to understanding that Texas has a diverse, changing population and should be recognized as such when making financial decisions.
While the role of Comptroller is not seen today as a vocal one, the Comptroller used to be a role that showed the citizens and legislature what IS possible through revenue, budgeting, forecasting, and innovation, not just what can’t be done. I’d like to be able to restore transparency, accountability, and clarity to our finances and reporting, so that we can make informed decisions about Texas' priorities, and find opportunities to expand Texas’ prosperity to all.
What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
My background in corporate and civic work is quite extensive, often focusing on innovative and first-time technologies, programs, and boards serving large, underserved constituencies.
- Served 18 years as an innovative product leader, both for early-stage technology startups and Fortune 100s, with 2 product M&A, and Best New Product industry awards, millions in incremental revenue, and created a $12b channel business while at Dell. Created and managed multinational and highly diverse teams to deliver complex global product solutions. I also served as the Executive Assistant for BRIDGE, the African-American Employee Resource Group while at Dell.
- Owns a pioneering small business, The Cook’s Nook, focused on food+tech business incubation, with more than 20 companies in incubation and already launched in the marketplace. I speak regularly on entrepreneurship, food+tech, product management, and the opportunity for women and African-Americans in technology and also through food entrepreneurship.
- Mentor in UT/City of Austin Small Business Development Office and IC2 program - FASTForward – focused on entrepreneur development; participated in InnoTech’s March Madness; and have judged the 2017 Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition Finals.
What will be your top priority, if elected?
There’s real opportunity in several areas to push the reach and effectiveness of the office of State Comptroller. A few examples:
- highlight the imbalance in the key revenue resources for the state, that lead to wealth inequality and places burdens on individual property taxes
- close the loopholes provided through the Margin Tax
- provide a comprehensive audit to highlight waste, inefficiency, and opportunity to restore cut programs
- continue improvement of technologies for revenue gathering, management, and taxpayer engagement
- clarify and expand legitimate uses of the Rainy Day and other existing Funds, particular in crisis times
- make more visible opportunities for innovation and investment in local infrastructure through the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO); including examining potential for incentive for local, county, public education and higher institutions who innovate through clean energy usage
- highlight the real costs to Texas in not implementing Medicaid expansion through special reporting
- highlight the real damages done to public education and infrastructure through years of misrepresentations and cuts, and investigate the potential damaging effects of vouchers on Texas children, households, and public education system generally.
Are you supported by any political action committees? If so, which ones?
Why should voters choose you in 2018?
Why Joi Chevalier?
Intelligent and thoughtful: I'm capable of and interested in thinking deeply about the issues that impact all Texans and how to turn that into actionable steps while understanding compromise. I bring clarity, transparency, and proactive inquiry to get to the root of issues or concerns to find solutions.
Visionary: I take a 360-view of issues and have a proven record in solving large, complex problems for a wide range of audiences that takes needs and fiscal honesty, efficiency, and effectiveness into account. I see what Texas can be, when all of its resources are used wisely.
Caring and Compassionate: I care about the people of Texas and this state being the best it can be, with all of its citizens having an opportunity to succeed. I seek ways to create an environment of win-win for all parties, and not 'them vs us' mentality.