Editorial note: This is the twenty-seventh in our series of electronic interviews with candidates in contested primaries at both the Statewide level and throughout Harris County. We have sent eight open-ended questions to each of the candidates. The following are verbatim copies of the questions sent out and the answers received.
Damian LaCroix, candidate in the Democratic primary for SD15
Texpatriate: What is your name?
DL: Damian LaCroix
T: What office are you running for?
DL: State Senator, District 15
T: What is your profession/occupation?
T: In just a few words, what does the office you are running for do and what are its responsibilities?
DL: Advocates for home district, represents the interest of constituents, drafts legislation, votes on bills proposed to the senate, participates in the initiation of proposals for constitutional amendments, confirms gubernatorial appointments to administrative and judicial posts, and tries officials impeached by the Texas House.
T: If you are running against an incumbent (primary or general), do you think the incumbent has failed? If so, why specifically?
DL: I believe the incumbent has failed the constituents he has been elected to represent. The incumbent has been in office for 42 years and chairs the criminal justice committee. He brags that no one is tougher on crime than he is, not even Republicans. Under
his leadership, Texas increased the number of people incarcerated from 64,000 in 1993 to 154,000 in 2007. The substantial increase in the number of people incarcerated has disproportionally affected African Americans and Hispanics. The
incumbent allowed African American and Hispanic children from District 15 to be used as commodities to spur economic development for rural towns throughout Texas. These children were incarcerated in facilities that were 9 hours away from
their families and the courts and many were victims of sexual abuse by administrators and staff. The incumbent ignored this problem stating that the children were “out of sight out of mind”. It took a very public scandal before he
addressed the problem.
T: What would be your three biggest priorities if elected?
DL: Improve our educational system, promote equality for everyone and create economic opportunities for underserved communities.
T: What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)? Why should people specifically vote for you?
DL: I will be active throughout the District. District 15 is very diverse and communities have different needs. My priorities will be constituent focused My life experiences, professional experiences and passion for helping people through my proactive approach to solving problems will be beneficial to all constituents. I can relate to all the people in District 15 and will be highly visible
throughout the communities, have open dialogs, easily accessible and know specific issues affecting the constituents. Furthermore, I believe in taking a proactive approach to keeping our children out of the criminal justice system. This means I will introduce legislation that invests more in educating our children rather than incarcerating them.
T: What is the most important thing you have learned thus far in the campaign?
DL: For our democracy to work voters must have a choice every election. We cannot allow incumbents to run unopposed in the primary because these districts are gerrymandered for a particular party. When incumbents go unopposed for long periods of time, they become complacent and they focus on their own needs versus the needs of the constituents. I have learned that an incumbent’s peers may disapprove of him privately, but will stand with him in public knowing he is not the best person for the job or the constituents he is elected to serve. I have learned that incumbents aggressively bully political organizations, civic leaders, voters, contributors and even the media to gain an unfair advantage over other candidates. I am surprised at how easily these individuals and organizations have allowed themselves to be bullied by incumbents into acting against their best interest and the
interest of our “democracy”. I have come to appreciate that term limits can be a great thing for the people.