Huffman Says Her Experience Has Shown Her Where The System Fails
Texas Senate District 17 candidate Joan Huffman says that as a judge, she has seen first-hand where the system is failing – and she is asking voters to give her a chance to help fix it.
Huffman has announced her candidacy for the District 17 seat recently vacated by Kyle Janek. The district is a sprawling one, encompassing parts of Harris, Brazoria, Wharton, Galveston, Chambers and Jefferson counties.
“I gave up my career to focus on my family – now this opportunity came up with senator Janek resigning in the way he did – it kind of opened up the field,” said Huffman. She recently moved with her husband and 10-year-old son to Southside Place after living in West University since the early 1990’s.
Her son plays a role in her desire to serve as a senator. He currently attends a private school for gifted children.
“I want him to be in a place that’s a safe place to live, has lots of economic development, that has a good education for children,” said Huffman. “A state where he can prosper as well as all the other children in Texas. I am not an insider. I want to just get in there and serve. I think I can win – I think I will have an appeal to the voters that might be a little different than some of the other candidates.”
Huffman, a Louisiana native, came to Houston after graduating from Louisiana State University. She began her career as a secretary in the Harris County District Attorney’s office, then began going to law school at night. Once she passed the bar, she was hired by the DA’s office as a prosecutor, where she spent 14 years. She spent time in the gang division, narcotics division and organized crime division, among others. She resigned in 1997 to have her son, while also setting her sights on the bench. She spent 1998 campaigning, was elected, and took office on 1999 as a 183rd District Court judge, where she served for two terms as a republican.
In 2005 she resigned to focus on her son’s education.
Huffman says her experience as both prosecutor and judge gives her insight into the failings of the immigration and educational systems.
“Addressing the issue of illegal immigration – I saw so much of the negative side of that in my experience as a prosecutor and a judge,” said Huffman. “I also saw the effects of an inadequate public school system. The results are glaring when you are sitting behind the prosecutor’s table or as a judge, and looking down at all the people that are there because they don’t have the foundation they need to prosper in the world. I think we have failed a lot of people and I think we need to change things if we want Texas to be a place where we want our children to grow up.”
Huffman says the State of Texas needs to work at securing the borders without counting on help from the federal government.
“I think we need to seal the borders and take a serious look around us and see who is here and who needs to be shipped back,” said Huffman, adding that she is not just focusing on Mexican nationals. “I think anyone who commits a crime – they need to go back to the country they came from. I think the whole concept of a sanctuary city where we look the other way – I think we need to make that stop. I don’t have the answer with what to do with the people who are here who have been working for years and are established in the community. I am eager to listen to plans on how to address that in a way that makes sense and good economic sense for Texas.”
Huffman supports accountability and performance rewards for teachers, but would like to know more about where the money for education is spent.
“I think we need to have more transparency in the system so that everyone is clear on where the money is being spent, if we are really utilizing all the money that is sent into the educational system – which is huge, and takes up a huge percentage of the state budget,” said Huffman. “We need to be getting value in what we are spending.”
Huffman would also like to see public schools expand their programs for children with learning differences, such as dyslexia.
“I don’t believe the public schools are doing what they should do for the children who are attending the schools,” said Huffman. “I think a lot of it has been wrapped up in bureaucracy. Do I have the answer on how to fix that? No. But I do want to listen and try to help solve the problem in any way I can as a senator.”