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ERIN SHank

CANDIDATE FOR TEXAS HOUSE DISTRICT 56

I'm running for the Texas House because I believe we need an experienced leader that is invested in our community. A leader that is energized and ready to get the job done. Someone that will listen and fight for the concerns and needs of our community in the Texas House. I'm running to put the power where it belongs: in the hands of the people of McLennan County. All I need is your vote!

A small business owner ready to find long term solutions to permanently lower property taxes.

An experienced attorney that will work across the aisle to revise our immigration laws to address and find real solutions to the political and humanitarian crisis on our Southern border.

A former teacher that will be a staunch advocate for public education, will work to fully fund our local schools and fight against the harmful voucher scam.

A citizen concerned with climate change that will work to create a stable energy system, find solutions to help lower our rising utility bills, and face the reality of the impact extreme temperatures and weather are having on our community and state.

A mom of a disabled child ready to fight to ensure that Texans living with a disability receive the same rights, protections, and freedoms as everyone else.

A leader that is energized, invested in our community, and ready to serve the residents of McLennan County in the Texas House of Representatives.

meet eriN

Erin is a former teacher, wife of a veteran, a mom of three, a disability advocate, and a small business owner. After finishing law school, she became a bankruptcy attorney and has helped more than 6,000 Central Texans over the past 40 years during some of the most difficult times in their lives. She knows how to listen to folks, understand their issues, and then fight for them in Court.


Erin is running for the Texas House because she believes we need a leader that is invested in our community. A leader that is energized and ready to get the job done. 

 

Erin will work to permanently lower our property taxes and bring our tax dollars back to McLennan County.
She will fight to fully fund our public schools and fight against the harmful voucher scam. 


Erin believes that Texans living with a disability receive the same rights, protections, and freedoms as everyone else.


She will also focus on creating an energy system that can support the ninth largest economy in the world and help lower rising utility bills as Texans face the reality of climate change and the impact extreme temperatures and weather are having on our community and state.

 

Like all Texans, Erin sees regular news reports of the political and humanitarian crisis on our Southern border. She will work across the aisle to revise our immigration laws to address the need to find real solutions to both secure our border and deal with the immigrants that approach our border every day.


Erin lives in Waco, Texas with her husband, John, and daughter, Rachel. She has two sons, Paul and Billy, and has served Central Texans as a bankruptcy lawyer for 40 years. She maintains two small businesses and is an actively involved citizen in multiple organizations across McLennan County. 

