Vandana Agarwal and Mukul Sharma invite Democrat Mike Collier to talk to the South Asian Community about his plans if he becomes Lieutenant Governor of Texas
admin@qs3 | August 7, 2018
By Sumaiya Malik
When Vandana Agarwal and Mukul Sharma exchanged notes about their political views of the upcoming elections, they seemed to agree on two things. They were both complaining about things happening in the Republican Party and they both liked what Democrat Mike Collier was suggesting he would do if he were elected as Lieutenant Governor in the upcoming elections in November 2018. The two friends decided to do something about it.
Entrepreneur and now a professor at UT Mukul Sharma had known Mike Collier since 2008 when Collier was the CFO of Sharma’s company Layline Petroleum that was eventually bought out. “Mike is by far the most qualified candidate in the state of Texas. I’d like to encourage all readers to vote for him. He’s an incredibly sharp and smart individual. He’s gifted.,” said Sharma to Vandana Agarwal. He could have retired after the sale, but he opted for public service, Sharma added. The two friends wanted to hear Collier and share his views with their community so Agarwal, who is always generous in her hospitality agreed to host a meet and greet for Collier.
The two knew that incumbent Republican Dan Patrick’s ratings were stuck at 36% even though he had spent 10 million trying to raise it up. They reasoned that if the word got out in the right circles, Collier had a chance to win. They invited Mike Collier to a meet and greet at the Agarwal home on August. Vandana was quickly able to gather about thirty friends each one an entrepreneur in their own profession. Amid the crowd was a PreK School teacher from Austin ISD, people from the tech industry including one who is an advisor to Mayor Steve Adler in the Technology Commission, people from the media world, physicians, engineers, home makers, community workers, students, and an investment banker.
Dressed smartly in khakhi pants and a gold buttoned navy blazer with a starched white shirt and tie, topped with a head of silver white hair, Mike Collier stood tall and patiently talked about what his campaign is all about and supported his ideas with the numbers and research. He is no doubt prepared to take the incumbent Dan Patrick on. So much so that he said, “Whatever Dan Patrick assembles, I can disassemble,” said Collier to the amusement of the audience. Collier’s Texan sense of humor was obvious.
Collier spoke about an 8-year plan. He mostly talked about what he would do in the first four years, but he reasoned that some things take longer than four years and so he would have to build upon some things as an incumbent in the next four years that would follow. Here is a list:
1. Tax policy standpoint – Close property tax loophole that enables businesses to pay less in property tax. Closing loophole would raise 15 million which he wants to use to help public schools
2. Restructure state auditor. Last auditor resigned in 2015.
3. Healthcare – Cost of healthcare increased 7% per year for a long time, twice the rate of the economy. This resulted in neglect of mental health and lead to fewer beds in psychiatric hospitals. Collier wants to expand Medicare. 33 states have expanded it and technically it’s being subsidized by all the states including those who haven’t expanded. He said would be a net positive for Texas to expand Medicare, focus on mental health as well.
4. Use technology to reduce medical costs everywhere e.g. using pipe cutting technology for knee surgery. That would be more accurate and can reduce chance of post-op infection
5. Collier would like transparency in healthcare costs and bills. It is hard for us to make economic decisions in the blind.
6. Water problems need to be resolved, says Collier. Water management needs is needed as there is not enough rain.
7. He said that Gerrymandering is destroying democracy. He would like the citizens draw the districts so that right politicians are elected.
8. He would like to bring back compassion in public politics
Attendees asked questions:
Sumit Das Gupta, from for Technology and Telecommunications Commission asked “Would Mike Collier undo the policies of Dan Patric that tie the hands of cities to solve problems related to the access of wireless?” Collier was all for technology for all and finding innovative means to connect all.
Punam Rana, PreK teacher of Cook Elementary Public school asked if teacher’s pay would be increased. Collier sympathized with her and said that he is all for lower class size and knows that teachers don’t have social security benefits and no survivor benefits and he wants to change that.
Would there be a debate with the incumbent?
Collier does not think so as the incumbent Dan Patrick has consistently raised taxes every year although he had promised not to.