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Decision 2020: Where US Senate candidates MJ Hegar and Royce West stand on major issues

Royce West and Mary "MJ" Hegar, candidates for U.S. Senator (Democrat) in July runoff election.
Royce West and Mary "MJ" Hegar, candidates for U.S. Senator (Democrat) in July runoff election. (KSAT)

HOUSTON – Texas will hold its 2020 primary runoff election on July 14.

Air Force veteran MJ Hegar and Texas State Sen. Royce West, both Democrats, are squaring off for their party’s ticket in November against incumbent U.S. Senator John Cornyn.

Here’s what to know about the candidates and their stance on the big issues:

Healthcare

MJ Hegar

  • Wants to create a public option to make Medicare available for all those who want it
  • Believes every child should have healthcare coverage
  • Wants to protect the progress made by the Affordable Care Act while making improvements
  • Will stand up for Texans against special interests who put profits over people
  • Believes Big Pharma interests must be held accountable for their part in the opioid epidemic

Royce West

  • Believes healthcare is a basic human right, not a privilege reserved for only those who can afford it
  • Believes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a monumental step for the American healthcare system, but it didn’t go far enough
  • Wants to ensure that everyone who wants to enroll in the ACA can do so, without forcing others to forfeit their employer-sponsored insurance
  • Wants to continue educating people on the importance of mental health and include those services with basic healthcare packages
  • Says he will fight to ensure every Texan receives the affordable care we all deserve

Education

MJ Hegar

  • Believes every child should have access to an affordable and quality education
  • Wants teachers, educators, and school staff to be paid salaries worthy of the critical service they provide to society
  • Wants to put an end to the government profiting off loans by lowering interest rates on student debt
  • Wants to ensure all higher education — from apprenticeship programs to vocational training to degree programs — is more affordable for current and future students
  • Wants to encourage support for and investment in vocational programs

Royce West

  • Wants to ensure funding follows low-income students
  • Wants a statewide pay increase for teachers
  • Wants to offer debt relief programs for college graduates
  • Wants to invest in community colleges, offering free tuition for low-income students
  • Wants to make the path from a community college into a 4-year institution easier to navigate for students

Women’s rights

MJ Hegar

  • Supports federal law codifying Roe v. Wade
  • Believes politicians should not legislate a woman’s most intimate decisions
  • Supports organizations that are providing communities with needed women’s health care services
  • Is opposed to efforts to shutter clinics that provide critical care to women all over Texas, especially in rural areas
  • Wants to provide support for women and families by increasing access to sex education, affordable over-the-counter contraception, and cost-effective childcare

Royce West

  • Believes a woman has the right to make decisions about her body
  • Believes any issue involving a woman’s healthcare is between her and her doctor
  • Dedicated to continuing this fight for women’s reproductive freedom in Washington
  • Plans to take this fight from the Texas State Senate floor to the United States Senate floor

Immigration

MJ Hegar

  • Wants to permanently end child separation
  • Wants to ensure asylum seekers are not treated as criminals and their claims are properly processed
  • Wants to secure the border with effective procedures and technologies
  • Wants to build a path to citizenship for undocumented residents that prioritizes security and reflects core values as Americans

Royce West

  • Believes children do not belong in cages, and families must stay together
  • Wants to immediately address the humanitarian crisis going on at the border
  • Believes the border needs more resources, like judges who can expedite hearings for asylum seekers
  • Wants to take a proactive approach and work with Mexico and Central America in order to stop citizens from fleeing their homes
  • Wants to solve the humanitarian crisis at the border, while also investing in technology and infrastructure to keep them secure

Gun violence

MJ Hegar

  • Wants to pass common-sense gun safety legislation to require background checks on every single gun sale, including closing the gun show loophole
  • Wants to stop the sale of assault weapons to the public
  • Wants to pass red flag laws limiting access to firearms for domestic abusers — including closing the “boyfriend loophole” — and those who would commit acts of domestic terrorism
  • Wants to fully fund the CDC to reverse ban on gun violence research
  • Wants for state and local officials to end open carry

Royce West

  • Wants universal background checks
  • Wants to ban assault weapons and weapons of war
  • Wants to regulate deadly weapons
  • Wants red flag laws
  • Wants to limit magazine capacity

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