Meet Erin

erin on the ISSUES

  • Reproductive Healthcare
    I am a woman, a mother, a former IVF patient, a pregnant mom who refused an abortion when warned that she might be carrying a disabled child, and an advocate for my disabled daughter. It is time we take seriously the state of women’s health care in Texas. Pregnancy and childbirth is a beautiful thing… a gift from God. However, many times a pregnancy can have serious medical complications that can lead to death or serious illness of the mother or fetus. Texas law provides that doctors and medical staff who assist pregnant mothers in medical crises can face life imprisonment, a $100,000 fine and loss of their medical license. Anyone who helps a pregnant woman in a crisis can also be sued for $10,000. Pregnant women are therefore being denied medical treatment and much needed advice because of these hateful laws. If we want to stop abortions, we need to look at ways to educate our girls on what causes pregnancy and how to prevent it. My mother taught me these important facts when I was in elementary school decades ago. We teach our girls how to drive, how to add, how to read - but we do a terrible job in teaching them how to become a mother at the right time and with the right person. Republicans want to ban all abortions. Democrats want to restore Roe v. Wade. Due to the terrible gerrymandering of voting districts in Texas, our state government is dominated by Republicans who have promised in the next legislative session to propose even more restrictions on women’s reproductive health choices. However, in McLennan County we need to elect a woman - a woman who has walked in these shoes - who at a very minimum will push for exceptions for the life of a woman, the health of a woman, rape and incest. As Rachel’s mother, I will also advocate for an exception from these hateful laws for disabled girls.
  • Immigration & Border Security
    It is absolutely vital that we have strong security at our border. Additionally, we have a political and humanitarian crisis on our Southern border. There is only one way to fix this crisis. Republicans and Democrats must come together and fix our broken immigration laws. Our immigration laws have not been revised and amended since Ronald Regan was President and we are therefore trying to dig ourselves out of a hole with a broken shovel. It is simply not working. This is unacceptable. Several of our U.S. and State Representatives, many of whom represent our Texas border communities, have rolled up their sleeves and have begun drafting revisions to our Immigration laws that modernize our laws and enable them to address our current border crisis. I applaud them and look forward to working with them as we make these much needed modernization revisions to our immigration laws. Without question, it will take Republicans and Democrats working together to get these laws passed. We must stop electing politicians who just like to fight about the problem and not work to fix it. I support all types of physical and technological efforts to make our border safe and will support legislation designed to give us the best and most advanced technological border security. We must also provide more immigration judges and court personnel to process legitimate asylum claims and alleviate the tremendous backlog of pending cases in our immigration courts. The vast majority of those seeking entry into this country are coming here to work. However, under our current system they are not allowed to work while their immigration status is being adjudicated in our immigration court system. I support our local businesses who are literally begging for workers to take jobs that Americans are not taking - jobs in dairies, farms, food production plants and construction sites - by expanding the number of temporary work visas for those whose claims have been legally processed, are in the U.S. legally and are simply awaiting their immigration judge to rule on their case. I want to roll my sleeves up and work with legislators, on both our state and federal level - especially those who live in and represent our border communities - to come up with common sense, bi-partisian solutions to finally address this political and humanitarian crisis.
  • Bringing Our Tax Dollars Back
    In this post-pandemic world we are all feeling the impact of the rising costs for groceries, gas, and housing in our pocketbooks. We need a leader that will bring our hard-earned tax dollars back to McLennan County. We deserve someone who will listen to our community to understand in greater detail what our district needs from Austin, and then fight for those needs in the Texas House of Representatives. I understand that when elected our Representative must listen to the needs of our community, all of our community, at the Texas Capitol. I have been representing Central Texans as a practicing attorney for 40 years and I am ready to take my decades of experience to represent you in the Texas House of Representatives.
  • Public Education
    As the product of Texas public schools, I know that I’m the successful attorney that I am today because of the many teachers and professors that poured their heart and knowledge into me. As a former teacher, I understand the challenges and rewards our Texas teachers experience day in and day out. Our Texas public schools are molding our next generation. Ninety five percent of the youth in McLennan County are educated in our public schools. Yet Texas, with all its great wealth and prosperity, ranks 45th in the nation in school funding and teacher pay. We must fully fund our public school districts so they can provide teachers with much overdue and needed pay raises, be able to fully staff their schools, purchase the equipment and technology they need, provide special education support to our students with disabilities, and so much more. Our children are relying on us to get this right and we cannot let them down. School vouchers will de-fund our already underfunded public schools and push them deeper into crisis management forcing them to cut more staff and programs from our public schools. Other states that have adopted voucher systems have shown that the vast majority of these tax dollars go to reduce private school tuition for students who already attend private schools. We cannot take funds away from our public schools and school teachers when they are already hurting and struggling to meet our children’s needs. As your representative, I will author and vote for legislation that supports our public schools, students and teachers. I will fight to fund our schools and provide our teachers with a permanent pay raise. I will push to diversify our tax system by legalizing gambling to allow for more funds to be poured into our public school. I believe there are real, common sense solutions that can solve this issue and I will be a staunch advocate for our public schools.
