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Columnists

COMMENTARY: Innovation key to higher education in Texas

College isn’t what it used to be. The typical college student is no longer someone who has just graduated high school, lives on or near campus as a “full-time student,” maybe works part-time and graduates four years later still listed as a dependent on his or her parents’ tax returns.

Monday 03/30/2015
COMMENTARY: Give full authority for Texas RNs
Posted: March 30, 2015

With about one in four people uninsured, Texas ranks last in the number of residents with health insurance. This dubious distinction, coupled with poor use of limited resources, compounds the delivery of health care to a rapidly growing population.

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Sunday 03/29/2015
COMMENTARY: Support Export-Import Bank
Posted: March 29, 2015

It may sound quaint and old fashioned, but many Texans still believe that the first priority of politicians in Washington, D.C., is to represent the interests of the people who sent them there. For the owner of a small business that depends on exports, it means supporting public policies — on taxes, regulations and trade — that allow us the best chance to compete in a global economy against foreign companies that often receive financial support from their own governments.

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COMMENTARY: 5 myths about Ted Cruz
Posted: March 29, 2015

A political nobody just three years ago, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is the first official candidate vying for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination. His was a noisy entrance into government, marked by outspokenness and partisanship that clearly delighted part of the public even as they irritated many of his colleagues. In a remarkably short period, Cruz has become a national figure — and one who is often misunderstood. Here are five myths:

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Friday 03/27/2015
COMMENTARY: Lifesaving EpiPen devices should be in all Texas schools
Posted: March 27, 2015

At 2:30 on Wednesday morning I was awoken by my 18-year-old son.

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COMMENTARY: Statewide texting ban is needed for drivers
Posted: March 27, 2015

On Nov. 10, 2009, Alex Brown died in a single-car rollover crash on her way to Seagraves High School in West Texas. She was distracted by text messages on her phone.

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Thursday 03/26/2015
COMMENTARY: Mexico's rule of law
Posted: March 26, 2015

Over the past 18 months, I’ve written about the extraordinary changes taking place across Mexico, including its impressive reform agenda, growing high tech sector, dynamic supply chains and deepening regional integration. Yet to achieve Mexico’s and North America’s full potential will require moving forward on a number of key challenges, the most pressing of which is rule of law.

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COMMENTARY: Revisiting McAllen Attractions
Posted: March 26, 2015

Running on the front page of Sunday’s Monitor was a story about an old issue: my involvement in the 2011 Boeye Reservoir project proposal. Yet another in a series of articles addressing this matter, this article referred to numerous statements from previous articles written by former Monitor reporter Dave Hendricks.

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Wednesday 03/25/2015
COMMENTARY: Cruz' irrational war on IRS
Posted: March 25, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz says he wants to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service. This is a phenomenally bad idea, one so obviously wrongheaded it’s hard to believe he really means it.

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Tuesday 03/24/2015
COMMENTARY: Cruz's foreign policy plan
Posted: March 24, 2015

Freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is running for president, hoping to gain the Republican nomination by bringing together conservatives, libertarians and evangelicals. On foreign policy, that’s a tough balance to strike. Yet Cruz has crafted his own brand of hawkishness tailored to please even his tea party supporters.

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Monday 03/23/2015
COMMENTARY: Stop surprise medical bills in Texas
Posted: March 23, 2015

When business owners provide healthcare coverage for their employees, they do their best to choose plans that not only cover the desired care, but also provide a degree of predictability in terms of cost. Unfortunately, there is a practice occurring across Texas that is surprising Texas employees and their families with unexpected medical charges.

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COMMENTARY: Prevent Texas lawsuit abuse
Posted: March 23, 2015

Texas has been on the front lines in the battle against the abuse of our lawsuit system and ensuring that it is used for justice, not greed.

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Sunday 03/22/2015
COMMENTARY: Online learning accountability in Texas
Posted: March 22, 2015

Technology plays an important role in the classroom and in distance learning, but legislation being considered in Austin that would expand online learning has nothing to do with technology or improving education. In fact, this legislation would authorize “virtual vouchers,” which would siphon tax dollars from our neighborhood schools and hand them over to private online vendors that are more interested in profit than results or accountability.

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COMMENTARY: Increasing Hispanic graduation rates
Posted: March 22, 2015

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released a report that has the latest high school graduation rates across the country. What is significant about this report is that there is a yearly increase in the number of minorities, especially Hispanic and black students who are graduating from high school at the rate of 4 percentage points from 2011 to 2013.

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COMMENTARY: unanswered questions about McAllen ISD bond proposal
Posted: March 22, 2015

 The own words of our McAllen Independent School District leaders have provided lots of contradictions and raised unanswered questions in their frantic push to get approval of their proposed $297 million bond issue:

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COMMENTARY: Teaching for America and the RGV
Posted: March 22, 2015

Over the winter, hundreds of kids from the Rio Grande Valley area came home for their first college winter break. It was great hearing all about their freshman semesters — the friends they made, the classes that excited them, the tough moments they faced. I was even more excited to think about what’s next — what this group of outstanding youth will do for the place they come from in the years ahead.

