Lt. governor candidate Mike Collier paid a visit to Greenville this week.

Democratic Texas lieutenant governor candidate Mike Collier paid a visit to Greenville on Tuesday and told a gathering of about two dozen people that his agenda is not a “fringe movement” but one supported by a majority of people in the state.

Collier, a CPA who lost to Republican incumbent Dan Patrick 51.3% to 46.5% in 2018, believes Texas needs to expand Medicaid, reform its property tax system, support public education, make common-sense changes to gun laws, address water infrastructure, reform its criminal justice system, and fix its electrical grid.

Said Collier: “Pure belligerence prevents us from expanding Medicaid like we should.” Even many Republicans realize that expansion of Medicaid in Texas makes sound financial sense, Collier said. But as president of the state Senate, Patrick has blocked expansion, according to Collier.

The Democrat, who was speaking at the Texan Theater, also hammered on the steady rise of property taxes for homeowners. Republicans, he said, are being dishonest when it comes to property taxes and public school funding. Since 1997, the state has allowed appraisals of below market value to large commercial and industrial concerns while forcing residential homes to be appraised at market value. In 2021, the reduction of value associated with large commercial and industrial companies in Texas totaled $25 billion, according to Collier. Although property taxes keep rising, most Texas property taxpayers see nothing more in the way of services, he claimed.

“It’s the state’s fault, not local officials,” Collier said of the rise in property taxes. “The state is a deadbeat partner. It doesn’t do its job, which means homeowners are paying more. ... When we’re honest about how taxes work, then and only then will we as homeowners stop getting ripped off.”

Collier said he supports public education but wants to end the practice of educators tailoring teaching to meet the objectives of a standardized test. He said he believes learning should be measured, but tests need to be designed by people in the classroom. Schools, he said, should emphasize “critical thinking skills” over rote memorization of standardized test answers.

On the gun issue, he called May’s school shooting in Uvalde “heartbreaking” and said the majority of Texans support gun safety. Calling himself a passionate hunter and the owner of numerous firearms, Collier said he would consider red flag laws as well as raising the age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21.

Regarding the state’s electrical grid, Collier said the system remains flawed. “We have to fix the damn grid,” he said, adding that it is not a question of if the grid will fail again but when.

Collier also called for bolstering the state’s water infrastructure instead of waiting for shortages to develop. “We just don’t have enough water. If we wait until we’re suffering, we’ve waited too long.”

Collier charged that Patrick has done little to address problems most Texans care about, instead he “spends all of his time on these culture war issues pitting one Texan against another, stirring up all sorts of vitriol and mistrust just to win this election.”

“We as Democrats must answer the call because there’s more at stake than just solving problems. Our democracy hangs in the balance. ... Democrats must answer the call. We believe in democracy and the right to vote,” said Collier.

Of the issue of abortion in Texas, Collier said women should “have the right to make the decision that only you can make. This is about freedom, this is about individual liberty. That’s what’s on the ballot.”

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