Carol Alvarado

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Carol Alvarado
Carol Alvarado.jpg
Texas House of Representatives, District 145
Incumbent
In office
2009 - Present
Term ends
January 13, 2015
Years in position 5
PartyDemocratic
Compensation
Base salary$7,200/year
Per diem$150/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionMarch 2, 2013
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Personal
BirthdayOctober 26, 1967
ReligionCatholic
Websites
Office website
CandidateVerification
Carol Alvarado is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 145. She was first elected to the chamber in 2008.

Biography

Alvardo has worked as Senior Executive Assistant to Houston Mayor Lee P. Brown, and Legislative Assistant to Representative Gene Green.

She is a member of Dress for Success, Hispanic Elected Officials, Houston Downtown Alliance Board, League of Women Voters, National Association of Latino Elected Officials Board, National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas Board, Saint Alphonsus Catholic Church, Texas Democratic Party, and Women Professionals in Government.

Prior to her election she served on the Houston City Council from 2002-2007.[1]

Committee assignments

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Alvarado served on the following committees:

Texas Committee Assignments, 2013
Calendars
Special Purpose Districts
Urban Affairs, Vice-chair
Transparency in State Agency Operations (Select), Co-chair

2011-2012

In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Alvarado served on the following Texas House of Representatives committees:

2009-2010

In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Alvarado served on the following Texas House of Representatives committees:

Issues

University of Texas investigations

See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial

Seal of Texas.svg.png

University of Texas Investigations

Background
Wallace Hall impeachment trialPolitical favoritism in admissions to the University of TexasForgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations (TSAO)Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

UT Regents
Wallace HallPaul FosterEugene PowellSteven HicksErnest AlisedaJeffery HildebrandBrenda PejovichAlex CranbergRobert Stillwell

Elected Officials
Rick PerryJoe StrausCharles PerryTrey FischerDan FlynnNaomi GonzalezEric JohnsonLyle LarsonCarol AlvaradoFour PriceJim PittsDan Branch

UT Individuals
Bill PowersLarry SagerBarry BurgdorfKevin HegartyFrancisco CigarroaCarol Longoria

After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[2] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed a large number of FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[3] According to his accusers, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.[4][5] However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages.[6][7] In addition, Cigarroa wrote: "During testimony before the Select Committee, some early witnesses implied that the U.T. System has not protected the privacy rights of students, staff, and patients. This is simply not true."[8]

An effort was begun in June 2013 to try and impeach Hall from his position as Regent. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment under the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Governor Rick Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list.[9][10] The lack of lawsuit disclosure by Hall is not unique -- more than 9,000 lawsuits were not disclosed by other appointed Texas officials.[11] No unelected official in Texas has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office.[12] Governor of Texas Rick Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees.[13] He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."[14] Texas state legislators have never previously tried to remove an appointed official. Only two elected officials in the history of Texas have ever been successfully impeached.[15]

Richard Legon, president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, criticized the impeachment process in a November interview with the Austin American-Statesman. He called the impeachment process the "nuclear option" and said it could send a chilling signal to other members of higher education boards. Legon suggested that the board should have first been given the opportunity to address Hall's requests. "It’s fine for a board member to seek information through the appropriate path. The first layer of reining in an overly aggressive board member should be the board," he said.[16]

A January 2014 review by the law firm Hilder & Associates concluded that there was "no credible evidence of a violation of [the state government code] that would warrant a referral for criminal prosecution." The report concluded that Hall had a legitimate reason for having the documents in question. "In light of the fundamental role attorneys play, it would lead to an absurd result were it criminal for an official to provide student records to his or her attorney in the face of litigation, or anticipated litigation, involving these records," Philip Hilder wrote in the report. Hilder submitted the report to the legislative committee. The Board of Regents hired the firm to review whether Hall may have violated any federal privacy laws in his handling of student information. November 2013 testimony prompted committee-member Trey Fischer to request the inquiry. Committee member Dan Flynn said he was not surprised by the findings and was pleased the university counsel reached a conclusion.[17][18][19][20]

Committee on transparency activity

Alvarado is one of the eight members of the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, which is overseeing the investigation into a possible impeachment. The committee was formed in 2013, specifically existing to explore the possibility of impeaching Hall. The committee is holding hearings in late 2013 to hear testimony from individuals from the university system.[21]

In September 2013, Dan Flynn, co-chair of the select committee, said three basic questions would be asked during the process.[22]

