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Q&A With Local Politicians: Jamee Jolly

Jolly is a Republican running for State Representative House District 70
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Photo: Jamee Jolly | Headshot

The election is quickly approaching. Voters deserve to know who their candidates are and what they represent. Up until election day, Local Profile will publish Q&A with politicians running for this year's election. 

What position are you running for and why?

I am running to serve the community that I love and call home. As a 20-plus year resident of North Texas and Plano and a native Texan, I understand the issues that impact the lives of people here. And I have a track record of service, right here in this community. I have been involved in policy and politics in different capacities throughout my adult life. I understand that to be an effective elected office-holder you must build relationships throughout the community and stay informed on the issues and the impact to citizens. I want to make sure we have a strong voice and respected leader representing this district in the Texas House. This is why I am running to be your next Texas State Representative for House District 70. 

What policies do you hope to enact and why?

The first policy we must address is property taxes, which in turn leads to reforms in our school funding system. Unlike virtually every state in America, due to being fiscally responsible and due to our amazing Texas energy industry, we have an economic boom and a surplus in state revenues. We can utilize the current surplus to plan for future needs in our public education system while also providing property tax relief. Texas has the 7th highest property taxes in America. We must do better. Even when tax rates remain the same, record increases in property values create record tax collections so homeowners are unfairly carrying the burden of school finance. The state must find ways to redirect funds that were meant for education back to serving public schools. We also must increase education spending by revisiting the basic allotment. Education should always be a top priority for our state in order to make sure we have an educated and prepared population. Finally, we should improve Texas infrastructure. Better transportation, a more stable power supply and water resources are critical to continuing the Texas economic miracle.

We must address the state’s teacher retirement system and the lack of an inflationary increase that would help our retired teachers handle the rising cost of inflation, especially when it comes to insurance. 

As part of this campaign, I have had the opportunity to knock on thousands of doors and meet with voters, many of whom have legitimate concerns and ideas that might be good to address by the Legislature. I have utilized this opportunity to learn more and hope to help our House District 70 residents with some of these issues. I also hope to prevent bad policy from being adopted that will not be of benefit to our citizens. That is truly where the majority of time is spent.  

What are the biggest challenges facing your district?

High property taxes hit an area like this district harder than most areas. We not only have inflation in prices, but we also are a very desirable place to live and with thousands of people coming to Texas every year, property values are skyrocketing and along with that, high taxes. It is great to see an increase in home values, since it is often our largest investment, but not when it causes the burden of taxes to shift and create more financial hardship. With record inflation and an unsteady market, I will fight to help keep more money in the pockets of Texans in order for them to weather these types of financial times. 

How will your policies affect North Texas as a whole?

North Texas leads in energy, and Texas energy is vital for America and the world.  In fact, the world depends on us. If we work to help Europe replace Russian energy and stay warm this winter, we will do well for them and help our own prosperity. The only thing that holds us back are politicians like my opponent who work to undermine energy – even clean natural gas. I also want to believe that by raising the basic allotment in school funding, all boats will rise. This will help address the shortage in classroom teachers and the concerns with the impact inflation is having on our local public school districts. 

What are the biggest challenges facing Texas?

The border is still causing massive problems – especially for Texans who live along the border. They are being hurt by our own government who will not help. Inflation is also out of control. That hurts the poor and it hurts seniors on fixed incomes. We must fight inflation. Two things that help immediately is to support Texas energy and to address property taxes. I also believe that the mass exodus of teachers from the classroom and the lack of new teachers entering the field will only continue to be a challenge. We must support current teachers and administrators, incentivize educators to remain in the profession, and find ways to attract college students to pursue a career in this field. Teachers have been under attack mainly due to a few “bad apples” and bad policies. We need to restore faith and confidence in our parents and teachers so that our classrooms will not continue to be the battlegrounds for politics. Professional educators really just want to do a good job, help students succeed and find their passion, and feel appreciated at the end of the day. 

How is your district changing?

This is a newly defined district, but a very established and thriving community. We must support our local schools if we want to maintain educational excellence. Parents, teachers, administrators and elected officials must come together to find solutions and steps forward. We need to continue to be the place where business and innovation thrives.. We must improve the infrastructure to address the inevitable growth. Our community is constantly changing and evolving. We must make sure that change we see in our schools, business communities and neighborhoods is for the better.

What book that you’ve read has had the biggest impact on you? 

A few years ago I had the opportunity to read The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. My husband was reading it for his business and kept talking about all of the great points being made in the book. At the time I was CEO of the local chamber of commerce and felt like I always had too many balls in the air and that my overall quality of life was being impacted. It forced me to evaluate systems I had in place at work and how to work smarter, not harder. I found that much of the stress I had in my life was my own doing. I also recognized how it impacted others around me — family, coworkers, etc. I decided that I needed to be more strategic with my work and time and I found a better balance in my life. I ultimately decided to take a different career path that would allow me to be more hands on in the work that I was doing, which helped to feed my passion, achieve new goals and create a more rewarding career that re-energized me. I honestly think this book helped reset my career mindset so that I could be open to taking on a run for public office. My mindset shifted towards a goal to work towards not just improving my personal career, but to also find opportunities to incorporate more servant leadership into the work that I do and the life that I lead. 

What does the future hold for your district and for Texas? 

I am optimistic for our district and for Texas. We have just survived COVID-19, a record-breaking freeze, and the economic impact of a new European war.  With people across Texas working together to ensure the Texas miracle stays in place for decades to come, I know we have a strong future. Specific to this district, I am excited to see the redevelopment of Collin Creek and the adjacent properties. This will bring new energy into an aging area within Plano. We continue to see new businesses developing along Mapleshade and the President George Bush Turnpike. We are seeing cities implement new innovation to time traffic lights and add new turn lanes in order to ease congestion. Parks and trails in this district continue to be a priority for local governments, which has a positive impact on the quality of life for our citizens. As we look forward, I think it is more important than ever to work together, focus on the issues that have the greatest impact on our citizens and be transparent in the work that we do as government — of the people, for the people and by the people.

Local Profile will continue to release Q&A segments with politicians running for various positions in this upcoming election.