Pre-Screening Questions and Answers

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Pre-Screening Questions and Answers

Each candidate was given the opportunity to answer a series of questions prior to the Community Health Mayoral Forum. Below are their responses.

Candidate Name: Adrian Garcia

Address: PO Box 131446, Houston, TX 77219 Phone: 713-987-3300

Email: info@adriangarcia.com Website: adriangarcia.com

Campaign Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AdrianGarciaHTX?_rdr=p Campaign Twitter Handle: @AdrianGarciaHTX

Question #1:

According to the recently updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which seeks to reduce new HIV infections significantly by 2020, over 50% of new HIV/AIDS infections are in the South. Houston ranks eighth among cities in the United States with the largest share of people living with AIDS. As of 2012, over 21,000 Houstonians were living with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, and there were over 1,200 new diagnoses in 2013. In Houston, 75% of people living with an HIV diagnosis are men, and 25% are women. 50% are black, 26% Hispanic/Latino, and 21% white, while 61% of new infections in men are from male-to-male sexual contact. States such as New York and Minnesota, and cities including Washington D.C. and San Francisco have embarked upon creating extensive plans that strive to end the AIDS epidemic in their jurisdictions. Houston has the opportunity to be a leader in the Southern effort.

Would you both support and champion a comprehensive Houston End of AIDS plan that would involve key stakeholders across the city?

This is an issue that I have worked on for many years, and yes, I would champion a comprehensive plan that involves key stakeholders across all of Houston in fighting HIV/AIDS. Public Health and public safety are core services that will not be ignored even in dire financial times. We need to maximize effectiveness of public health programs based on each community's’ needs. As studies have shown, AIDS is a big issue in certain low-income communities in Houston and we can no longer ignore this.

In alignment with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, what City of Houston resources would you commit to supporting an End of AIDS plan?

Public Health and Public Safety will be a top priority of my administration. They are basic core services that should address the needs of all Houston communities. I will be working closely with experts at the CFA, Project CORRE and Project LEAP, to fully identify and leverage city resources that maximize the effectiveness of public health programs.

I strongly support maintaining public funding for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), and HIV/AIDS education programs. I

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will do everything in my power as mayor to work with the county, state and federal government to identify additional funding for these programs.

As Sheriff, I had to work on creative ways to stretch our budget to cover the medical needs of HIV positive inmates in our county jail. HIV/AIDS spending was around 40% of our total healthcare budget at the jail, and I pushed for a policy change to allow non- violent offenders in need of antiretroviral treatments to be released with ankle monitors in order to make sure people could get treatment they need.

There is still considerable resistance to doing what we need to do as a government and a society to look out for those affected by HIV/AIDS. This is an issue with a personal connection to me, and as mayor, I’m committed to leading from the front in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Question #2:

Stigma and discrimination must be eliminated in order to alleviate barriers to HIV prevention, testing, and care. It is important for all levels of government to recognize that biases exist and work to end stigma and discrimination in order to reduce new infections and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

What steps would you take to ensure that all levels of city government are working to end discrimination in HIV prevention and people living with HIV?

Living with HIV/AIDS is difficult enough, we need to make sure that all Houstonians are protected from discrimination and that the public is aware of the realities and common misconceptions surrounding the disease. In order to stop HIV discrimination, we need to better educate the public and challenge discriminatory attitudes, beliefs and behaviors, which only serve to alienate those living with the disease. I fully support community centers like Legacy and the Montrose Center in their efforts to be a safe space for people to receive treatment and openly discuss their experiences, fears and concerns about living with HIV/AIDS.

We need to promote a safe and tolerant community through dialogue and action. I believe that with increased sensitivity there must also be increased insistence that people are accountable for their actions. Illegal forms of bullying or discrimination need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

HIV discrimination stymies HIV prevention efforts by forcing people into the shadows. I will work with local organizations to provide more assistance and counseling for Houstonians living with HIV and I will do whatever is in my power as mayor to support channels for reporting incidents of discrimination. Consistent with my approach at the HCSO, I will promote enhanced policies aimed at transparency and accountability within public- private support services so that problems are addressed and residents are not ever afraid to seek the assistance they need.

How would you ensure that HIV prevention funding is allocated to community-based organizations so that funds reach areas with the highest burden of disease?

