Student on the campaign trail for Texas House

Student on the campaign trail for Texas House

Student on the campaign trail for Texas House
October 06
23:30 2014

Dalton LaFerney / Senior Staff Writer

Political science senior Daniel Moran sat glued to the television curiously watching John Kerry and President George W. Bush spar in the 2004 presidential debates. He gauged the candidates’ strategies and methods, capturing the rhetoric and the promises each made.

“I remember being enthralled by Kerry getting pushed around by Bush,” Moran said. “I enjoyed watching politics, and I became so interested in the field.”

Moran is a Democrat running for Texas House District 63 against incumbent Republican Tan Parker, who was first elected in 2006.

“We need to represent the people who are forgotten about in politics,” Moran said. “The people who are often underrepresented, especially religious minorities, racial minorities, the poor, students, elderly people need to be heard.”

Moran is due to graduate in the spring, but says he does not have a plan in place if he is elected this November.

“I’ll figure it out,” he said.

Breakdown by the issues

Moran was born near Denver, but moved to Flower Mound at about age 2 and said he has lived there with his family ever since. 

Moran’s political ideologies could be summed down to two founding American principles: equality and liberty for all.

“Without equality, there is no liberty,” he said.

He is influenced politically by Franklin D. Roosevelt because of his progressive agenda, and Lyondon B. Johnson because of his strides in equality.

Moran identifies as bisexual and is a proponent for marriage equality.

He also stands resolved as an atheist  and said if he’s elected, he’ll march on Austin in a fight against the stereotypes many atheists face.

“[Religious people] say we just don’t have morals. I have values just like any other American,” Moran said. “They just don’t come from the Bible. There are atheists that want to be involved in politics but feel left out. They are ignored and often disenfranchised.”

Moran has kept up with the hydraulic fracturing debate in Denton and said although he cannot vote because of his residence in Flower Mound, he would vote for the citywide fracking ban.

“I do not support a complete ban of fracking,” he said. “However, in the case that is happening in Denton, where they have tried every means possible in order to have more transparency and safety, I would vote for the ban.”

He said fracking is a beneficial source of energy to Texans, and said voters should not forget about the state’s natural resources. However, he said fracking needs to be done safely and accountably.

Another measure he favors on the November ballot is Proposition 1, a measure that would spend $1.7 billion to overhaul transportation in the state.

Moran supports a government that encourages a healthy business climate by reevaluating oversight and hefty taxes.

“I think industry should be allowed to do what it deems necessary in order to create jobs, but it needs to be weighed against the interest of Texans,” he said. “The sort of value system where it’s every man for himself is ridiculous, in my mind.”

Small business is important to Moran, who said local businesses should be a priority.

“When you spend money at a local business, it goes to your community. It’s not going to the pockets of billionaires,” Moran said. “I would sponsor legislation to redirect our state’s priorities from giving generous subsidies to big business, and redirect them to small businesses that hire more people.”

For topics such as abortion, he said he’s neither left nor right on the issue.

“As much as I don’t want people to get abortions, I understand why people would seek that option,” Moran said. “And I wouldn’t want to take away that right to do that if they view it as necessary.”

Immigration is an issue Moran said should be dealt with differently than it is now. And he said Gov. Rick Perry’s move to send the National Guard is unadvisable because it spends too much money for little-to-no solvency.

“I think we need to be protecting our borders, but we also need to have a reasonable understanding that we are still all humans,” he said. “People coming from Central America, who are fleeing violence from their home countries, need to be taken care of.”

At the root of the immigration crisis, Moran said, is the drug war in the U.S. He aims to decriminalize marijuana and take the incentive out of the drug business in America.

“I’m sure if you asked anybody on campus, ‘Hey, can you find me some,’ they’d probably know where to look,” he said. “But why should that person’s life, who probably has a 4.0, be ruined if a cop pulls them over and finds a small bag of pot? I would support decriminalization.”

Gaining Support

Denton County has long voted Republicans into office, but Moran has his eyes set on change.

“I’m hoping to break that cycle,” he said. “Yes, it currently is a red county, but it’s a nonvoting county. We have a lot of Democrats, they just don’t vote.”

As of late, the Denton County Democrats have been successful in bringing big name politicians to the area. Wendy Davis stopped by UNT, and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Leticia Van de Putte will be in Denton Oct. 10 for a breakfast.

Phyllis Wolper, chair of the county party, has led the recent surge.

“Daniel brings clear thinking,” she said. “He has true empathy for the people of his district who’ve been forgotten in Austin.”

Moran is backed by some state and national political action committees, receiving an unofficial total of $8,000. The Stonewall Democrats contributed $500, Enlighten the Vote PAC gave $250, and Free Thought Equality Fund PAC doled out $1,000.

He founded the Secular Student Alliance group on campus, and said some of the members support his campaign. UNT College Democrats also back Moran, and Billy Poer, president of the club, is his campaign treasurer.

“He’s one of the most organized candidates that I’ve seen during this whole election,” Poer said. “He has a lot of liberal ideas that support equality, and his opponent does not. Taking out Tan Parker would probably be one of the biggest hits to the Republicans in the state House.”

Featured Image: Political Science senior Daniel Moran, who identifies himself as bisexual and atheist, is running for the Texas House of Representatives. Photo by Devin Dakota – Staff Photographer

About Author

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton is the editor of the Daily.

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