My short bio: I'm Cris Hernandez and I am running in the Democratic primary for Texas State Representative of District 126, which covers northwest Houston, parts of Spring, Tomball and Cypress. I'm here to answer any questions on policy or the election process. Remember to vote Tuesday, March 1.

My Proof: www.hernandezfortx126.com is my website. And www.facebook.com/hernandezfortx126 is my Facebook page. More proof

Comments: 144 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

bigredpbun31 karma

You had previously done an AMA as a Libertarian third party candidate https://www.reddit.com/r/houston/comments/2ivzu6/i_am_cris_hernandez_libertarian_candidate_for/ what changed?

HernandezforTexas20 karma

My first vote was cast for a Democratic presidential candidate--John Kerry. And I voted Democratic all the way through Obama '08, which was an amazing experience. I participated in my first caucus for Obama and I was selected as an alternate delegate. After that I kind of got disillusioned with politics for a time. A lot of trying things up until that point: bailouts, recession, escalating war etc. Somewhere along the way I began to get into political philosophy and economics quite heavily. And it somehow led me to find myself somewhere between Rawls and Hayek--a classical liberal. But my stint in the Libertarian Party was more a protest and also a favor to party members to keep them on the ballot. My greatest realization was that the local can matter a great deal more than the national political scene. It was far past time for me to stop sitting and jabbing from the sidelines; I needed to get into the thick of it and choose a side. I did. It is a party I should have never left. The party I feel has really lost its message. There is nothing truly uniquely Texan any longer. That is the space I think we need to create for Democrats out in the suburbs. A message that works for us to bring the more moderate Republicans into the fold, the few libertarians and greens, and the faithful Democrats too.

cheeseburger_boy2 karma

Rawls was one of my biggest influences in political philosophy as well. Took an entire seminar on him in college and it was so influential on who I am as a person today. Really made me realize your can be extremely passionate about having a moderate stance that is well-reasoned and based on sound arguments. I feel like too many people think that there is something non-virtuous or in reddit's case 'uncool' about being not being a political radical, which is why there is so much Bernie support.

HernandezforTexas4 karma

You'll get a kick out of this quote I had to condense down from one of my old papers I wrote--it is a much longer paragraph, but the message is still there. You should really pick up, "Free Market Fairness" by John Tomasi. I promise you will not regret it! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1164568566895265&set=pcb.1164568920228563&type=3&theater

thurgood_peppersntch1 karma

Gotta say man, I wish you were running in Baton Rouge. I like the cut of your jib

HernandezforTexas1 karma

Thanks! Hey, we do it right, I may be able to find other candidates like myself and recruit them. I think the Democrat party is in a unique place to bring about voices that have been somewhere in the middle, but crowded out by the extreme on both sides.

bigredpbun1 karma

Thank you for your considerate reply.

HernandezforTexas1 karma

You're very welcome.

Jawne9 karma

Hey! Someone from my area! I live one district over in the part of Cypress not covered.

Your site doesn't mention some positions that I am curious about. Mostly the ones I am most disappointed in Patricia Harless' votes.

Texas' Abortion "ban" limiting clinics that can perform abortions?

Corporal punishment in schools?

Voter ID?

State enforcement of Federal Firearm Regulations?

Death penalty?

Drug testing for Unemployment Benefits?

State vs local regulations of Oil and Gas operations (Can local governments ban Fracing?)

Gambling in Texas (From full blown casinos to horse tracks to online daily fantasy?)

Internet sales tax?

I know these are real questions but just a general idea of your thoughts on the topics would be great. These are all areas where I feel Harless has failed Texas.

HernandezforTexas12 karma

I'll hit on as much as I can now and I will be glad to revisit later.

I think the abortion measures passed by the Texas legislature have largely been punitive and harsh.

Harless was one of the key proponents of the Voter ID bill and yesterday I actually did a video on some of the voters we've talked to while we have been campaigning. An elderly woman was about to not vote because she thought if she lost her Voter ID card, she was unable to vote. After we informed her she could use her state ID and the other applicable forms of ID, she was relieved. But this is something not uncommon.