As Mayor, I will be scrutinizing our city’s budget and finance, to make sure that our revenue that is being set aside for HIV treatment and prevention programs is in fact being most efficiently spent to advance our city’s needs in the areas that need it most.

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Question #3:

The Area Agency on Aging and the Area Planning on Aging Council are managed by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. The senior population is growing faster than the resources and services designed to assist them. Nearly all of the resources managed by the City are Federal and State pass through dollars.

What creative ideas would your team bring to increasing the resources available to serve low-income seniors who need meals, counseling, case management, housing and access to health care?

I live in the same neighborhood that I grew up in and I strongly believe in the power of strong communities where retirees are able to afford keeping their homes and remaining as longtime bedrocks in the neighborhood they love. As a councilmember, I worked on multiple initiatives increasing the tax exemptions for seniors who were feeling pinched between rising property values and a fixed retirement income.

As mentioned in the question, housing is not the only challenge for our aging senior population on fixed incomes, as medical costs and wealth disparity issues continue to escalate. As mayor, I will make sure public- private partnerships are being fully leveraged to support our vulnerable seniors who are less equipped to navigate the economic volatility that can threaten public funding for critical services.

Many seniors do not have the same financial comfort due to being denied the accumulated financial benefits afforded by the government to married couples. LGBT seniors are also more likely to be stretched by the rising healthcare costs that are allayed in many other cases by younger generations in a family. As mayor, I will work with council and with other entities to provide relief for LGBT seniors who spent most of their lives denied the fundamental rights and benefits taken for granted by so many.

I am excited about the new public complex for seniors on Cleburne that aims to provide tolerant, affordable accommodations for Houstonians in need.

The City's leadership in housing the homeless has been nothing short of phenomenal for certain segments of the homeless population. Youth and young adults is one of the next segments slated for attention and resources. Given the regulations involved in sheltering and housing youth younger than 18, how would you and your staff approach housing this population and help in educating yourselves and the community about the barriers and needs of the homeless and youth?

According to a 2015 report, the Harris County has 1884 unsheltered homeless. Even though this shows a decrease from 2014 and previous years before that, homelessness remains an issue to continue addressing. I commend the Parker administration’s efforts to combat homelessness, which have achieved impressive results.

Homeless housing programs must be comprehensive and include mental health services, as mental illness and/or substance abuse disorder rates are twice as high for unsheltered homeless individuals than those in shelter.

The homelessness of any youth is a heartbreaking situation, and it is particularly distressing whenever a young person is forced from a home due to abuse and intolerance. The percentage of homeless youth that are LGBT is more than twice the percentage of teenagers who identify as LGBT, and LGBT

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youth are sexually abused at considerably higher rates than non- LGBT homeless youth. We have to do better taking care of our young people, and I want to work closely with all of the great resources that we have within the LGBT community to make this happen.

I spoke at the Creating Change conference in 2014 on the same program as a young leader in our community who spent a portion of his teenage years homeless. While his story was heartbreaking, it had an incredible ending about how he realized how much support there truly is in this city from within the LGBT community. We are blessed to live in a diverse city with a vibrant, well organized LGBT population that looks out for the needs of the community at large. As mayor, I will do everything in my power to support and coordinate with the LGBT community in supporting the most vulnerable parts of Houston’s future.

I think that it is particularly important that the city look out for transgendered youth in need of a shelter. These youth need to be protected and housed by their self-identified gender. As Sheriff, I oversaw the establishment of the first LGBT liaison program in the department’s history to ensure that the HCSO was properly skilled in handling issues within the LGBT community. Part of what this LGBT liaison program was tasked with assisting in was my groundbreaking policy directive to house inmates at the county jail by their gender identity rather than their biological sex. This housing policy was among the first in the entire country, and as mayor I will lead the effort to make sure shelters treat all of our youth with dignity.

As mayor, I will do everything in my power to promote effective partnerships between the City and local organizations that specialize in understanding and serving various cross-sections of our diverse population.

These programs need to integrate educational outreach programs, assistance in locating job training and employment, transitional living programs, and health care especially designed for and directed at homeless youth.