  1. Did Hall fail to disclose material information on his application to be a regent?[23]
  2. Did he reveal information about students that violated their privacy?[23]
  3. Did he exceed his role as a regent in requesting massive amounts of information from UT-Austin?[23]
Request for personal computers

In November 2013, committee member Trey Martinez Fischer submitted a request indicating a desire to look at Hall's personal computers, iPads and smartphones as part of the investigation. "we must consider forensic examination of the personal or professional electronic communications of the regents in order to ensure compliance with the law," Fischer wrote in a letter to committee attorney Rusty Hardin.[24]

Subpoena of Hall

At a November 12, 2013 meeting, the committee issued a subpoena for Hall to appear on December 10. However, legislators quickly rescinded the subpoena, since no meeting was scheduled until December 18. Legislators also voted to issue subpoenas to University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas, Austin President Bill Powers to appear at the December 18, 2013 meeting.[25][26][27][28] With no subpoena having yet been issued to Hall, his lawyers sent a letter to the committee asking for clarification. With Francisco Cigarroa and Bill Powers already subpoenaed, Hall's lawyer Allan Van Fleet requested that the committee respond regarding whether it would also subpoena Hall. He said that Hall's lawyers have told him not to appear before the committee without a subpoena. On December 5, 2013, Van Fleet sent a letter to the committee requesting that the co-chairs announce whether Hall would indeed be subpoenaed. Van Fleet's request asked for an answer by the end of the day. In response, committee attorney Rusty Hardin said "We're not going to adhere to his deadline. He doesn't get to pick the time and place." Van Fleet pointed out that providing two weeks' notice for testimony is the standard to allow individuals to prepare testimony. He added that the letter has "caused confusion about the committee's intentions."[29]

On December 10, 2013, the committee sent a letter to Hall asking that he testify -- but they did not issue a subpoena. The committee sent a one-page, two-paragraph letter that invited Hall to testify and provide a list of witnesses.[30] On December 16, 2013, Hall's attorney Allan Van Fleet said Hall would not testify at the December 18 committee hearing. Van Fleet wrote: "Regent Hall has volunteered a number of times in the past to share his views with legislative Committees about the challenges and opportunities faced by the UT System. Though these offers have never been accepted, he remains interested in sharing his views, in collaborating with all policy makers on initiatives that will benefit the UT System, and in working with the committees to improve the transparency and accountability practices that should guide all UT System activities."[31][32][33][34]

Hall was invited to testify but was not given a subpoena, which is often perceived to provide some legal protection to the witness. Other individuals -- such as Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas Austin President Bill Powers -- were given formal subpoenas. Legislators criticized Hall for not agreeing to testify, despite the differing set of circumstances given to Hall. "It’s very disappointing to me that he and his attorney do not understand or do not care to observes the rules and procedures of the Texas House of Representatives and have decided they are not going to appear to testify," said co-chair Dan Flynn. Committee member Charles Perry noted that while all individuals who testified were given an official subpoena, Hall himself was not granted one. In fact, it was more directly avoided by the committee, after it first sent him a subpoena only to withdraw it.[35] A subpoena would have insulated individuals from risk in violating FERPA.[36][37][38]

Empower Texans response

In December 2013, the nonprofit organization Empower Texans sent a mailer criticizing committee chair Carol Alvarado. The mailer stated that lawmakers improperly focused on Hall's behavior, rather than investigating the allegations of clout at the University of Texas, Austin. Alvarado called the mailer the action of "an outside group that’s trying to influence an investigation." Empower Texans president Michael Quinn Sullivan said the legislature was engaging in a "whitewashing" of potential university wrongdoings. "We're impeaching someone for asking questions," he said.[39][40]

  • HB 1522 - Relating to a requirement that a chain restaurant disclose nutrition information; providing an administrative penalty.
  • HB 1523 - Relating to a prohibition of foods containing trans fat.
  • HB 1524 - Relating to prohibiting the manufacture and sale of certain children's products containing bisphenol-A or certain other substances.
  • HB 1877 - Relating to physical activity requirements for students enrolled in public school prekindergarten programs.[41]

Campaign Themes

Alvarado's website highlights the following campaign themes:[42]

Standing for our schools

  • Excerpt:"We must restore the cuts made to public education, resolve the way our schools are funded, and ensure every Texas child gets a high quality education."

Creating economic opportunity

  • Excerpt:"We need new lines of business in Texas that will bring more of today's good jobs to Senate District 6, and to invest in workforce training and retraining for the jobs of tomorrow."

