I’ve been poking around Texas related subreddits and there actually doesn’t seem to be much discussion about either of these two candidates for Congress, at least over the past month or so. Both main candidates seem like...interesting characters, shall we say, with Rep Pete Olsen retiring from the seat.
I’ve been trying to do my due diligence on researching these two to figure out who I should support.
I wanted to share some of what I found in case it’s useful to you as well. I know a lot of people have voted already, but I also imagine there are many people who’ve been too busy dealing with COVID/kids/(un)employment, etc. etc. Anyway, here goes.
------SRI PRESTON KULKARNI
In terms of some bio background on him, Kulkarni was born in Louisiana and grew up in Houston. He attended the University of Texas then got a Masters Degree in Public Administration at Harvard. He was a foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department for 14 years, having been stationed, in Iraq, Israel, and Russia. He ran a close race against Pete Olsen in 2018.
( sources: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/06/18/2020-elections-congress-trump-america-global-standing-anguished-by-americas-decline-more-foreign-policy-wonks-run-for-office/
Campaign website: https://sri2020.com/
Kulkarni’s website has multiple “Issues” pages, and here is a selection of some of his policy positions (all direct quotes from his site):
- Oppose deficit expansion from tax cuts that favor America’s Billionaires over communities like my own.
- Oppose any effort to dismantle, privatize, or undermine Medicaid or Medicare.
- Fight for a public healthcare option available to anyone who wants it, while allowing people the option to keep their private insurance.
- Advocate for a Veterans Transition Center in the Houston suburbs to provide for the needs of service members returning to civilian life.
- Fight to end the war on drugs and reduce sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders. We must treat drug addiction like the medical issue it is, not a criminal justice issue.
- Work to end the government’s practice of contracting with for-profit detention centers.
- Work to implement evidence based climate change reforms.
- Fight for universal background checks, which nine out of ten Texans support, including the majority of gun owners.
- Push for red flag laws, which would prevent firearms from landing in the hands of violent criminals and domestic abusers.
- Demand racial bias and de-escalation training [for police officers]
- Fight to end qualified immunity
- Strengthen the 20 levees in Fort Bend, and identify new areas that require drainage infrastructure.
Kulkarni also took Vote Smart’s Political Courage Test, if you want more info: https://justfacts.votesmart.org/candidate/political-courage-test/177334/sri-kulkarni
Concerns have been raised against Kulkarni in being linked to far right Hindu nationalist groups, though it’s a bit difficult to summarize here. For details, the Intercept has a useful breakdown: https://theintercept.com/2020/10/29/sri-kulkarni-congress-indian-politics/
Per his bio on an official Fort Bend County website ( https://www.fortbendcountytx.gov/
), Nehls was elected Sheriff in 2012. Before that he had moved to Fort Bend County (presumably from Wisconsin) in 1994 and was employed at the Richmond Police Department. He has a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston – Downtown, and was in the U. S Army Reserve for 21 years, retiring with the rank of Major.
He opposed the Harris County mask mandate, asserting that it was unconstitutional ( his very own FB post: https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2538726669713415&id=1431647400421353
Campaign website: https://www.nehlsforcongress.com/
Nehls has sort of one issues page with a bio on top of it. Though often not as concrete as the content on Kulkarni’s site, some key policy related quotes from Nehls’ site are as follows:
- We do that by ensuring small businesses have loans and the capital they need to sustain and rebuild in the aftermath of COVID-19, by reducing burdensome regulations, and by strengthening trade deals.
- Hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs rely either directly or indirectly on the energy industry. Some in Congress are pushing for a complete ban on fossil fuels. This would be a travesty not only to Texas' economy but the entire country.
- As Sheriff, I've seen the human and monetary cost of high recidivism rates and our broken criminal justice system. That's why as Sheriff, I took action and instituted cutting edge recidivism reduction programs. At the Fort Bend County Jail, we offer HVAC and welding courses to non-violent inmates, at no cost to taxpayers, so the inmates have job ready skills when they're released.
- in Congress, I will work to increase healthcare offerings while protecting those with preexisting conditions, protecting Medicare and Social Security, protecting Medicaid, and protecting private insurance.
- I am a strong supporter of public education
Interestingly, in an earlier version of his website, since archived, issue positions also include (direct quotes https://web.archive.org/web/20200305150110/https:/www.nehlsforcongress.com/issues
- I'll fight to secure the border, finish President Trump's wall, deport criminal aliens, and end sanctuary cities.”
- I'm 100% pro-2A, endorsed by NRA board members, and as Sheriff famously told looters to stay out of Ft. Bend County because we believe in the 2nd Amendment and many of us are well armed, and they may leave in a body bag. In Congress, I will fight the gun grabbing socialists and always defend our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
- All life is precious and a gift from our all mighty creator. It must be protected from conception to natural death. It is abhorrent that our country allows the murder of hundreds of thousands of babies each year.
Nehls has not taken the Political Courage Test.
I see that u/karim12100
3 months back put up a handy, informative link of misconduct issues related to Nehls ( https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2017/12/08/255526/fort-bend-county-sheriff-troy-nehls-wont-run-for-congress-in-2018/
), and I agree with u/lika_the_pepper
that there are about 20 counts listed, including:
- multiple incidents of mishandling evidence
- refusing to return property to an own even after a sergeant directed to do so, and
- repeatedly going to restaurant/store without properly notifying dispatch.
One particular claim to fame that you may remember was that Nehls pursued “disorderly conduct” charges against someone who had a “F*CK TRUMP” sticker on the back window of their truck. ( https://www.vice.com/en/article/gyjnz7/a-sheriff-went-after-these-texans-for-their-fuck-trump-sticker-vgtrn
More seriously, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards officials also sent a letter to authorities in Fort Bend County, addressed to Sheriff Troy Nehls, to take “appropriate corrective measures” after the deaths of two inmates in custody since September 30. ( https://www.fbherald.com/news/officials-county-jail-in-violation-of-minimum-jail-standards/article_ec2bbf96-8b4b-550e-be91-79eadee43a05.html
Civil rights groups have also accused the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office of racial profiling in traffic stops, saying the office led by Troy Nehls has disproportionately targeted Latinos. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/fort-bend-police-hispanic-stop-search-race-profile-15447278.php#photo-19748930
More could be said of both candidates, but I think this is enough grist for the mill. I look forward to any additional info anyone here may have. What do you think? Was this a helpful summary? Who do you think would do a better job of representing Sugar Land?