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Mark Strama

Mark Strama's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Full Name: Mark Strama
Gender: Male
Family: Wife: Crystal; 1 Child: Victoria
Birth Date: 09/10/1967
Birth Place: Houston, TX
Home City: Austin, TX
Religion: Christian
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Mark Strama refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2012 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Texas State Legislative Election 2008 Political Courage Test

This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.

The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.
a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Xd) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
Xe) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Abortions should be subject to a mandatory waiting period.
Xg) Require clinics to give parental notification before performing abortions on minors.
h) Other or expanded principles

Women should have the right to choose abortion. Parental consent should include a judicial bypass within the limits of Roe v. Wade.

State Budget: Indicate what state funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category, you can use a number more than once.
Greatly Increasea) Education (Higher)
Greatly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
c) Emergency preparedness
Slightly Increased) Environment
e) Health care
f) Law enforcement
Slightly Increaseg) Transportation and highway infrastructure
h) Welfare
i) Other or expanded categories
State Taxes: Indicate what state tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category, you can use a number more than once.
Slightly Increasea) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Statusb) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Statusc) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statusd) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Statuse) Margin taxes
Maintain Statusf) Sales taxes
Slightly Increaseg) Vehicle taxes
h) Other or expanded categories

Due to recent increases in cigarette taxes and corporate taxes, we should wait and see if these new taxes yield more revenue to meet state needs before considering additional taxes.

Yes1) Should state sales taxes be extended to Internet sales?
No2) Should accounts such as a "rainy day" fund be used to balance the state budget?
Undecided3) Should fee increases be used to balance the state budget?
4) Other or expanded principles

Some fee increases to meet inflation are acceptable, but fees that are for dedicated purpose should not be swept into general revenue and treated like taxes.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
Noa) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Texas governors?
Nob) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Texas state senators and representatives?
c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?
Yes1) Individual
Yes2) PAC
Yes3) Corporate
Yes4) Political Parties
Yesd) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Yese) Do you support imposing spending limits on state-level political campaigns?
Undecidedf) Should Texas participate in the federal REAL ID program?
Nog) Should the Texas Lottery be sold to a privately owned business?
h) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.
a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and hiring of additional prison staff.
Xb) Support the death penalty in Texas.
Xc) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xd) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
e) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
f) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
g) Support state and local law enforcement officials enforcing federal immigration laws.
Xh) Support hate crime legislation.
i) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
Xa) Support state funding of universal pre-K programs.
Xb) Support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
Xc) Support state education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students.
Xd) Support requiring public schools to administer high school exit exams.
e) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any public school.
f) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
Xg) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
Xh) Support using a merit pay system for teachers.
Xi) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.
Xj) Support allowing illegal immigrant high school graduates of Texas to pay in-state tuition at public universities.
k) Other or expanded principles

NCLB should be fully funded by the federal government, and the current testing regime needs to be totally overhauled so that educators can use it for diagnostic purposes, but not be forced to compromise all instruction to the demands of testing.

Merit pay should only be used if measured by academic growth to avoid penalizing teachers who take on the most challenging assignments.

I support charter schools and public school choice programs.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.
Xa) Increase funding for state job-training programs that re-train displaced workers and teach skills needed in today’s job market.
Xb) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector.
c) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding, or relocating businesses.
Xd) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for children in low-income working families.
Xe) Increase state funds to provide child care for children in low-income working families.
Xf) Include sexual orientation in Texas anti-discrimination laws.
Xg) Include gender identity in Texas anti-discrimination laws.
Xh) Increase the state minimum wage.
i) Support laws that prevent employers from dismissing employees at will.
Xj) Support financial punishments for those who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.
Xk) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.
Xl) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
m) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
Xa) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
Xb) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil, etc).
c) Support providing financial incentives to farms that produce biofuel crops.
d) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.
Xe) Support funding for improvements to Texas power generating and transmission facilities.
Xf) Support funding for open space preservation.
Xg) Limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
h) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.
i) Other or expanded principles

Increased production of Texas coal and oil should be matched with carbon capture and sequestration incentives.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.
Yesa) Should background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
Yesb) Should citizens be allowed to carry concealed guns?
Yesc) Should a license be required for gun possession?
Yesd) Do you support current levels of enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Yese) Do you support current state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
f) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.
a) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state-funded care where necessary.
b) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
c) Limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
d) Allow patients to sue their HMOs.
e) Require hospitals and labs to release reports on infections that are a risk to public health, while not compromising patient confidentiality.
f) Legalize physician assisted suicide in Texas.
g) Allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
h) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding social issues.
Yesa) Should Texas recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
b) Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
Yesc) Should Texas provide state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples?
d) Do you support a moment of silence in public schools?
Yese) Do you support voluntary prayer in public schools?
Yesf) Do you support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods?
Nog) Do you support abstinence-only sexual education programs?
Yesh) Should the state government consider race and gender in state government contracting and hiring decisions?
Yesi) Do you support affirmative action in public college admissions?
Yesj) Should Texas continue affirmative action programs?
Yesk) Do you support state funding of stem cell research?
Yesl) Do you support state funding of embryonic stem cell research?
Nom) Do you support allowing pharmacists who conscientiously object to emergency contraception to refuse to dispense it?
n) Other or expanded principles
Legislative Priorities
Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

I believe we need to overhaul our state testing system in public schools so that education does not revolve around testing; however, testing is effective at assessing student needs and adopting instruction to meet those needs.

I believe Texas needs to continue to incentivize and stimulate the renewable energy industry, and lead - not fight - the evolution from oil and gas to clean, affordable energy technologies.

Finally, I will continue to advocate campaign finance reform and redistricting reform so that politicians can be held accountable by voters.

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