Question #4:

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured adults and children in the country. Each year, Planned Parenthood provides high quality, affordable preventive medical care and education programs and services to tens of thousands of individuals in Houston – many of whom don’t have primary care or who cannot afford private medical providers. We also offer reproductive and sexual health training and educational services to hundreds of health, human services and education professionals from private and public community-based organizations. In Harris County, less than half of women eligible for subsidized family planning services have access to care.

Planned Parenthood health centers are part of an important network of women’s health care providers, including local health departments, hospital outpatient clinics and independent family planning clinics that serve as a critical entry point into the health care system for millions of women across the county. It is critical that we protect patients’ access to essential community providers like Planned Parenthood, who provide quality and affordable health services with efficiency.

Do you support providing all FDA-approved methods of contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections at City Health Clinics?

Yes, public health should reflect the health care options and remedies that the community needs. Government should work to transcend political rancor and instead increase awareness of public

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health issues and solutions. We must work towards providing accurate and unbiased information that allows consideration of all of the cost- efficient healthcare options and treatments, even if these options do fit neatly into the political or religious sensibilities of all Houstonians. Each person deserves to have reliable information to make their own informed decision for their own treatment. As mayor, I will utilize my bully pulpit to loudly call for medicaid expansion in Texas under the Affordable Care Act and I will support federal and state efforts to maximize the efficiency of health exchange navigator programs.

Do you support public funding for family planning services to reduce unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections?

Yes, public health policies should reflect the health needs of the community and should be especially cognizant of sensitively providing care for the needs that may have a social stigma in certain parts of society. Public health is interconnected, and It is in the health and economic interests of everyone to detect or deter health issues before they become more serious or spread to others. I’ve spent my entire career protecting the community and having the tough conversations that pave the way to sensible solutions; I will not play politics when it comes to public health.

Would you help ensure that safety net providers like Planned Parenthood continue to work in coordination with the local health departments and other health care providers as part of the vital health care delivery system in Houston?

Public Health policies need to address the needs of our diverse city. The city of Houston’s Department of Health needs to work collaboratively with healthcare providers, and safety net providers, like Planned Parenthood, to create partnerships with all of the communities of Houston. We need to identify the best policies for improving public health. This can only be accomplished by increasing public health coordination with the experts that understand the different problems of the different parts of Houston.

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Candidate Name: Chris Bell Contact Information

 Address: 3939 Montrose Blvd., Houston TX 77006  Phone: 281-888-6629

 Website: bellformayor.com

 Campaign Facebook Page: Chris Bell for Mayor  Campaign Twitter Handle: @ChrisBell2015 Question #1:

According to the recently updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which seeks to reduce new HIV infections significantly by 2020, over 50% of new HIV/AIDS infections are in the South. Houston ranks eighth among cities in the United States with the largest share of people living with AIDS. As of 2012, over 21,000 Houstonians were living with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, and there were over 1,200 new diagnoses in 2013. In Houston, 75% of people living with an HIV diagnosis are men, and 25% are women. 50% are black, 26% Hispanic/Latino, and 21% white, while 61% of new infections in men are from male-to-male sexual contact. States such as New York and Minnesota, and cities including Washington D.C. and San Francisco have embarked upon creating extensive plans that strive to end the AIDS epidemic in their jurisdictions. Houston has the opportunity to be a leader in the Southern effort.

Would you both support and champion a comprehensive Houston End of AIDS plan that would involve key stakeholders across the city?

Yes.

In alignment with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, what City of Houston resources would you commit to supporting an End of AIDS plan?

After exhausting opportunities for federal funding, the City could commit a percentage of its health budget to bring vulnerable populations to prevention and treatment services. The success requires involvement beyond government, and must engage businesses, faith communities, philanthropy, scientific and medical communities, schools, and neighborhood organizations.

Question #2:

Stigma and discrimination must be eliminated in order to alleviate barriers to HIV prevention, testing, and care. It is important for all levels of government to recognize that biases exist and work to end stigma and discrimination in order to reduce new infections and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

What steps would you take to ensure that all levels of city government are working to end discrimination in HIV prevention and people living with HIV?

Pass HERO, supported by aggressive efforts to market available prevention and treatment efforts. Departments that work with the homeless and transient should be trained to direct persons toward prevention and treatment, as should HPD and emergency service providers.

