Texas House District 133 in TX http://www.LauraNicol.com
766 Thornbranch Dr
Primary Election Date: 2014-03-04 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
Laura was born in 1963 at St. David Hospital in Austin, Texas. She is oldest of the four children of George A Staples, Jr. and Martha Jane Staples. Laura spent 3 years of early childhood on a ranch in Victoria County, where she acquired a deep respect for the balance of nature and our place in it. In 1971, George was hired as City Attorney of Hurst, a position he still holds. Laura and all her siblings graduated from Hurst's L. D. Bell High School. Martha Jane taught school for many years, and continues to volunteer in the community.
Laura’s college degree is a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering, earned from UT Austin in 1986. She was an engineering co-op at NASA-JSC for five semesters during college. She worked at General Dynamics for the first five years after graduation, during which time she married her college sweetheart. Laura supported Ed's career moves by working at three different small companies over seven years. Each move brought her more experience and responsibility. As a test supervisor at Siemens Electrocom, she led by example, putting in a highly productive 40 hour week, using flextime to attend to parental duties as needed. Laura made sure installation crews were brought home every two weeks to reconnect with their families.
Laura's first marriage ended in 2001 due to Ed's untreatable depression. Three years later she moved with her two children to Houston and married Mack Lane. She adopted his two teenagers into her heart, and retired from full time employment to manage the blended family. Working at Stratford high school, volunteering at the church, and spending afternoons parenting, Laura found her new life full and rewarding. As the children grew to need less of her time, Laura began to take on community service roles, from HOA block captain to election judge.
When Laura decided to run for State Representative, she had been Democratic Precinct Chair for 5 years and on the Thornwood HOA Board for 3 years. She has relinquished both those positions for the campaign. Laura remains Hymn Leader of the Unitarian Fellowship of Houston, Vice President of the Spring Branch Democrats, Secretary of the West Houston Democrats, and Treasurer of Texas Democratic Women’s Harris Metro Area chapter.
Why am I running?
Laura has a spirit of service, always looking to empower those around her. When no Democrat stepped forward to run in her House District for 2014, Laura was inspired to volunteer, and considers it an honor to be on the Texas Democratic ticket with Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte. Laura is deeply committed to mending our government so that it works for all of us. If elected, she vows to fight on behalf of residents, communities, and businesses of House District 133.
1) Environment. We must accept and deal with the cause and effects of climate change. We must heed expert scientific advice and take action, both to prevent the exploitation of public resources for private gain, and to encourage private investment in healthy communities. I will propose and support laws that promote the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of watersheds, aquifers, wetlands, and reservoirs. I will vote to require and fund independent environmental inspection and testing on a regular schedule and in response to community tips. I will vote to require minimum fines sufficient to to fully restore the damage, including projected medical expenses.
2) Children. All the children in Texas belong to all of us, and our tax dollars must benefit all of them; they are our future! It takes a village to raise a child, and the better the village, the better the child, the better our future. Every public school can be a good school; we must let the experts in education dictate how that happens. I will vote AGAINST using public funds for private schools, charter schools, or vouchers. I will vote FOR funds to be used to improve in student/teacher ratios, teacher salaries, and additional staff trained as teacher's aides. I will propose that every public school have a clinic with nurses and social workers in ratios appropriate to the community it serves. Everyone in the community should be allowed to use these resources, even if they have no children.
3. Infrastructure. Sufficient revenue must be collected and spent on maintaining the basic infrastructure of civilization. This includes transportation of goods, power distribution, water management, sewage treatment, police patrols, fire and rescue services. Long term planning and multi-year budgeting can minimize costs of maintenance and gradual improvements. During good economic times, progressive taxes should ensure that those profiting the most from civilization's infrastructure will pay for its improvement.
My DFA Values
Community is the shared ownership of a place by the people who occupy it, expressed by how they treat it and each other. When I walk my area, I see every person as a neighbor, every child as an investment in the future, and every street as a place something good can happen. I chat up anyone who will make eye contact and some who won't. As I expand my territory to the whole House District, I continue to visit with and listen to everyone who approaches me with a complaint or a suggestion, no matter what their demographic. I expect to consult and eventually hire folks based on their capabilities and experience with the area I serve.
Security is freedom from danger. I support a living wage to reduce the danger of starvation. I want to improve environmental protection, consumer protection, working conditions, and public safety in general. I will work to shut down unethical businesses, force polluters to clean up their messes, and remove personhood from corporations. Police should protect ordinary folks from predatory individuals & businesses, regardless of immigration status or preferred intoxicant. There should be a social safety net, to prevent the unemployed from stooping to crime out of desperation. Housing First projects of Single Occupant Rooms with soup kitchens and social workers allow folks to survive and recover from bad times.
Liberty is the freedom to live as you please, as long as your actions don't interfere with others living as they please. Private behavior among consenting adults cannot be legislated, but public behavior must be. Children belong to the whole community, and may be removed from their parents if there is evidence of danger to their minds or bodies. Communities may regulate dangerous activities to maximize liberty of its citizens… cars, guns, dogs, drugs, etc. may be regulated to require licensing, inspection and so forth.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I welcome input from all flavors of Democrats, but I am most interested in the progressive wing. I have begun a diary on DailyKos.com to vet my policy statements. My social network includes Climate Change advocates I met at a training by Al Gore. I subscribe to several progressive organizations newsletters, including one for Latinos. In 2010, I was a council member of the Houston chapter of Move On, and organized a Tax Day protest at BP headquarters. A representative of the local independent radio attended, and I gave an interview. I plan to put together a program for that radio station's morning show in the next few months, discussing some of the topics I've written on above. I am currently a leader in a UU church, and a majority of the members there support my candidacy.