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COMMENTARY: It's STAAR testing time
Posted: March 22, 2015

Sharpen your pencils because testing season is here again. Walk the halls of any Texas school and it is quite evident that the minds of all involved have turned to the STAAR or State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests. The habitants of these important institutions have been plagued with the effects of test preparation for months now. Frazzled hair, slumped shoulders, drooping eyes are all signs that the tests are nearing. Those are just the teachers.

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Friday 03/20/2015
COMMENTARY: Life in an RGV nudist resort
Posted: March 20, 2015

I spent early Thursday afternoon at Sandpipers Resort. It’s a retirement nudist resort in North Edinburg, and it was nothing like I had expected.

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Thursday 03/19/2015
COMMENTARY: Improperly depicting Latinos as peppers
Posted: March 19, 2015

SAN DIEGO — The latest controversy to spice up America’s culture wars involves a magazine cover, chili peppers and a dash of overreaction.

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Wednesday 03/18/2015
COMMENTARY: Ensuring all girls learn
Posted: March 18, 2015

Today I will travel to Tokyo to join Akie Abe, wife of Japan’s prime minister, as the United States and Japan announce a new partnership to educate girls across the globe. As part of this effort, the U.S. government has launched an international initiative, called “Let Girls Learn,” to help girls in developing countries go to school and stay in school.

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COMMENTARY: Honoring US farmers on National Ag Day today
Posted: March 18, 2015

Today is National Agriculture Day and for more than 40 years we have celebrated this as a time to pause and honor the American farmer.

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Tuesday 03/17/2015
COMMENTARY: Trusting Hillary Clinton
Posted: March 17, 2015

She burned the tapes.

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Monday 03/16/2015
COMMENTARY: Fracking and Texas earthquakes
Posted: March 16, 2015

If you live in Texas, you have undoubtedly heard a thing or two about the recent earthquakes. The Texas media is filled with reports about how fracking and wastewater disposal wells, which frequently accompany the fracking process, are causing Texas to become more like earthquake-prone California. This concept is pitched to the public as common sense: more earthquakes are occurring at the same time more fracking wells are being used. Yet, correlation is not causation. And bare data can be manipulated into support for any position.

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COMMENTARY: State oil and gas royalties fund Texs
Posted: March 16, 2015

For more than 100 years, the natural resources under our feet have anchored the Texas economy, creating good jobs, funding for schools and roads and stability for our state. Today, the oil and gas industry’s positive economic impact for Texas has reached historic levels. In 2014, the Texas oil and natural gas industry paid a record $15.7 billion in state and local taxes and royalties — the highest such collection from the oil and gas industry in Texas history.

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Sunday 03/15/2015
COMMENTARY: It's Sunshine Week
Posted: March 15, 2015

Private university police beat a man suspected of stealing a bicycle. The violent episode was captured on a dash camera but when questions arose police refused to release the complete video.

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COMMENTARY: Bathing suit battle stories and aging women
Posted: March 15, 2015

I am a good swimmer. In the water I am totally relaxed, not fighting my body, moving in sync with the buoyancy. It offers an amazing feeling of freedom and tranquility.

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COMMENTARY: McDonald's super-sized public health decision
Posted: March 15, 2015

McDonald’s recent announcement to phase out the use of chicken raised with antibiotics in its U.S. restaurants has a win-win scenario. The company could give their customers what they want and simultaneously earn high praise, deservedly, for protecting public health.

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COMMENTARY: Your right to public records
Posted: March 15, 2015

Sunshine Week is celebrated nationally this week and raises awareness of the public’s right for transparency of public records.

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Friday 03/13/2015
SANDRA SANCHEZ COMMENTARY: Sharing RGV space with endangered ocelots
Posted: March 13, 2015

BROWNSVILLE — My teenage daughter is a devout vegetarian and lover of animals. She follows the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals website religiously and always informs my family of the injustices society inflicts upon nature’s furry friends.

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Wednesday 03/11/2015
COMMENTARY: Understanding Latino voters
Posted: March 11, 2015

SAN DIEGO — Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., are the political odd couple.

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Tuesday 03/10/2015
COMMENTARY: Being biased and part of our nation's problem
Posted: March 10, 2015

The juxtaposition of the Justice Department’s damning Ferguson report and President Barack Obama’s fine speech to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday was coincidental. But the founders of the civil rights movement would certainly have found it providential, so I’ll go with that.

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Monday 03/09/2015
COMMENTARY: Gender wage inequality
Posted: March 09, 2015

The gender pay gap has been a topic of research and debate for decades. Although the Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it illegal to discriminate against women in the payment of wages, differences persist.

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COMMENTARY: It's Hillary vs. Hillary
Posted: March 09, 2015

WASHINGTON — So it turns out Hillary Clinton will face a serious challenger in the primaries, after all. Her name is Hillary Clinton.