Promoting a healthy Texas

  • Excerpt:"A healthy Texas is a prosperous Texas. We need to expand access to affordable, quality health care and focus on preventive care, which will save billions over the long term."

Making college affordable

  • Excerpt:"Tuition at Texas colleges and universities has skyrocketed in recent years, putting a degree out of reach for too many families. We must get tuition costs under control, so that getting a college education is achievable for Texas families."

Protecting our seniors

  • Excerpt:"Many of our seniors who live on fixed incomes have been hit hard by the high utility and insurance rates paid by Harris County residents. We must work to lower these rates and restore the cuts made to the Medicaid program, which provides nursing home care to many of our senior citizens."

Elections

2014

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Texas House of Representatives will consist of a primary election on March 4, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was December 9, 2013. Incumbent Carol Alvarado defeated Susan Delgado in the Democratic primary and is unchallenged in the general election.[43][44][45]

2013

See also: State legislative special elections, 2013

Alvarado ran for election in the special election for Texas State Senate District 6. The seat was vacant following Mario Gallegos's death in October 2012. Alvarado faced Joaquin Martinez (D), Sylvia Garcia (D), Susan Delgado (D), Rodolfo M. Reyes (D), R.W. Bray (R), Dorothy Marie Olmos (R) and Maria Selva (G) in the special election on January 26, 2013. The eight candidate field resulted in a runoff election between the top two candidates. Democrats Sylvia Garcia and Alvarado met in a runoff on March 2, which Garcia won.[46][47][48][49][50][51][52][53]

Texas State Senate, District 6, Special Election Runoff, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSylvia Garcia 52.9% 9,595
     Democratic Carol Alvarado 47.1% 8,546
Total Votes 18,141

2012

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2012

Alvarado ran in the 2012 election for Texas House of Representatives, District 145. Alvarado ran unopposed in the May 29 primary election. She was unchallenged in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012.[54]

2010

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2010

Alvarado won re-election in District 145. She was unopposed in the March 2 Democratic primary and faced no opposition in the November 2 general election.[55]

Texas House of Representatives, District 145
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Carol Alvarado (D) 9,395 100%

2008

On November 4, 2008, Alvarado won election to the Texas House of Representatives from the 145th District, defeating Republican Patricia Rodriguez. She received 13,946 votes, ahead of Rodriguez (5,877).[56] Alvarado raised $307,209 for her campaign; Rodriguez raised $157.[57]

Texas House of Representatives, District 145
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Carol Alvarado (D) 13,946 70.35%
Patricia Rodriguez (R) 5,877 29.64%

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Alvarado is available dating back to 2008. Based on available campaign finance records, Alvarado raised a total of $887,007 during that time period. This information was last updated on August 20, 2013.[58]

Carol Alvarado's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2013 Texas State Senate, District 6 Defeated $0
2012 Texas State House, District 145 Won $460,949
2010 Texas State House, District 145 Won $119,029
2008 Texas State House, District 145 Won $307,029
Grand Total Raised $887,007

2012

Alvarado won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Alvarado raised a total of $460,949.

2010

Alvarado won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Alvarado raised a total of $119,029.

2008

Alvarado won election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2008. During that election cycle, Alvarado raised a total of $307,029.

Scorecards

Empower Texans Fiscal Responsibility Index

Empower Texans produces the Fiscal Responsibility Index as "a measurement of how lawmakers perform on size and role of government issues." The index uses "exemplar votes on core budget and free enterprise issues that demonstrate legislators' governing philosophy."[59] Legislators were graded along a 0 through 100 scale in 2013 and on an A through F grading scale in 2011.

2013

Alvarado received a score of 18.1 in the 2013 Fiscal Responsibility Index.

2011

Carol Alvarado received a grade of F on the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index.

