2017 Candidate Questionnaire
2017 Mayoral/City Council Candidates
Health Care Questions
1. Despite affecting everyone in this community, "community health and wellness" has not been a big priority at City Hall. "Community health and wellness" had one third of the ranking that "streets" received in community input via SpeakUPSanAntonio. Yet it impacts our well being, workforce, economic development and the prosperity of San Antonio.
What health-related areas do you think deserve increased attention, priority, and local resources, and, if elected, how would you elevate the discussion of these health issues at City Hall and lead effective action to improve health and healthcare in our community?
1 Teen pregnancy, obesity and subsequent diabetes rates, and access to healthy food. From my experience with the Mayor’s Fitness Council -- which have already focused on communications, community, health care, and healthy schools -- and the San Antonio Business Group on Health, I would also include teen pregnancy.
2. Bexar County is the primary source of funding for indigent health care in our area through the Bexar County Hospital District and University Health System. How would you, if elected, promote cooperative efforts to increase services and access to care for the citizens of San Antonio?
Through a close working relationship with Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, I have coordinated on several efforts, including the creation of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC). This joint effort focuses on several issues such as reintegration and mental health in the criminal justice system. If re-elected, I will explore the feasibility of additional services and access to care for the citizens of San Antonio.
3. The disparity of health care between our poorest and wealthiest zip codes/districts is quite striking (Bexar County Health Collaborative 2016 report). How would you, if elected, reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for our lower income communities/citizens?
1 I consider education to be the great equalizer, and, long term, I see the issue of health disparities and improving health outcomes as no different. By improving educational outcomes for our most vulnerable populations, the disparity between the poorest and wealthiest zip codes could be reduced. In the short-term, I think community-wide education efforts to inform lower-income citizens of existing programs is a step in the right direction.
4. San Antonio has a high incidence of obesity and diabetes mellitus and has been ranked as high as second in the nation for obesity in recent years. Past city efforts attempting to improve these rates, such as trying to reduce the prevalence of sugary drinks in our community, have been met with controversy. What ideas do you have to reduce the incidence of these chronic health issues?
1 Again, I believe education is key in reducing the incidence of these chronic health problems. Although the city has some jurisdictional responsibility, just as much if not more lies with the food and grocery industries. As someone who lives in the East Side, I can tell you from firsthand experience the difficulty it can be in buying healthy food in certain parts of town, also known as food deserts. Just as it shouldn’t matter which zip code you live in to determine your educational outcomes, it also shouldn’t matter when it comes to having access to healthy and nutritious food.
5. According to the CDC, child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. The goal in preventing child abuse and neglect is clear — to stop this violence from happening in the first place. What local policies, resources and efforts will you support to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families?
1 Promoting safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families is something that comes in all shapes and sizes. At the municipal level, the city of San Antonio promotes via delegate agency funding many programs that promote these causes. Mentorship in particular has been a focus of mine, whether as a Big Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters, or through my efforts with My Brother’s Keeper, which seeks to improve outcomes for boys and men of color in our community.