Given the issues with our criminal justice system and crime labs, I think often our zest for the Death Penalty is a bit misplaced. It is not something I support.

Drug testing for unemployment benefits is largely a waste of taxpayer money as numerous studies have shown from states that instituted it. As some people jokingly mock, maybe we ought to be drug testing our elected officials?!

State vs Local--given the Republicans love of small government and Texas long tradition of home rule cities, I find it ironic a state that has such rich tradition of local control and an aversion for top down coercion finds itself the instrument of such hostility to local governments trying to protect their citizens from fracking. What has occurred in Denton and the subsequent legislation that repealed their right to local control, is really terrible. And goes against the very principles I would think conservatives should uphold.

I think we should expand gambling in Texas.

ExperiencedJerk6 karma

Where do you stand on the 2nd amendment?

HernandezforTexas9 karma

I firmly uphold the 2nd amendment. I am not so sure about open carry--I get a lot of kick back from even the gun enthusiast on that one. I find that one evenly split. On the campus carry issue, I would really just want that be more localized on the choice to allow it or not.

burnhamboats1 karma

Gambling should be legalized on Galveston Island, they would become the next Atlantic City and Texas dollars would quit going out of state to Louisiana or Oklahoma.

HernandezforTexas4 karma

I wholeheartedly agree!

LzrdKing701 karma

A portion of tax dollars would remain in the state, but Galveston is farther from DFW than the Oklahoma casinos and those in Louisiana as well. Texas needs to legalize gambling once and for all.

HernandezforTexas2 karma

I agree.

pgm1236 karma

What kind of strategies do Democrats running for office in Texas have to implement and how would it differ from another state? Are you appealing just to the base or do you have to have a more conservative message?

HernandezforTexas8 karma

I think first you would have to create at least two categories of Democratic candidates: one that runs in a more progressive centered area and one that likely would have to run in a "purple" area or with the mission to make an area purple. A good book on the subject to kind of trace where the Democratic dominance began and ended is, "Twilight of the Texas Democrat", which traces the history of the party that I think many lessons can be derived from it. To your second point, I think it is not that they have to be more conservative, in the modern sense, I see the would only need to adopt a libertarian like platform that was staunchly about social liberal values coupled with fiscal responsibility. Really in essence a classical liberal.

fishtruckthatloads5 karma

What are your thoughts on the presidential race? Who do want, and who do you expect to win?

HernandezforTexas8 karma

I think this might be the most dismal, but most entertaining one for sure. My money is on Trump right now, especially given the turnout in Texas, to win the Republican nomination. I think Bernie Sanders has ran a spirited campaign and given a lot of folks hope, but the Clinton win in South Carolina is all but sewing things up for her.

Cannabis_kid5 karma

What's your stance on marijuana reform?

HernandezforTexas30 karma

Great question! http://www.hernandezfortx126.com/cannabis-reform/

We have a whole section for that issue. But short answer I fully support both ensuring we legalize WHOLE PLANT medicinal cannabis use and the legalization of it for recreational purposes.

Cannabis_kid4 karma

Outstanding, we need more like you in Texas. Thanks for the reply.

HernandezforTexas12 karma

The good thing is there is movements on both sides of the aisle for it. We just need to continue to be vocal and get people to understand both the criminal justice ends of it, the economic benefits, and the medical benefits too.

ThatOneClone2 karma

You should visit San Marcos!

HernandezforTexas3 karma

I have many, many, times! One of my favorite places in Texas.

Lurking_Still4 karma

I would like to know when our election process will be tailored a bit more towards rational thought rather than a ridiculous two-party split?

By that, I mean separating presidential and local tickets for the election process.

I went and voted this past week, and I was absolutely appalled. I voted D and as you are aware, that removes my ability to vote for any Republican candidate. The sheriff in my county is up for re-election as incumbent. He is, and I refuse to use kinder language, an enormous dickbag. I wanted desperately to vote for his opposition, to evoke change at the local level where it would impact my life the most. However he was not running against any Dems, only less ridiculous Republicans. Why am I denied the choice of lesser evils?

However I was denied this chance, simply because I felt someone was more qualified to be president than the GOP did.