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How would you ensure that HIV prevention funding is allocated to community-based organizations so that funds reach areas with the highest burden of disease?

Put smart and fair persons in charge of making those allocations, and work through City Council offices and neighborhood health organizations to identify areas of need.

Question #3:

The Area Agency on Aging and the Area Planning on Aging Council are managed by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. The senior population is growing faster than the resources and services designed to assist them. Nearly all of the resources managed by the City are Federal and State pass through dollars.

What creative ideas would your team bring to increasing the resources available to serve low-income seniors who need meals, counseling, case management, housing and access to health care?

Again, it will be a matter of putting creative minds to work on the issue. We might train neighborhood code enforcement officers to identify the needy, and again, HPD and emergency services. As the Baby Boomer population ages into seniors, the need for these services will grow significantly.

The City's leadership in housing the homeless has been nothing short of phenomenal for certain segments of the homeless population. Youth and young adults is one of the next segments slated for attention and resources.

Given the regulations involved in sheltering and housing youth younger than 18, how would you and your staff approach housing this population and help in educating yourselves and the community about the barriers and needs of the homeless and youth?

We must ensure law enforcement is sensitive to, and trained on this issue, as unfortunately, they are often a first point of contact between homeless youths and public services. And the city through its code enforcement must be sure that services to homeless youth are safe, clean and that they contribute to improving the quality of life of clients.

Question #4:

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured adults and children in the country. Each year, Planned Parenthood provides high quality, affordable preventive medical care and education programs and services to tens of thousands of individuals in Houston – many of whom don’t have primary care or who cannot afford private medical providers. We also offer reproductive and sexual health training and educational services to hundreds of health, human services and education professionals from private and public community-based organizations. In Harris County, less than half of women eligible for subsidized family planning services have access to care.

Planned Parenthood health centers are part of an important network of women’s health care providers, including local health departments, hospital outpatient clinics and independent family planning clinics that serve as a critical entry point into the health care system for millions of women across the county. It is critical that we protect patients’ access to essential community providers like Planned Parenthood, who provide quality and affordable health services with efficiency.

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Do you support providing all FDA-approved methods of contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections at City Health Clinics?

Yes.

Do you support public funding for family planning services to reduce unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections?

Yes.

Would you help ensure that safety net providers like Planned Parenthood continue to work in coordination with the local health departments and other health care providers as part of the vital health care delivery system in Houston?

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Candidate Name: Marty McVey Contact Information:

 Address: 6363 Richmond, Suite 350, Houston, Texas 77057  Phone: 713-334-0800

 Website: www.martymcvey.com

 Campaign Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/officialmartymcvey  Campaign Twitter Handle: https://twitter.com/MartyMcVey

Question #1:

According to the recently updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which seeks to reduce new HIV infections significantly by 2020, over 50% of new HIV/AIDS infections are in the South. Houston ranks eighth among cities in the United States with the largest share of people living with AIDS. As of 2012, over 21,000 Houstonians were living with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, and there were over 1,200 new diagnoses in 2013. In Houston, 75% of people living with an HIV diagnosis are men, and 25% are women. 50% are black, 26% Hispanic/Latino, and 21% white, while 61% of new infections in men are from male-to-male sexual contact. States such as New York and Minnesota, and cities including Washington D.C. and San Francisco have embarked upon creating extensive plans that strive to end the AIDS epidemic in their jurisdictions. Houston has the opportunity to be a leader in the Southern effort.

Would you both support and champion a comprehensive Houston End of AIDS plan that would involve key stakeholders across the city?

Yes.

In alignment with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, what City of Houston resources would you commit to supporting an End of AIDS plan?

As Mayor, I would ensure that any funding provided by the CDC to the Houston Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of HIV/STD and Viral Hepatitis Prevention be committed to the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy – mainly reducing HIV incidences, increasing access to care and optimizing positive health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. This would require at a minimum, the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis, post-exposure prophylaxis, and treatment as prevention among other interventions to prevent new HIV infections. In addition, all other funding streams that could be accessed through coordination with the county or state would be optimized in order to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS here locally.

Question #2:

Stigma and discrimination must be eliminated in order to alleviate barriers to HIV prevention, testing, and care. It is important for all levels of government to recognize that biases exist and work to end stigma and discrimination in order to reduce new infections and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

What steps would you take to ensure that all levels of city government are working to end discrimination in HIV prevention and people living with HIV?

