AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Recent polling from the Texas Politics Project places Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke as the top two candidates in the upcoming Texas governor’s election. While most coverage is devoted to those two candidates, Nexstar decided to talk to the other candidates for people who are looking for another option.
The two other candidates on the ballot are Libertarian Mark Tippetts and the Green Party’s Delilah Barrios. The latest Texas Politics Project poll projects the two receiving 1% each of the overall votes.
Mark Tippetts, who also ran for governor in 2018, is making another appearance on the ballot this upcoming November. Tippetts served on Lago Vista’s city council from 2017-19.
Delilah Barrios, who describes herself as a working-class woman of color, has centered her campaign around the Green Party’s platform of democracy, social justice, ecology and peace.
Q&A: Where the candidates stand on certain issues
Why did you decide to run?
Tippetts: “When two of my daughters were in college they called me just in tears going, ‘dad, do we really have to vote this go around?’ So I said, ‘what do you want me to do about it?’ And they said, ‘you should run for governor, for government and for office.’ And so that’s what made me decide to run, for my kids.”
Barrios: “As an activist, and I’ve been involved in environmental activism for a large part of my adult life, knowing that our voices were not being heard, in regard to the exploitation of our resources, really motivated me, because I felt like we weren’t doing enough, and I felt like we needed somebody to join for that.”
If elected, what are your intentions and overall mission?
Barrios: “My intentions are just to make sure that people are treated well in our state. I advocate for Medicare for All, higher living wages, a better quality of life, public transportation and public utilities. I think the goal is to just make sure, make sure that our citizens have fair and equal rights. My ambition is to empower people and put the government back in the hands of people.”
Tippetts: “The overall mission is to give the power back to the people. So the people have freedom of choice, freedom to choose their education, freedom from mandates — basically, re-empowering the people to take responsibility for their actions and to be able to determine their own fate without so much government intervention.”
What are your top priorities?
“School choice. That’s a big priority,” said Tippetts. Another top priority is addressing government mandates “that power and authority need to be curtailed,” he said. His last priority is property tax.
“We need to get rid of the property tax. It is unfair to people… you buy a home and then you’re forever enslaved and property tax even when you retire,” Tippetts said.
“The environment, we need to implement policies that are better for people,” said Barrios. “Statewide, single-payer health care for all is essential, and people are not making enough money to deal with the inflation and growth. So we need to balance all that out. We’re wasting a lot of money via subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. So we need to take those funds and relocate them.”
How would you address immigration?
Barrios: “My agenda would be to speed up the process by which people can become citizens in this country and provide people with housing opportunities and work opportunities as well.”
Tippetts: “We need comprehensive immigration reform, where it makes it easier for hard-working, law-abiding people to come to this country to work in a humanitarian way because at the end of the day, immigration is a positive effect. Legal immigration adds to the economy, it enriches our culture.”
Do you think any changes need to be made to SB 8?
“To me, personally, there is absolutely nothing more precious than life. However, for my kids or girls, in my opinion, there’s not a government that should have the right to tell my girls what they can and cannot do, especially with their body. It is a moral issue,” said Tippetts. “I could never go with signing any kind of law that legislates morality.”
“Yes absolutely. Day one, we want to make sure everybody has full autonomy and full patient rights and health care,” said Barrios. “My agenda would be to find anybody who’s interfering with people getting access to care, and that would include trans kids as well, to get whatever kind of care that they need.”
Has the Uvalde shooting affected the way you think about gun laws in Texas? What would you advocate for to best prevent future mass shootings?
Barrios: “I am a mom, I have three kids myself. And, you know, I do work in a trauma hospital. It did affect me… I’ve been advocating very heavily for community defense. And even before I ran, I think that defunding the police departments is helpful. I think the root issues are poverty, lack of health care, lack of clean resources.”
Tippetts: “In reference to the school shootings, I always said I would take a look at any legislation that did not violate the Second Amendment. If we have school choice, then the parents can choose where to send their children based on the curriculum, based on safety. If we get rid of the truancy laws, where the parents, if they don’t see fit to send their children to go to a school, they don’t have to go to school. We have to get rid of a lot of this. And we do have to address the mental health issue.”
How would you address further securing the power grid after record-breaking heat waves this summer?
Tippetts: “We need to get the government out of it… It must be run by the private industries. The biggest end of the power grid where there’s failure is the lack of generation. We can get and loosen restrictions on being able to build new power plants, especially nuclear power plants.”
Barrios: “We need to expand our grid and we need to invest in renewables… and we also need to make all utilities publicly owned.”
What is your proposal/solution for creating affordable housing possibilities and controlling property taxes?
Barrios: “I think that taxes are so high as it is, we need to put a cap on what families and workers have to pay. And I think that we need to make sure that there’s some sort of a wealth tax.”
Tippetts: “The property taxes are controlled at the county level. And this is where the assessment must begin. As long as we collect property tax, there’s always going to be a need for government-subsidized housing. If we did not have the property tax, some of these subsidies would not be needed. And that would create more affordable housing for people of low income.”
Where do you stand on legalizing marijuana? Do you support expanding medical usage legalizing recreational usage or none of the above?
Tippetts: “All of the above. We definitely need to legalize marijuana in all the aspects there are and decriminalize it totally.”
Barrios: “All of the above. Recreational usage is on my platform specifically for veterans and people who need it medicinally.”