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Davis, Shelton sharply disagree on fiscal policies

Wendy Davis

Age: 49

Party: Democrat

Current office: Senate District 10 Senator

Background: Davis, a Fort Worth attorney, served nine years on the Fort Worth City Council before defeating incumbent Kim Brimer for the District 10 Senate seat in 2008. A single mother by the age of 19, Davis worked her way from Tarrant County College to TCU to Harvard Law School, where she graduated with honors. She has two daughters.

Quotable: “Investment in public education is an investment in growing our economy. And while Mark was voting to cut 5.5 billion from public education, I was voting and standing up against those cuts, because I understood the impact on peoples’ lives that they would have.” – Davis on why she opposed the most recent state budget, which she said was not an “honest product.”

Mark Shelton

Age: 55

Party: Republican

Current office: House District 97 Representative

Background: Shelton has been a pediatrician at Cook’s Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth for more than 20 years. He grew up in Arlington and graduated from Lamar High School before attending Baylor University and Texas A&M Medical School. Shelton and wife, Mary Ann, have been married 30 years and live in Fort Worth. They have four sons and a daughter.

Quotable: “The voters in this district told me they wanted a balanced budget that didn’t raise taxes. And that’s what we did. We also put money in the rainy day fund because of the certainty of what was happening in the economy, because of the uncertainty and impact of Obamacare on the state, which is going to be substantial.” – Shelton on why he was in favor of the most recent state budget, which Davis opposed.

The issues

Several recurring issues have popped up over the course of one of the most highly-publicized races in the state, including the opponents’ clashing views on the most recent state budget, Davis’ campaign finance disclosure ethics and the expansion of Medicaid in the state.

Budget was not an “honest product,” Davis emphasizes.

Davis has vehemently opposed the most recent state budget, claiming that it was not “an honest product” as it did not actually balance the state funds, but rather defer payments for later. A large part of her opposition to that, has been the education funds that were cut from the budget.

Shelton, on the other hand, has emphasized the fact that passing the budget was simply what his constituents wanted: A balanced budget that didn’t raise taxes.

Davis “despicable,” Shelton claims.

And while Davis has attacked Shelton on his support of the budget, Shelton has not backed down in claiming Davis was unethical in her disclosure of business relationships with state lobbyists.

“My opponent used her office to enrich herself and that is just despicable, actually,” Shelton said during his opening statement at an Oct. 18 debate with Davis.

Shelton in October filed a formal complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission. The complaint, however, was rejected.

“I have complied absolutely with every ethics law in the state of Texas,” Davis said at the debate. “My law partner and I are very proud of the work we do. We have filed every bit of the paperwork we’re required to do.”

Opponents share differing views on Medicaid

Unsurprisingly, Davis and Shelton share opposing views on the expansion of Medicaid in the state.

Davis supports expansion, citing both health and economic benefits.

“Bringing a 100 billion into the Texas economy over a 10 year period of time creates an economic multiplier of about 250 billion dollars in terms of the money will be realized in our economy,” she said, referencing a recent report from Baylor economics professor, Ray Perryman. “It also creates an opportunity for us to not have to worry about jobs as much as we are now.”

From a patient perspective, Medicaid only makes sense, Davis said.

“Texas, right now, has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country,” she said. “One out of every four person has no health insurance, and their treatment is being provided through emergency room, the most expensive care. There’s certainly no excuse that when a child has an ear infection that they would need to go to the emergency room to treat that.”

Shelton was quick to oppose the notion of expansion.

“I’m against Obamacare,” he said. “It’s already increased premiums by $1300 per family. This is a tax, and don’t forget that tax is going to start in January.”

Shelton said Medicaid simply isn’t feasible.

“The problem with the Medicaid system is not that it needs to double, the problem is that it needs to be functional,” Shelton said. “And it’s not functional at all.”




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