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As Mayor, I would adopt a city-wide health policy that information to be provided to all departments regarding the ADA of 1990 and what that policy means in regard to the treatment of individuals with HIV/AIDS. I would make it mandatory to provide information at all points of contact with the public about HIV/AIDS in order to lessen the stigma and to provide factual information about the disease and where to turn to for help with testing, care and support. I would also promote many events that bring the continuing issue to the forefront, such as PSAs, the AIDS Walk, Dining for Life, and World AIDS Day to name just a few.

How would you ensure that HIV prevention funding is allocated to community-based organizations so that funds reach areas with the highest burden of disease?

As Mayor, I would review the City’s funding ratios for such organizations to make sure the correct amount of monies are indeed given to the organizations that are reaching those in most need based upon local and risk factors. I would also review the RFP process to insure that the requests were tailored to the appropriate organizations, addressed the real need as measured, and were the most current in their methodologies and application of demonstrable standards to be met; much in the way that it is already done by the Ryan White Planning Council – Houston.

Question #3:

The Area Agency on Aging and the Area Planning on Aging Council are managed by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. The senior population is growing faster than the resources and services designed to assist them. Nearly all of the resources managed by the City are Federal and State pass through dollars.

What creative ideas would your team bring to increasing the resources available to serve low-income seniors who need meals, counseling, case management, housing and access to health care?

As Mayor, I would look at offering stipends and student loan forgiveness for local Public Health, Social Work, Public Policy, Dental, Nursing and Medical graduate students who commit to a period of service to HDHHS and other similar agencies. I would also look at the public health dollars in the City’s control and reevaluate the need vs. disbursement and sunset those programs that no longer had a high need yet were still taking an undue share of said funds.

The City's leadership in housing the homeless has been nothing short of phenomenal for certain segments of the homeless population. Youth and young adults is one of the next segments slated for attention and resources.

Given the regulations involved in sheltering and housing youth younger than 18, how would you and your staff approach housing this population and help in educating yourselves and the community about the barriers and needs of the homeless and youth?

As Mayor, I would look at programs that have attempted to address the issue such as SAFE Spot. I would also try other creative solutions to provide temporary safe and health environments based upon youth hostels - or group dorm model with “house parents” as many boarding schools offer – that would provide case management and allow the individual free movement to get an education and assimilate into the workplace while seeking more permanent housing. That said, I would also turn

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to the community and organizations that have a proven track record of positively influencing the reduction of youth homelessness (i.e. the Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Youth Network) to learn more and see how my ideas may or may not work or how they may be improved. Question #4:

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured adults and children in the country. Each year, Planned Parenthood provides high quality, affordable preventive medical care and education programs and services to tens of thousands of individuals in Houston – many of whom don’t have primary care or who cannot afford private medical providers. We also offer reproductive and sexual health training and educational services to hundreds of health, human services and education professionals from private and public community-based organizations. In Harris County, less than half of women eligible for subsidized family planning services have access to care.

Planned Parenthood health centers are part of an important network of women’s health care providers, including local health departments, hospital outpatient clinics and independent family planning clinics that serve as a critical entry point into the health care system for millions of women across the county. It is critical that we protect patients’ access to essential community providers like Planned Parenthood, who provide quality and affordable health services with efficiency.

Do you support providing all FDA-approved methods of contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections at City Health Clinics?

Yes.

Do you support public funding for family planning services to reduce unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections?

Yes.

Would you help ensure that safety net providers like Planned Parenthood continue to work in coordination with the local health departments and other health care providers as part of the vital health care delivery system in Houston?

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Candidate Name: Steve Costello Contact Information:

 Address: PO Box 541511 Houston, TX 77254  Phone: 713.527.8996

 Email: steve@costelloformayor.com  Website: http://costelloformayor.com/

 Campaign Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/costello.steve  Campaign Twitter Handle: https://twitter.com/s_costello

Question #1:

According to the recently updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which seeks to reduce new HIV infections significantly by 2020, over 50% of new HIV/AIDS infections are in the South. Houston ranks eighth among cities in the United States with the largest share of people living with AIDS. As of 2012, over 21,000 Houstonians were living with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, and there were over 1,200 new diagnoses in 2013. In Houston, 75% of people living with an HIV diagnosis are men, and 25% are women. 50% are black, 26% Hispanic/Latino, and 21% white, while 61% of new infections in men are from male-to-male sexual contact. States such as New York and Minnesota, and cities including Washington D.C. and San Francisco have embarked upon creating extensive plans that strive to end the AIDS epidemic in their jurisdictions. Houston has the opportunity to be a leader in the Southern effort.

