Judge Paul Pape on the Issues
Texans understand the need for a secure border better than anyone. As the state with the longest border with Mexico, we experience the brunt of the crime and dangers that a vulnerable border produces. It has become increasingly apparent that Texas is on its own when it comes to border security. This past year the federal government has handicapped our border patrol and extended an open invitation to anyone who wishes to come here. Not only does this endanger our border officers and make their job impossible to accomplish, but it also makes life in our border communities unsafe and uncertain. As Texans, the responsibility of protecting our border has fallen to us. As your representative I will fight for increased funding to border operations and work to defend Texas from the Biden Administration’s harmful border policies.
Taxes & Regulation
As County Judge I serve as the Chief Budget Officer for Bastrop County. I have overseen the development of nine county budgets, all of which were balanced. Throughout my time in office I have made lowering property taxes a priority, resulting in a 17.4 percent tax rate reduction for the citizens of Bastrop County. High property taxes remain a constant issue for Texans across the state, and we need someone representing us with a proven record of lowering taxes. Additionally, our Texas economy is being threatened by federal overreach and out of state interests. My wife and I invested in a small RV park in Bastrop in the 1980s. We successfully managed and grew the small park into a large thriving business, eventually selling it after 37 years. Success stories like this are only possible when the government stays out of business.
While passing fiscally responsible budgets, I worked to increase funding for county law enforcement and 911 telecommunications by 55% during my time in office. Keeping our citizens and communities safe and secure is essential, and we must provide our brave men and women in law enforcement with the resources and support they need. In my nine years as Judge, Bastrop County has experienced six federally-declared natural disasters, including devastating wildfire and flood events. I oversaw the county’s response and recovery efforts during these events, and I saw firsthand how committed our law enforcement is to our communities. The “defund the police” efforts and other anti-police rhetoric is extremely dangerous and toxic to the wellbeing and future of our state and its people. These men and women are members of our communities, and we owe them our gratitude for their selflessness. As your state representative, I will always fight to support and defend the needs of our law enforcement.
Conducting elections in the age of Covid has brought many issues to light that need to be addressed. While most city, county and election officials in Texas conducted their elections without a problem, there were some inconsistencies and last minute changes in procedure which caused confusion and suspicion for many. The legislature passed significant legislation this session to remedy some of these issues, but there is still work to be done. I will work with my colleagues to pass meaningful, common-sense legislation to increase transparency in the voting process and re-instill voter confidence in our elections.
Right to Life
As a Christian and conservative Republican I believe that all lives are sacred, especially those of the unborn. Growing up as the son of a minister, I learned early on that every life is a blessing from God. Being a father of three and a grandfather of six, I understand our responsibility to defend the right to life, and to give everyone hope for a bright future. As your state representative I will never stop fighting for our most vulnerable Texans, and will work to increase funding to alternatives to abortion programs.
Our federal government has taken advantage of the pandemic, and imposed unlawful restrictions and mandates on our citizens. As Texans we value our freedom and independence, and our personal health choices are no different. Every citizen should have the right to choose what vaccine they do or don’t put into their body. In a world where we already have a substantial labor shortage, the government has no right to take away the jobs of qualified individuals.
Life during Covid has brought to light several issues in our education system that need to be addressed. The implementation of virtual learning in most of our schools highlighted the necessity of quality internet in our students’ homes. Being away from the classroom and losing the face to face interactions with their teachers and peers was an obstacle to learning in itself. Add a poor internet connection at home and it became virtually impossible. The need for better technology for our students, and ensuring they show up to class has never been more apparent.
Additionally, Covid and natural disasters have emphasized our need for more vocational and technical options for our students’ education. We must equip our schools with the resources they need to provide a more diverse field of learning to ensure our next generation of the workforce is prepared.
Property taxes and funding for our public education go hand in hand in Texas. For too long our communities have faced skyrocketing property taxes, making it difficult for many Texans to make ends meet. The legislature must increase the state’s contribution to funding the public education system in order to stabilize our out of control property taxes. There is only so much our counties and cities can do to alleviate this pressure on our citizens.
Our water supply is vital to the prosperity of our growing communities. As County Judge, I have worked hard to defend our water rights and supply from aggressive water marketers and big cities. In 2015 I worked with Rep. Cyrier to pass a statewide groundwater protection bill to ensure our local groundwater conservation districts could make decisions based on the needs of our communities without interference from big cities or corporations.
As County Judge I have the responsibility of appointing the board members of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (LPGCD). Recently, I led the Bastrop County Commissioners Court in passing a resolution advising the District to reject an aggressive aquifer drawdown plan for our region. As state representative I will work with our citizens and stakeholders to pass further protections for these essential resources in our rural communities.