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Sunday 03/08/2015
WANT TO WRITE FOR THE MONITOR?
Posted: March 08, 2015

The Monitor’s Editorial Board is looking for several people to serve on our Board of Contributors. Writers would not be compensated but rewarded with a large audience of readers. We’d like at least four columns per year on various subjects.

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COMMENTARY: DHS funding perk — Amendment to bill will improve border crossing experience
Posted: March 08, 2015

Last week, after much politicking and debating within the Republican party, 75 of the 245 Republicans in the United States Congress joined the 182 united Democrats to keep the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from shutting down.

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COMMENTARY: Is it really a woman's world?
Posted: March 08, 2015

International Women’s Day, which is celebrated today across the world, is defined by the United Nations as “a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women.” And so as we celebrate this year, we reflect on issues that women face in our own community and examine ways that we can empower women in their ongoing struggle for equality.

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COMMENTARY: Hard-fought women's freedom in America
Posted: March 08, 2015

“There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”

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Friday 03/06/2015
COMMENTARY: Our pledge of allegiance to young immigrants
Posted: March 06, 2015

Inside the cafeteria of Emiliano Zapata Elementary School in La Joya on Thursday morning, about 125 first-and second-graders sat “crisscross applesauce” style on the floor listening to mother and daughter co-authors read their children’s book, titled I Pledge Allegiance.

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Thursday 03/05/2015
BOARD OF CONTRIBUTORS NEEDED
Posted: March 05, 2015

WANT TO WRITE FOR US?

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COMMENTARY: Bibi's fighting words
Posted: March 05, 2015

WASHINGTON — Nancy Pelosi looked as if she might charge the well of the House and confront Benjamin Netanyahu personally.

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Wednesday 03/04/2015
COMMENTARY: Repeal Texas margin tax
Posted: March 04, 2015

Too many small business owners in McAllen stress enough trying to keep afloat without needing to worry about the costs associated with the state’s business margin tax.

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Tuesday 03/03/2015
COMMENTARY: Bibi's gamble
Posted: March 03, 2015

Three times in the past 20 years, an Israeli prime minister has headed into an election while openly battling a U.S. president. The first two times the incumbent lost, establishing the Israeli political maxim that endangering relations with Washington was ruinous. In 1999, the loser was Benjamin Netanyahu, who calculated, wrongly, that he could outmaneuver President Bill Clinton by appealing to Congress. Remarkably, a politician known for his caution has now bet his career, and the future of the U.S.-Israel alliance, on the same strategem.

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Monday 03/02/2015
COMMENTARY: Governor explains how he wants to provide for Texans
Posted: March 02, 2015

Jobs are growing in Texas and more families in McAllen are sharing in the promise of Texas. But there’s more work to do.

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COMMENTARY: Handouts we all get (but might not realize)
Posted: March 02, 2015

This week, the Supreme Court will hear a case that threatens to ax the subsidies millions of Americans receive for health insurance purchased on Obamacare’s federally run exchanges. And a sizable chunk of the population seems to be cheering for exactly that result.

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Sunday 03/01/2015
COMMENTARY: Bicycle safety and awareness in the RGV
Posted: March 01, 2015

Remember when you were young and full of energy? Maybe you are still full of energy, and although a lot of us are not young anymore, we’re still young at heart.

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COMMENTARY: Strengthening US ties with Mexico and Central America
Posted: March 01, 2015

With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living beyond America’s borders — accounting for 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power — establishing stronger trade ties is an important tool to help our economy grow.

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COMMENTARY: Three moral marvels of our age
Posted: March 01, 2015

The world hurtles to hell in a hand basket: ISIS; climate change; nuclear proliferation; the growing economic gap between the rich and everyone else elbow for space on The Monitor’s front page.

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COMMENTARY: Securing our borders
Posted: March 01, 2015

Since the beginning of time, people have naturally staked out boundaries for their abode. As populations increased, communities or towns or villages sprang up, usually along family or tribal lines. After God confused the people with different languages, the people of the Earth split up according to their language.

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Friday 02/27/2015
COMMENTARY: Net neutrality in Texas is important
Posted: February 27, 2015

Four million people have weighed in on a communication policy matter — the largest number ever to voice an opinion to the Federal Communications Commission. Most of those people agreed on one thing: The Internet is too important to be left to private companies’ direction without oversight.

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Thursday 02/26/2015
COMMENTARY: Not all wounds are seen
Posted: February 26, 2015

In his recent State of the State address, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said: “We must do more to help veterans return to civilian life. Not all wounds are seen.” And he is right. With 1.7 million veterans calling Texas home — more than every other state except California — this is the place where bold policies designed to help brave military men and women can be a model for other states.

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Wednesday 02/25/2015
COMMENTARY: Flattery isn't everything Mayor Giuliani
Posted: February 25, 2015

Rudy Giuliani feels unloved. And he suggests you should feel that way, too, thanks to a compliment deficit from our cheerleader in chief.

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