How do we fix this? Being pigeonholed by party is ridiculous and antiquated. I'm sure there will be enormous opposition to such a change, yet I can't help but feel it would be in the better interests of our country.

Thank you for your time, and the AMA.

Quick Edit: Clarity, and the fact that the incumbent sheriff was only running against Republicans.

HernandezforTexas4 karma

I agree. Even now as I run in a major party for office, I cannot help but continue my insistence that straight-ticket voting and the type of voting primaries we have go the way of the Dinosaur. We shouldn't have to wait to the general to mix our ticket and we surely should not be forced to vote only in a party primary, simply because we may like 1 or more of their candidates.

Lurking_Still1 karma

I apologize for my late reply, I'm sure the AMA is over. Is there anything currently being done to change the way the primaries are conducted?

If not, what would you suggest one might do to begin the process?

HernandezforTexas4 karma

Currently, from what I know, nothing. Sadly, I think you would have a tougher time reforming the primary system than you would the straight-ticket voting. If I started with anything, it would be building a coalition to abolition that possibly. First step.

Lurking_Still1 karma

Interesting. I do appreciate the reply. I'll be sure to stress straight-ticket voting as a linchpin issue.

HernandezforTexas3 karma

Cheers!

Lurking_Still1 karma

As a small aside, kudos to you for still being active on AMA replies multiple hours into it.

Well done indeed, good luck in your district.

HernandezforTexas3 karma

Thank you!

aurthurallan4 karma

Are there elected democrats in Texas?

HernandezforTexas8 karma

Almost seems like there isn't most times. But yes, they do exist. 😂

PhillipBrandon3 karma

Where do you see the State government's role in attracting/retaining businesses to the area, and what political or legislative tools do you think are appropriate for those efforts?

HernandezforTexas3 karma

I think we have seen the tools that our government currently uses now, things like the Enterprise Fund for example. We have also seen the danger in having funds like this dole out favors as the last audit of it discovered. I know Abbott came in with the notion he was going to better about administering the grants/incentives. My concern is always what happens when government is vested with that kind of power and the type of rent-seeking that occurs. I would imagine our low-tax, business friendly climate would be an ideal draw sans a need to provide actual monetary incentives to relocate and retaining business in the area. For me those are the most effective tools of the legislature. I am pretty firmly against things like the Enterprise Fund. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Scathing-audit-rakes-governor-s-office-over-Texas-5781567.php

dd1zzle3 karma

What do you wish to accomplish, if you were elected?

HernandezforTexas10 karma

I would like to address the rise of property tax on two fronts: expanding medicaid and fixing the unfair system of tax protest that favors multi-million/billion dollar commercial properties over home owners who are footing the bill for those breaks.

I would want to push through criminal justice reform on non-violent offenses and decriminalize marijuana.

I would also like to get serious about the funding scheme for schools. Robin Hood is not working and is just a byzantine process very few people even understand.

ThoricCanine4232 karma

Hello, what do you think the biggest issue America is facing today? How do you think you could address that issue in Texas and maybe eventually other states?

HernandezforTexas2 karma

That is kind of hard one. We have some unique problems due to the structure of our tax system that might not exactly mirror what is going on in America today. For example, we do not have an income tax. So sales, and property tax along with some other industry taxes make up a bulk of our funding. It makes for a far more trickier shell game when it comes to what to fund and what not to fund. Healthcare might be the most approximate one I can think of, but in a lot of ways steps were already taken under the ACA to address this, so really Texas is just kind of waiting in the wings. With a new Medicaid wavier 1332, set to be accessible this Jan 2017, Texas is in a unique position to solve its healthcare problem in a very Texas way, independent of mandates. I really feel we should seize this opportunity. It should appeal to both progressive and conservative alike.

blueberrypie82 karma

How does the democratic party help your campaign, if at all? and how much do you rely on donations?

In Canada our political parties can attribute funding to their candidates, and all donations made are capped and have a tax rebate.

Currently studying comparative politics America vs Canada, and curious on first hand knowledge.

HernandezforTexas3 karma

Actually not much at all. It is really the network I have built among Democrats, libertarians, and Republicans, that have helped. And the generous donations from individual donors.

blueberrypie81 karma

It was stated in this thread that you once ran as a third party (libertarian)... how have you found the voters react to third party candidates when the U.S. is dominated by bipartisan factions?

