The following is a compilation of the unedited responses from Mike Collier, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Texas, to the 2018 Amarillo Pioneer Voter Guide Questionnaire. Collier is running against Republican incumbent Dan Patrick and Libertarian Kerry Douglas McKennon in the November election.
Lt. Governor of Texas
CPA, Public Accountant
Please list any of your political, civic or non-profit experience.
Ran for Comptroller in 2014, advisor to the Board of the Greater Houston Community Foundation, on the board (leave of absence) Reasoning Minds.
What is your educational background?
Undergraduate and MBA Degrees from the University of Texas
What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
I have 30 years experience in business, and I am a financial professional who specializes in diagnosing problems and recommending solutions. The biggest issues we face in Texas, in my opinion, have to do with fiscal responsibility. Our taxes, tolls, fees are increasing dramatically. We are borrowing extraordinary amounts of money and using Enron-type accounting techniques to close the books. Our State Auditor quit, and we have no independent Performance Review or public integrity capability. At the same time our schools are underfunded, our teachers and retired teachers are seeing cuts to benefits, and our transportation and water infrastructure are in sharp decline. It will take hard work and financial skill to solve these problems. Politicians in Austin have had their chance. They aren't getting the job done and its time for change.
Why did you decide to run for lieutenant governor?
I believe we are on the wrong track in terms of public education (I am a fierce proponent of public education); property taxes (the system has become patently unfair to ordinary Texans); I believe our democracy is in peril (we need to kill gerrymandering and stop the hostile corporate takeover of politics); our political leaders no longer express compassion in their public policy; and finally, I think we need leaders who will bring people together and work honestly to solve problems, not tear people apart in order to win elections.
I believe I am the right person for the job because I ran for Comptroller in 2014, thus I have one state-wide run under my belt. With relationships all over the state, I have experience raising money, and I have a compelling vision of where we need to take Texas. This I know from 4+ years of work. I also come from the business world and I can credibly take us in a new direction that Texans want and still keep Texas’ job creation machine humming. Texas can be great for business, AND great for the people who live and work here. My vision takes us to that place and is very specific and actionable.
What should the role of the Lt. Governor be in the passage of legislation and how do you plan to exercise that role?
The Lt. Governor should be the one person in the Texas Legislature that represents everyone fairly. An honest broker. I think my job is to take politics out and put competence and fair dealing into public policy. I will have access to information and a bully pulpit to make sure the legislature does their job honestly. No legislation will advance to the Governor unless it is based on sound logic, careful analysis, and is in the best interests of my fellow Texans. Unlike the incumbent who is, in my opinion, hyper-partisan, I believe the Lt Governor should be almost non-partisan in his bearing.
What will you do as Lt. Governor to help repair the relationship between the House and the Senate?
If we take hyper-partisanship out and put competent and rational thinking into our work within the legislature, we'll all get along just fine. Any legislative leader who is obsessed with power, as opposed to obsessed with what's best for Texas, will create difficulties. I will not go there.
What will be your top priority, if elected?
Restoring school funding, lowering property taxes, increasing health care availability across the state, treating people with respect. And killing gerrymandering for good, which is killing democracy in America.
Are you supported by any political action committees? If so, which ones?
I do not expect to be supported by commercially-oriented PACs, although I hope to be supported by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants of which I am a member.
Do you have any aspirations for higher office?
Why should voters choose you in 2018?
We have serious problems to solve in Texas, and I want Texas to remain the best state in America. However, property taxes are out of control, tolls and fees are too high, schools, roads, and water infrastructure are in decline. And we are taking on debt at a very rapid pace. We cannot continue to ignore these trends. Political stunts won't cut it. Its time we bring people together to solve problems.
That's what I do in my professional life, and that's what I'll do as Lt Governor.