Texas Democrats want better healthcare, rewards for hard work. That’s hardly extreme | Opinion

If you read the Texas Democratic Party’s platform, you’ll see that we support rewarding hard work and innovation, public schools for all instead of private school vouchers for the elite, more healthcare coverage for more working families, and protecting a woman’s medical choices, especially when she faces a life-threatening pregnancy.

The Republicans in charge of Texas embrace billionaires, private over public schools, and total control over our personal lives. The latest edition of the Republican Party of Texas platform only doubles down on that agenda.

Platforms are a party’s way of announcing beliefs, values and public policy endorsements. Our platform, approved this month at our convention in El Paso, sides with working families. It does not, as a Star-Telegram columnist suggested recently, promote “extreme policy ideas.”

Our platform actually uses the words “fiscal responsibility” repeatedly, but you will not find that in the Republicans’ platform.

The GOP supports private-school vouchers to benefit the elites at the expense of public funding for public schools for all Texas kids. Texas Democrats support the Texas Constitution’s guarantee of a good, free public education for all Texas children.

And Texas Democrats understand that public schools are the vital heart of small-town communities all over Texas. What is a family going to do with a private-school voucher in small towns such as Rusk, Decatur or Falfurrias?

Texas Democrats support expanding healthcare to cover more working families. Texas has one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, and a strong and healthy population should fuel a booming economy.

Democrats support cheaper healthcare and lower drug costs for everyone by expanding Medicaid. Meanwhile, Republicans call for Texas to remain one of only 11 states that has not opted to expand Medicaid to cover lower-income working people.

There is one thing the Star-Telegram column was right about: Texas Democrats unequivocally stand for a woman’s right to make her own healthcare choices with her doctor, especially when she is faced with a life-threatening pregnancy. On the other hand, the Republican platform states that physicians performing abortions possibly face homicide charges — potentially punishable by the death penalty.

The Star-Telegram piece attacks Texas Democrats’ proposal to repeal “right to work” laws governing union membership. But some of the best jobs in Fort Worth are union jobs at Lockheed, American Airlines, General Motors, and BNSF. We need more, not less, good-paying union jobs like these throughout Texas.

Back to the Texas GOP, though. When did the Republican Party of Texas become the party of Russian appeasement? The party calls for the end of aid to Ukraine’s effort to defend against Russia’s invasion and use diplomacy.

Texas Republicans don’t seem to understand that U.S. funding to support the defense of Ukraine creates jobs in Texas to build new weapons and ammunition as we share our old stockpiles with Ukraine for their defense. Texas Democrats realize we must strengthen our alliances with other countries to protect America’s economic and security interests.

The extreme GOP platform reads like a cross between “The Handmaid’s Tale” and a billionaires’ wish list. The Texas Democratic Party platform sets forth our values of supporting working families, defending public schools from voucher programs for elites, expanding health care to more Texans, and protecting a woman’s right to choose, especially when her health is threatened.

Given this choice of values, more and more Texans are giving Democrats another look.

Jason C.N. Smith is a Fort Worth attorney who was recently elected to the Democratic National Convention’s Standing Platform Committee.

Jason C.N. Smith
Jason C.N. Smith