HernandezforTexas3 karma

A lot of, "you'll never win." Which I feel has not all changed very much considering my choice to seek the Democratic nomination. The interesting thing last election was that we picked up a lot of the Democratic voters, largely due to a protest vote, but I like to think because we never talked like some tin-foil hat wearing libertarian (as folks like to joke) we had a a very moderate Democratic message even then.

blueberrypie81 karma

Yea, not sure if you follow any cdn poly, but we had a similar situation with a strong liberal vote.

I feel there's a strong wave of "revolution" type vote recently, branching away from the norm. Especially with the strong party reform around trump and bernie, both outliers in their primaries but have a heavy following.

Anyway, goodluck with your election!!

HernandezforTexas3 karma

Thank you! If we make it to the general, we'll certainly be doing things different. Keep an eye on us!

forava72 karma

How did you decide what party to join? What influenced you as well?

HernandezforTexas4 karma

One thing is somewhat tradition. My family and I have a long tradition of Democratic leaning voting. But often I find my economics can put me at odds with some of the more national party trends. In Texas, it puts me firmly in the Democratic Party, which I find isn't so much left here as it is moderate.

But ultimately for me, even with some of my economic reservations, I fall on the side of individual liberty for how people choose to live their lives and respect and dignity for those with the least among us. I think this party reflects that value more so than the Republican Party, that has seemed to have turned the politics of fear into a machine that has now gotten out of hand even for their establishment.

kumaclimber2 karma

What are you going to do to help awaken cthulhu?

HernandezforTexas3 karma

Funniest question yet. Your ideas on the subject?

kumaclimber2 karma

I feel voting for the lesser of 2 evils never works out so let's vote for the most evil candidate. Also you get fun slogans like #nolivesmatter, equality through insanity, eat the rich, and no more years. In all seriousness I think awakening the old gods to bring about the end times is really a solid plan for fixing a lot of our problems. It'll end racism because our bleached skeletons are all the same color. Man made climate change, not a problem when there's no more people. National debt got you down? Cthulhu will make money literally worthless. I could go on and on but I feel awakening the old one is a fantastic idea.

HernandezforTexas3 karma

Sounds like Trump is your candidate. Ha!

rryval1 karma

After seeing that you stated marijuana WILL be legalized in Texas, do you have any idea when this will happen? Additionally, are a majority of politicians you're associated with supporters of legalization as well?

HernandezforTexas2 karma

I say will as in the opinion has already shifted in our favor, it's now a matter of getting the right mix of legislators.

There are some that favor it. By no means a majority. However, attitudes are softening as demonstrated by the medical marijuana bill passed in the last legislative session.

What is most encouraging is that this is an issue that transcends both sides. There are reps and advocacy groups in both camps working to legalize/decriminalize cannabis.

rryval1 karma

Good news. Hopefully soon I won't have to worry about my entire future being ruined over having some weekend fun.

HernandezforTexas1 karma

Amen.

masterurbiz1 karma

What are your thoughts on the following two issues:

Redistricting in Texas?

Electing State Supreme Court members, your thoughts?

HernandezforTexas8 karma

Redistricting is soon approaching and the gerrymandering will be underway. The tough thing is I really don't see a bright spot there unless more Democrats are elected to the Texas House, Senate etc.

That's a tough one too. I cannot imagine anyone being serious when they make the argument the system we have now is ideal. But with the many revelations of Scalia's privately funded trips, the appointment model is not looking all that better. And then you have the merit based system that looks interesting, as in Missouri and Alaska. I'll be honest, there is a lot of debate and discussion needed on this one. I appreciate you bringing this question up. It is an important one.

masterurbiz1 karma

Thanks for your response! Never heard of the merit based system, I will look more into that. Good luck with your campaign

HernandezforTexas1 karma

Thanks for the question!

Envoy_to_the_Stars1 karma

This may seem like a very specific issue, but it's something that hits close to home with me. There are a large number of Volunteer Fire Departments in your district. It seems like every few years we hear of a new bill on the Federal level that is put in place to support volunteer firefighters and the like, but it disappears as quickly as it was proposed. If elected, what are your plans to help support volunteer first responders?