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References

  1. Project Vote Smart - Rep. Alvardo
  2. American Spectator, "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  3. Daily Texas Online, "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
  4. Daily Texas Online, "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
  5. Dallas Morning News, "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
  6. Watchdog, "‘Witch hunt’ fallout: Speaker calls for narrower public records law," February 5, 2014
  7. Texas Tribune, "UT System Responds to Transparency Committee Directives," February 3, 2014
  8. Texas Tribune, "Cigarroa letter to the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations," February 1, 2014
  9. Texas Tribune, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
  10. Real Clear Policy, "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
  11. Watchdog.org, "Case against UT regent Wallace Hall is a sham — here’s proof," September 6, 2013
  12. News-Journal, "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
  13. Texas Tribune, "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
  14. Texas Tribune, "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
  15. Texas Public Radio, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Will Testify In Impeachment Hearing," November 13, 2013
  16. Austin American Statesman, "A UT regent impeachment could make other boards cautious, expert says," November 29, 2013
  17. Dallas Morning News, "UT Regent Hall didn't commit crime, university attorney concludes,"January 16, 2014
  18. Watchdog, "UT Report: Charge against Hall is legally 'absurd'" January 14, 2014
  19. Texas Tribune, "Report: Regent Didn't Violate Student Privacy Laws," January 15, 2014
  20. Texas Tribune Uploads, "Hilder & Associates Report," January 13, 2014
  21. Texas State House Committees, "Transparency in State Agency Operations Committee Members," accessed October 31, 2013
  22. Texas Monthly, "Regent Wallace Hall is Another Step Closer to Impeachment," September 17, 2013
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Austin American Statesman, "Transparency panel begins investigation of UT regent with closed-door session," September 16, 2013
  24. Texas Tribune, "Lawmaker Eyes Access to UT Regents' Computers," November 4, 2013
  25. San Francisco Chronicle, "Texas House subpoenas Hall, but then recalls it," November 12, 2013
  26. Texas Tribune, "UT System Lawyer: Hall May Have Shared Private Info," November 12, 2013
  27. Austin American Statesman, "UT Regent Wallace Hall might have broken privacy laws, panel members suggest," November 12, 2013
  28. Texas Tribune, "Committee Recalls Subpoena for UT Regent Hall," November 12, 2013
  29. Texas Tribune, "Ahead of Hearings, UT Regent Hall Requests Subpoena," December 5, 2013
  30. Texas Tribune, "Committee Letter to Hall," December 10, 2013
  31. My San Antonio, "Letter to Committee," December 16, 2013
  32. The Republic, "Embattled UT Regent Wallace Hall won't testify to lawmakers considering possible impeachment," December 17, 2013
  33. Your Houston News, "UT regent facing possible ouster won’t testify," December 17, 2013
  34. Texas Tribune, "UT Regent Hall Declines Invitation to Testify," December 17, 2013
  35. News Journal, "Lawmaker: Regent’s silence ’slap in face’" December 19, 2013
  36. Dallas Morning News, "UT regent Wallace Hall won’t attend impeachment investigation," December 17, 2013
  37. Texas Public Radio, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Declines to Speak with Lawmakers," December 16, 2013
  38. Watchdog, "Chancellor is probing favoritism in UT admissions," December 19, 2013
  39. Houston Chronicle, "Empower Texans mailer criticizes Hall impeachment panel," December 19, 2013
  40. My San Antonio, "Clout Mailer from Empower Texans," December 19, 2013
  41. Texas Legislature - Bills Authored/Joint Authored by Rep. Alvarado
  42. carolalvarado.com, "Issues," accessed February 12, 2014
  43. Texas Secretary of State, "2014 March Primary Election Candidate Filings by County", accessed March 4, 2014
  44. Texas Secretary of State, "2014 Democratic Party Primary Election," accessed April 9, 2014
  45. Texas Secretary of State, "2014 Republican Party Primary Election," accessed April 9, 2014
  46. KHOU.com, "Garcia wins special runoff election for state Senate seat," March 2, 2013
  47. Chron.com, "Bitter District 6 race ends with Saturday runoff," February 26, 2013
  48. Dallas Morning News, "Houston special election for late state senator’s seat heading into runoff," January 26, 2013
  49. Texas Tribune, "Packed Field Could Mean a Runoff in SD-6," January 2, 2013
  50. The Republic, "Alvarado, Garcia, Bray vying to replace deceased Gallegos in Texas Senate special election," November 12, 2012
  51. The Dallas Morning News, "Governor sets special election for senate seat in Houston area," December 13, 2012
  52. Your Houston News, " Third candidate joins race for late Senator seat," December 28, 2012
  53. elections.sos.state.tx.us, "Official election results," accessed November 15, 2013
  54. Texas Democratic Party - Democratic Primary Candidates
  55. Official Texas Election Results
  56. Texas Secretary of State, "1992 - Current Election History," accessed February 24, 2014
  57. District 145 Texas House candidate funds, 2008
  58. Follow the Money, "Alvarado, Carol," accessed August 20, 2013
  59. Empower Texans, "Fiscal Responsibility Index," accessed February 22, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
'
Texas House District 145
2009–present
Succeeded by
NA