[Exclusive Interview] The Voice for the Minority, Attorney Brandy K. Chambers
Democratic Candidate for Texas House of Representative District 112
DATE 18-04-13 05:50
글쓴이 : 어드민      
By Alex Kim | News Korea

NewsKorea had an exclusive interview with Brandy K. Chambers, a Democratic candidate for District 112 of the Texas House of Representatives. Candidate Chambers wants to be the voice of Texas, which has been disregarded by legislatures for too long and wants to share her positions on various issues including economy, immigration, and education with the Korean-American community in Texas.



You pledged to remove ‘barriers’ affecting lower and middle class to create more economic opportunities. What are these ‘barriers’ and what are your plans to remove them?


“First, we need to institute statewide mandatory paid sick leave. An individual employee who is sick or has a sick child should be able to attend to medical needs and not worry about making rent simply because they couldn’t take time off and end up losing their job.


Second, we need to become stricter on background checks where employers can no longer ask if an applicant has been convicted of a felony or arrested until they provide qualified offer to that applicant. Once the offer is accepted by an applicant, employer can run a background check; it can only be reported for past 7 years, high misdemeanors, felonies, no arrest. An applicant should only be disqualified from a job if recorded felony or crime directly relates to the job duties of the inquired position. For example, someone who’s convicted of embezzlement should not be hired for CFO of the company. However, a person convicted of marijuana possession 7 years ago should not be disqualified from a position such as an accountant or a store worker. We want to stop punishing for decisions and be able to employ them so they don’t have to go back to life of crime.”



Teachers in Oklahoma are protesting low pay, overcrowded classrooms, and tax cuts that resulted in lower state-wide education spending. What’s your stance on their protests?


“I fully stand behind Oklahoma teachers. I was born and raised in Oklahoma and I was taught by Oklahoma teachers. My number one priority is making sure that the state of Texas lives up to our constitution and fund the education for Texas. This portion [education] of state funding continued to decrease while the local property tax went up to make up the difference, which is shifting the burden to the local property owners. We need to level this out; take the burden off of individual and help fund teachers. I’ve met a teacher who has to work as a waitress on the weekends just to make the ends meet. I have a teacher friend who spends $2,000-$3,000 of her own money every year on school supplies that the state fails to provide. This is unacceptable. Our children and teachers deserve more and should get more. That’s my priority number one in office.”


◎Helping Sexual Assault Victims

Tell us about The Turning Point, a rape crisis agency, of which you served as a vice president on the board of directors.


“When I was on the board, I helped oversee the allocation of funds, fundraiser, and direction of The Turning Point. The Turning Point has specially certified nurses that are trained to examine sexual assault victims and can be called into hospitals whenever sexual assault survivors come in. The nurses are able to give the examination, collect the evidence, and testify in court if necessary. The Turning Point is also an education program which they go to schools and teaches correct behavior in what constitutes sexual assault, in bullying, and in other issues.”


◎Fight Against Human Trafficking

One of your goals is to end this modern-day slavery taking place on our streets. Tell us your plans.


“Human trafficking takes the form in Texas for minors as a ‘forced prostitution’. For most minors involved in human trafficking, they run away from home around the age of 13. These minors, within 48 hours after they leave home, get hit up by pimps and get forced to go out in the streets or get solicited through social media for prostitution. There’s a fundamental issue and there is a pinpoint of time which we can take actions to identify these high risk victims and try to get them out of the cycle and remove the supply chain for human trafficking.


The first indicator for potential high risk victim is truancy and CPS being called to intervene into home issues. If we can get the truancy department, CPS, and the law enforcement to communicate with each other, we can efficiently identify these high risk victims and treat them as victims and not criminals. I want the state to be able to intervene and prevent human trafficking for minors. If they do get trafficked, we can identify victims through centralized database and seek remedial measure for them to escape the situation.”



What’s your stance on gun control?


“My stance on guns is two different predicates. One, I firmly believe in the Second Amendment. However, I don’t believe that it’s an amendment without boundaries. I believe that a person has the right to defend themselves in their home with a weapon. I don’t believe that a person should have the right to walk down to Walmart with an assault rifle on their back just because they want to.


I believe that there needs to be boundaries; we need deeper and better background checks that are more universal and close the gun show loophole.


Currently, in Texas, it’s legal for a person of the age of 21 to buy a gun, which is fine. However, it’s also legal for person under 21 to possess a gun; they can’t buy it, but if your uncle gives you a gun, that’s fine. I would like to tighten this law to make sure it’s illegal to possess a gun if you’re under the age of 21. Also, we need to implement background checks with centralized database for every person who buys/owns a gun.


Federal government had banned CDC to be able to research the effect of gun violence decades ago due to NRA lobbying. We need to be able to lift the ban to make sure CDC and/or any other agency to truly investigate the ramification of the gun violence in the society.”



Your opponent Angie Chen Button voted ‘yes’ for SB4, which prohibits sanctuary cities. What’s your take on her vote and your position in immigration laws?


“I vehemently oppose SB4 – it’s unconstitutional. It’s taking discrimination to a new level by the state. I’m very upset with her about her vote because she’s an immigrant herself and she voted against immigrants. She even voted against amendments that would have made places of worship and domestic abuse shelters a safe haven from those types of questions and investigations.


I’d like to see SB4 repealed and remove its effects. First of all, it’s putting federal obligation onto state government, which is not a good use of resources especially when it’s unfunded and untrained. Second, it’s intentionally vilifying immigrants that look like they’re immigrants and look different regardless of their true status. SB4 is truly a ‘show me your papers’ law. This is not who Texas is. This is not who I am. This is not the state that I want to live in.”


◎Adoptees Rights

Adopted people have a restricted right to access their identity, which non-adoptees take it for granted. Tell us more about this issue.


“I actually had somebody come to one of my breakfast events, which I host for open discussions about different issues. There was an adoptee rights advocate and she educated me about the issue. The state of Texas denies the ability to get an original birth certificate to an adopted person - that bothered me. In this day and age, especially with a rising concern about immigration and illegal immigration, having an original birth certificate is crucial to be able to get a passport. They [adoptees] can get a copy of birth certificate but not an original, which means that it doesn’t have a doctor’s signature on it. Then [without a doctor’s signature], it raises red flags within immigration as potentially being fabricated – so that causes a lot of problems for adoptees.


Additionally, if you have an illness, you need access to medical history to determine proper treatments. However, without your birth certificate, you can’t know your family medical history, which may lead to medical imparity.


Currently, you have to go through court order to obtain your birth certificate and a lot of judges don’t give the order because they don’t want to deal with that. There has been a legislation brought forth in the Texas legislature which will allow the original birth certificate to be released without court order. However, this one particular senator continues to stall the legislation from getting passed and crusades against obtaining birth certificate without court order. I’m hoping to overturn that.”


Message to the Korean-American community


“My message to all of the community is that your voice is not being heard in legislature. Your voice is being disregarded by the people in power in my district. I want to be your voice and I want your voice to be heard. What each person says does not matter if they don’t show the actual support; and that’s what’s happening now in the state. I want to be different than that and I am different than that. I will represent you as an individual, as a community, and a Texan.”


At the end of the interview, Candidate Brandy K. Chambers told NewsKorea that she’s a self-professed geek who loves Star Wars and Supernatural.


To learn more about Brandy K. Chambers’ campaign, visit https://brandykchambers.com or email brandy@brandykchambers.com


To speak to a Korean representative, contact Brandy K. Chambers’ Korean-American liaison Tina Sohne via email Tina@brandykchambers.com

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