Would you both support and champion a comprehensive Houston End of AIDS plan that would involve key stakeholders across the city?

Yes, I would support a comprehensive End of AIDS plan. The city, working together with Harris County, area health care providers and community-based organizations, could develop an effective implementation plan to reduce the number of people to be infected with HIV and to increase access to care and improve outcomes for people living with HIV.

In alignment with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, what City of Houston resources would you commit to supporting an End of AIDS plan?

Fifty-nine agencies worked on creating the current plan entitled “The Houston Area Comprehensive HIV Prevention and Care Services Plan for 2012 through 2014,” so, I’m hoping there is still good infrastructure in place to embark on an even more extensive plan. I would definitely commit Health Department staff to the effort and ask that the group reconvene to plan for the next five years. I would also make sure there is coordination with Planning Department staff as the End of AIDS Plan could be a component of the city’s new General Plan, fitting with the core strategy to “nurture safe and healthy neighborhoods.” Further, I would commit Housing and Community Development Department staff working with the HOPWA Program to get involved in the planning effort. I’d also engage communications staff in the mayor’s office to highly publicize the plan’s launch and release.

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Question #2:

Stigma and discrimination must be eliminated in order to alleviate barriers to HIV prevention, testing, and care. It is important for all levels of government to recognize that biases exist and work to end stigma and discrimination in order to reduce new infections and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

What steps would you take to ensure that all levels of city government are working to end discrimination in HIV prevention and people living with HIV?

Unfortunately, many people living with HIV may have experienced some form of discrimination. Thankfully, since the city began its work in this arena in the 1980s, the stigma surrounding HIV has lessened. However, because it’s important for the city to combat discrimination when does arise, I will be sure the city continues contracting with Houston Volunteer Lawyers to handle cases as they occur. Further, I’ll support all education efforts to make sure the right information about HIV is provided to the public. Informing and educating the public about HIV is the key to eliminating the stigma attached to HIV.

How would you ensure that HIV prevention funding is allocated to community-based organizations so that funds reach areas with the highest burden of disease?

The city currently contracts with numerous community-based organizations so funds reach areas of highest need, and I will continue this practice. I will work to make sure federal grant dollars are allocated to community-based organizations most experienced in working with high-risk populations. It’s these groups who are on the ground working to combat this disease, so they are the ones best equipped to meet the needs of the community. I’ll make sure funds are directed to organizations with innovative methods, proven track records and successful measurable results.

Question #3:

The Area Agency on Aging and the Area Planning on Aging Council are managed by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. The senior population is growing faster than the resources and services designed to assist them. Nearly all of the resources managed by the City are Federal and State pass through dollars.

What creative ideas would your team bring to increasing the resources available to serve low-income seniors who need meals, counseling, case management, housing and access to health care?

For the past four years, my office has sponsored an annual “Falls and Flu Prevention Day” during the first week of fall. I work together with the Area Agency on Aging and the National Council on Aging, local hospitals, health care providers, and the Parks Department to put on this annual event. I realize the importance of keeping seniors healthy and preventing falls and flu is just one important way we can accomplish this. Our population is aging and the city must do what it can to protect our seniors. We serve over one million meals to seniors and provide counseling and case management to

thousands. I’ll certainly continue these efforts and expand them as funds are available. The main thing I’ve learned through my work on falls and flu prevention is that seniors want and need to be active, and they love being together. We share a fun-filled morning of line dancing, balance exercises, food and laughter. I’d like to partner with the Texas Medical Center to sponsor more events such as this to educate seniors on ways to stay healthy.

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The City's leadership in housing the homeless has been nothing short of phenomenal for certain segments of the homeless population. Youth and young adults is one of the next segments slated for attention and resources.