HernandezforTexas3 karma

I have had many friends that have worked in the Cy-Fair Vol Fire Dept out in my area and have served this community with honor. I would do all I could to support first responders. I have actually made it a point that should we make it to the general, my friend will be taking the lead on helping me shape policy that addresses the needs of the first responder community.

Jawne1 karma

Here is something I've always wondered and not campaign specific. How do people afford to be state reps? From what I can tell you only make $7,200 a year but are required to attend what can be up to 140 day sessions and any special sessions called by the governor. This pretty much means you can't have a "normal" job and be a rep right? What do all of those people do while not in session to earn money but not be overtly corrupt?

HernandezforTexas4 karma

Good question. I know a lot of Reps are business owners, so I suppose you can imagine they can have someone run those businesses while they are away. But it does present an issue of just what kind of legislator that kind of breeds in the sense that an average Texan working an hourly job could never serve. There seems to be something unfair about that and quite undemocratic.

Jawne1 karma

That was sort of my feeling about it. It feels very much like they are limiting it to those who have money or have a spouse making good money or are retired.

HernandezforTexas2 karma

Yeah. And again, I am not sure how great of system that is ultimately. Since a lot of folks don't pay much attention to the local politics, to their detriment, a lot of this goes unnoticed.

Scott65061 karma

Hey cool I went to Klein Oak in Spring. I moved to Austin for school and never left. How's the area treating ya? Been awhile since I've been back.

HernandezforTexas5 karma

Still pleasant. A lot of growth!

Scott65061 karma

I imagine the Exxon Mobile World Headquarters moving to the Woodlands had a huge effect. And the Grand Parkway finally finished! Wow a'lot has changed!

HernandezforTexas2 karma

It really has! Now these toll roads aside, the Grand Parkway is a sight to behold and a dream to ride.

Mercuryn1 karma

Does it feel scary to run in a state that usually votes Republican? How confident do you feel against other candidates in this race?

HernandezforTexas3 karma

No. I think that's part of the excitement. I feel we have a really good shot at getting the nod this Tuesday. We will have our work cut out going against the Republican.

_420CakeDay1 karma

How will you help to stop illegal immigration?

HernandezforTexas5 karma

This is a really complicated question. It certainly isn't through enforcement alone. This is a product of economics, the failed war on drugs, and a broken immigration system.

State action could be directed at ensuring violent criminals who are here without permission be deported in conjunction with ICE. Federal attention should be directed at those efforts and finding a path to comprehensive immigration reform. Additional state action could and should be to remove the incentive to traffic cannabis across the border by legalizing it.

But we should also take notice that illegal border crossing have diminished in recent years.

TheDesertFaux1 karma

Where do you see your political career ending? What are your long term goals?

HernandezforTexas4 karma

I can't say I've really looked to the future right now. I don't really see myself as some sort of career politician. And as one of the Reddit participants today so shrewdly pointed out, my possible success in the general is quite bleak.

However, this hasn't been my goal just to simply win. I want to raise issues and voices in my community that for nearly a decade have not had the chance to be heard. With an open seat in the air, we now have a chance to make our voices loudly heard.

thalos3D1 karma

Do you have a plan to balance the federal budget? Under your plan, what is the time frame before revenues equal outlays? Would you support any increases in spending before the budget is balanced?

HernandezforTexas3 karma

I am running to be a state representative, so my purview would be the state budget not the federal one.

Though yes, as always ideal, a balanced budget is best.

Rosencats1 karma

What's it like being a Democrat in Texas?

HernandezforTexas2 karma

I think some might characterize it as lonely at times. But I think once you get past the fear of talking with folks, you find so many who agree with you, even when they are absolute Republicans. It's likely this is a product of having a monopoly party. It makes party affiliation nearly synonymous with being a Texan. But it was just as easily Democrat nearly some 40+ years ago. Things change.

I suppose what I'm mostly concerned with at the present moment is to bring moderation again to Texas politics.

