As part of its series of interviews with candidates running in major political races, Houston Matters interviewed Tuesday Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who is running for the Texas 7th Congressional District against incumbent U.S. Representative John Culberson.
Fletcher, who is an attorney by profession, lamented the “extreme partisanship” in Congress and said it's not adequately performing its checks and balances function. “We really haven’t seen this Congress performing that check on the executive branch.”
Fletcher talked about topics that are important in the Houston region and, regarding flood risk reduction, noted that the person who represents the Texas 7th Congressional District needs to secure funding “on a constant basis” for flood mitigation. Fletcher also noted that some experts have identified certain weaknesses in the Addicks and Barker dams and said that issue should be addressed immediately.
The candidate also criticized Congressman Culberson for what she considers is a philosophy of poor cooperation with the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO).
“I think we need someone who’s gonna work with METRO and help METRO do its job to keep people moving across this city, across the county. You know, the service area is big and we need region wide transit solutions,” noted Fletcher.
Touching on another topic of local interest, the candidate said she thinks supporting the energy industry and protecting the environment is compatible. “Yes, oil and gas and energy is the driver of our economy, and fossil fuels are and will continue to be a major driver of our economy here in Houston, but people here care about clean air and clean water, and making sure we have responsible operators that are working in the industry, and I think that that’s the key, it’s to partner with people across the community.”
Fletcher also talked about immigration and expressed her support for a comprehensive reform, but also pointed out the need to make an effort to work in a bipartisan way towards that goal. “We need to send some new people there who are willing to do the work,” the candidate noted “work across the aisle and come up with solutions.”
Fletcher criticized how the Trump administration is making it more difficult to get asylum in the United States and said that families have traditionally been able to stay together –instead of being separated like it has happened this year— and did show up for their asylum hearings. “We’ve really created a problem where one didn’t exist before and I think it’s putting more of a burden on our system and it’s causing irreparable damage to these families,” the candidate commented.
As for health care, Fletcher noted that it is “people’s number one concern because there’s so much instability in our health care markets right now.” The candidate supports strengthening the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, by continuing the subsidies it entails. Covering pre-existing conditions and enabling Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs are other measures the candidate supports.
Culberson is scheduled to be interviewed on Houston Matters later this month.