Given the regulations involved in sheltering and housing youth younger than 18, how would you and your staff approach housing this population and help in educating yourselves and the community about the barriers and needs of the homeless and youth?

I’m proud to say I’ve supported Houston’s Covenant House any time it has been on the City Council agenda, and Debbie and I have attended several events they have hosted over the years. They are the group that has educated me the most about Houston’s homeless youth challenges.

In any homeless population the challenges are multi-faceted, and include very real mental and

physical health care challenges. With a younger population, I think we very much need to incorporate educational and workforce training programs when addressing homelessness to transition these individuals into a stable environment.

In terms of educating myself, I would obviously turn to my relationship with Covenant House and ask them for advice. Obviously I would need to hear from city staff who are fighting this problem on the front lines. There are other successful non-profits, specifically LifeWorks in Austin, that have seen success in this area and we should look to them for best practices and data-driven ways to measure our work. I would agree that the city has seen real progress in reducing the homeless population, and I think that Mayor Parker should be proud of her leadership and success on this issue. I would

certainly invite her involvement and advice in any capacity she would be willing to provide in order to continue Houston’s progress.

This is a real opportunity for the city to serve as a hub for several service providing organizations to coordinate work and acquire resources. I think there would be great interest from the business, education, spiritual and non-profit communities to come together, pool resources and do something about the homeless youth challenge.

Question #4:

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured adults and children in the country. Each year, Planned Parenthood provides high quality, affordable preventive medical care and education programs and services to tens of thousands of individuals in Houston – many of whom don’t have primary care or who cannot afford private medical providers. We also offer reproductive and sexual health training and educational services to hundreds of health, human services and education professionals from private and public community-based organizations. In Harris County, less than half of women eligible for subsidized family planning services have access to care.

Planned Parenthood health centers are part of an important network of women’s health care providers, including local health departments, hospital outpatient clinics and independent family planning clinics that serve as a critical entry point into the health care system for millions of women across the county. It is critical that we protect patients’ access to essential community providers like Planned Parenthood, who provide quality and affordable health services with efficiency.

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Do you support providing all FDA-approved methods of contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections at City Health Clinics?

Yes

Do you support public funding for family planning services to reduce unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections?

Yes

Would you help ensure that safety net providers like Planned Parenthood continue to work in coordination with the local health departments and other health care providers as part of the vital health care delivery system in Houston?

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Candidate Name: Sylvester Turner Contact Information:

 Address: 2160 Portsmouth Street, Houston TX 77098  Phone: 832-260-4507

 Email: sylvester@sylvesterturner.com  Website: www.sylvesterturner.com

 Campaign Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/sylvesterturner  Campaign Twitter Handle: @sylvesterturner

Question #1:

According to the recently updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which seeks to reduce new HIV infections significantly by 2020, over 50% of new HIV/AIDS infections are in the South. Houston ranks eighth among cities in the United States with the largest share of people living with AIDS. As of 2012, over 21,000 Houstonians were living with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, and there were over 1,200 new diagnoses in 2013. In Houston, 75% of people living with an HIV diagnosis are men, and 25% are women. 50% are black, 26% Hispanic/Latino, and 21% white, while 61% of new infections in men are from male-to-male sexual contact. States such as New York and Minnesota, and cities including Washington D.C. and San Francisco have embarked upon creating extensive plans that strive to end the AIDS epidemic in their jurisdictions. Houston has the opportunity to be a leader in the Southern effort.

Would you both support and champion a comprehensive Houston End of AIDS plan that would involve key stakeholders across the city?

Yes

In alignment with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, what City of Houston resources would you commit to supporting an End of AIDS plan?

A comprehensive End of AIDS plan will require a multi-front effort involving community organizations, faith-based groups, health providers, local universities, city health and communications resources and more. I am proud of my 26-year history of bringing disparate groups together to solve challenges for Houston. I have a proven ability to work with leaders from every community to achieve results. For example, the relationships that I have built with Democrats and Republicans at the state level and with health providers and community groups locally were instrumental in my successful fight during the recent legislative session against an effort to cut $3 million from HIV programs. Because of my position on the budget conference committee, I was able to facilitate the successful restoration of

those funds. I will bring this same commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS to my service as mayor.