MrIvysaur1 karma

No offense, but why didn't you come up with a better website name? hernandez2016 and hernandez126 are both available, as well as many others. www.hernandezfortx126.com doesn't roll off the tongue; it has no ring to it.

HernandezforTexas2 karma

I certainly like those better. And they are shorter. Biggest hurdles to overcome in races like these are people not knowing what a state rep is, and confusing it with the federal level. The TX or some indication it's local becomes necessary. 126 for most people is not recognizable. We have Hernandezfortx, which is at least shorter.

kconnors1 karma

legalization of marijuana?

HernandezforTexas1 karma

Fully in support of it.

Vayate0 karma

Why run with the Democrat party instead of the Republicans? Don't your classical liberal views clash with their Marxist-Leninist streak?

HernandezforTexas2 karma

I can see that concern. But Texas has always had a brand of Texas Democrats like in the mold of Bill Hobby that really challenge that notion. I feel that is where we need to get back to as a party.

SuckARichard0 karma

Have you gotten any strange threats from Texas ultra-conservatives?

HernandezforTexas6 karma

No. And I sure hope that does not change.

jhurlz-1 karma

Without getting into the specifics of bills, how would you vote on the idea of a free college education bill like Bernie has mounted his campaign on?

HernandezforTexas5 karma

While I believe a free college education would be great, as I have a nice sum of college debt myself, I am not sure how feasible it all is in the long run. The idea seems big on vision, but short on actual implementation.

JMEUP-1 karma

Why are you wasting your time running as a Democrat in a heavily gerrymandered republican district? Do you not know that mathematically you have no chance to win. Or, are you just seeking attention? Not trying to be a dick, I'm serious.

HernandezforTexas3 karma

I think this is the mistake of the way the Democratic Party has operated in areas like the suburbs. Especially given this race will have the first open seat in about over a decade. And I totally understand the odds. But if people in the community who are Democrats, or at least feel their voice isn't being heard, don't start to build the infrastructure, network, etc. to raise issues, or prepare for a race when the Demographics fully shift, then I am not sure if this state will ever "Turn Blue" or "Purple." I also believe the messaging has been off. No one has tried to run anything different than a like a national Democrat and time and time again we are reminded that does not play in Texas. Ultimately, it is a long process. But one that has to begin somewhere. I gladly offer myself up to begin that work because I really believe in what we are doing. As we have been out, the mere fact people cannot remember the last time they had their door knocked on, or when a Democrat or Republican came to speak to them, leads me to believe there is a lot of untapped potential out here.

JMEUP0 karma

Yea. It just seems to me that you could better use your time to promote change without trying to draw attention to yourself. You'll never win. But, you can seriously promote change if you dedicate yourself to a humble voter registration and education drive. Or by aligning yourself with candidates who actually are elected already and helping them grow the party. Seems like your plan is very self serving and narrow.

HernandezforTexas1 karma

I'm sorry you feel that way. All my efforts are concentrated to raising awareness on people within my community and their voices. I suppose if that seems self-serving, I guess you could direct that at the countless hours everyone on our team has dedicated to going out and speaking to folks in our community and making sure people can vote.

The efforts you speak about are aims we have for the general. But that will take a massive effort we could not launch till our primary was settled. We would have set upon those goals earlier had we not had a primary challenger.

It seems you may not have a very firm grasp on Texas politics.

And the efforts you stated were undertaken by an organization with a vast budget and huge amounts of people and failed miserably here--Battleground Texas.

OttselSpy25-1 karma

You Feelin' the Bern?

HernandezforTexas6 karma

From what I can gather about the bulk of them that are voting for me, they are really feeling the Bern. So I suppose you can go from there? : )

alt_as_frak-3 karma

ok definitely not enough proof.

alt_as_frak-3 karma

how about making an announcement on your OFFICIAL WEBSITE? With this logic, if I looked vaguely like Bill Gates, I could link his wiki, his facebook and post photo of myself with a sign that says "Hi, Buffalo Bill here, ask me anything" and get away with it.

HernandezforTexas5 karma

Well, it's on my personal and campaign Facebook page. And I've posted into the local Democratic groups in my area. But this should also push it to the news section that has our Facebook feed on the website itself.