  • Healthcare
    Our local health care system is in crisis and needs to be resuscitated immediately. Booking an appointment with a physician is becoming increasingly more difficult and too many healthcare facilities have been forced to close. McLennan County is now listed as a community with a healthcare professional shortage by the Health Resources and Services Administration and Texas ranks dead last in mental health funding. And yet, Texas representatives have continuously voted against expanding Medicaid. This refusal means that we are missing out on $8 billion a year of our hard earned tax dollars, which are sent to the federal government each year, because they are not returned to Texas. Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest, Ascension Providence and Waco Family Medicine have all specifically requested that a vote to expand Medicaid. Yet our state government has repeatedly and stubbornly refused to allow us access to those dollars which are now being given to the other states that have expanded Medicaid. The future of our healthcare is literally dependent upon McLennan County electing a Democrat to represent us in the Texas House of Representatives. As your State Representative, I will listen to our three local hospitals, and our doctors and health care providers, and vote FOR the expansion of Medicaid.
  • Energy & Climate Change
    On February 15, 2021, an estimated 700 Texans died in the winter storm. Decades before that terrible, preventable tragedy, the Texas House and Senate were warned that a catastrophic storm of this size would cause our electrical grid to fail. However, our legislators in Austin ignored the warnings and voted against weatherizing our electrical grid. This last session of the legislature, by all reports, the Texas Legislature did not sufficiently invest in weatherizing our systems to prevent another catastrophe and voted to push the financial cost of the February electrical freeze on us, by increasing the costs of our electricity bills each month. This is simply inexcusable. McLennan County deserves a leader who will fight to ensure that when our next climate catastrophe occurs, we are ready and that Texans will not freeze to death because of inaction in the Texas legislature. Texas is the top producer in the country for wind, oil, natural gas, and renewable energy, and the second largest producer of solar power. With so many energy sources available, the state of Texas should not have to operate on a weak and inefficient power grid. The 2021 winter storm that plunged our state into a freeze, left us out in the cold and took the lives of our fellow Texans proved that our grid is unreliable. We need solutions and we have a variety of resources that can help us create sustainable and reliable energy for all Texans. The extreme heat we all experience this summer will only get worse as climate change takes its hold on our world. We need solutions and we need them now! As your state representative, I will work to pass legislation that will create a more reliable power grid that is supported with multiple energy sources, including oil, natural gas, solar, and wind. I believe we can create a system that can support the ninth largest economy in the world and help lower our rising utility bills.
  • The Rights of Women & Children
    Gender inequality has deepened across the country since the Covid pandemic. Today, we continue to witness violence against women, a dismantling of reproductive health services, and the failure to help children living in the Texas foster care system. McLennan County deserves an advocate who will address structural policy change to ensure women and children find full recovery and economic security. To address gender inequality in McLennan County, I will work to raise awareness of the issues and the policies that perpetuate them. I will advocate for increased funding for programs that provide education, job training and child care for women, so that they can access economic opportunities and improve their financial security. I will also work to strengthen the foster care system in the county by partnering with local organizations to create a network of support for foster youth. I will push for legislation that supports women's access to healthcare services, so that women can make informed decisions about their health and future. Finally, I will fight for stronger laws to prevent and punish violence against women, so that everyone in the county can live in a safe and secure environment.
  • Advocating for the Rights of the Disabled
    My husband and I are the proud parents of three children. Our youngest child, Rachel, has Down Syndrome and Epilepsy. After being Rachel’s mom for the past 25 years, I now see the world through the eyes of a disabled child. Texas does not have an advocate in the Texas House for the disabled. I want to be that advocate. I will work with the disabled community to craft supporting and empowering legislation for the disabled. However, my experience as Rachel’s mom will enable me to see the impact of all legislation on the disabled community and fight against harmful legislation. For instance, in both of the past legislative sessions bills have been passed that make it harder for members of the disabled community to vote. These bills were passed without one drop of evidence that disabled individuals cheat when they vote. This is shameful and I will fight against harmful legislation such as these laws. I have fought for Rachel through years of government red tape and throughout her 64 hospital admissions. I am ready to take that fight to Austin to represent this community, including our precious disabled community, in the Texas House of Representatives.
Issues

VIDEOS

The following videos are from Erin’s 2024 and 2022 campaigns for Texas House District 56.

Campaign Videos

LATEST news

Issues
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