Question #2:

Stigma and discrimination must be eliminated in order to alleviate barriers to HIV prevention, testing, and care. It is important for all levels of government to recognize that biases exist and work to end stigma and discrimination in order to reduce new infections and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

What steps would you take to ensure that all levels of city government are working to end discrimination in HIV prevention and people living with HIV?

(17)

Eliminating stigma against characteristics that disproportionately coexist with HIV is an important step toward ending stigma about HIV. According to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, governments should combat discrimination related to characteristics including race, sexual orientation and gender identity. That is one reason why the HERO ordinance is so important. HERO mandates protections for all Houstonians and prohibits discrimination across a range of categories, including race, sexual orientation and gender identity. I have been an outspoken supporter of HERO since day one and will aggressively enforce it as mayor.

Another measure the National HIV/AIDS Strategy recommends for eliminating stigma is promoting public leadership from individuals living with HIV. As mayor, I will actively seek policy input from diverse stakeholders before moving forward with decisions that affect them and I will ensure that appointments to boards and commissions reflect the diversity of our city, including the voices of those living with HIV and AIDS.

How would you ensure that HIV prevention funding is allocated to community-based organizations so that funds reach areas with the highest burden of disease?

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy recommends that HIV treatment and prevention resources be allocated according to the geographic and demographic concentration of the epidemic. Targeting resources in this way requires a thorough and accurate understanding of the contours of HIV infection in Houston. As mayor, I will partner our health department with local universities, health providers and community organizations to ensure that we have the most accurate, up-to-date picture of Houston’s HIV/AIDS challenge. Resource allocations will be guided by those data.

Question #3:

The Area Agency on Aging and the Area Planning on Aging Council are managed by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. The senior population is growing faster than the resources and services designed to assist them. Nearly all of the resources managed by the City are Federal and State pass through dollars.

What creative ideas would your team bring to increasing the resources available to serve low-income seniors who need meals, counseling, case management, housing and access to health care?

Seniors face a variety of health, economic and legal challenges as they age, and I have fought to address those challenges throughout my career. For example, I have stood up to utility companies to stop excessive rate increases and service cutoffs and to help low-income Houstonians and seniors receive discounts on their electricity bills; during the most recent legislative session, I passed a bill that will result in an estimated $52 electricity discount per month for low-income seniors. As mayor, I will bring a similar commitment to easing burdens on seniors. Some possible solutions include

encouraging members of our private legal community to provide pro bono assistance to seniors and working with community-and faith-based organizations to establish a visitation program to address social isolation. I am open to hearing from the senior community and from care experts on additional suggested interventions to address these challenges.

The City's leadership in housing the homeless has been nothing short of phenomenal for certain segments of the homeless population. Youth and young adults is one of the next segments slated for attention and resources.

(18)

Given the regulations involved in sheltering and housing youth younger than 18, how would you and your staff approach housing this population and help in educating yourselves and the community about the barriers and needs of the homeless and youth?

The homeless population deserves to be treated with the same dignity and compassion that any of us expects. I am proud of my record on homelessness reduction. In my role as a legislator, I authored a bill this year to address youth homelessness; through that work, I am aware that the homeless youth community has particular challenges and specific needs. As mayor, I will be equally committed to leveraging Houston’s resources to support the housing and employment assistance programs that are proven effective at reducing homelessness.

Question #4:

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured adults and children in the country. Each year, Planned Parenthood provides high quality, affordable preventive medical care and education programs and services to tens of thousands of individuals in Houston – many of whom don’t have primary care or who cannot afford private medical providers. We also offer reproductive and sexual health training and educational services to hundreds of health, human services and education professionals from private and public community-based organizations. In Harris County, less than half of women eligible for subsidized family planning services have access to care.

Planned Parenthood health centers are part of an important network of women’s health care providers, including local health departments, hospital outpatient clinics and independent family planning clinics that serve as a critical entry point into the health care system for millions of women across the county. It is critical that we protect patients’ access to essential community providers like Planned Parenthood, who provide quality and affordable health services with efficiency.

Do you support providing all FDA-approved methods of contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections at City Health Clinics?

Yes

Do you support public funding for family planning services to reduce unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections?

Yes

Would you help ensure that safety net providers like Planned Parenthood continue to work in coordination with the local health departments and other health care providers as part of the vital health care delivery system in Houston?

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