A Conversation With Elva Curl

by | Aug 18, 2022 | 2022 Elections, Democratic Party, Texas Legislature

The Signal recently spoke with Elva Curl, who is running for House District 112 in North Texas. Curl has worked for the City of Dallas in the City Manager’s Office, Public Works and Transportation, and the Department of Aviation. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Thank you for speaking with us. I know it’s so busy out there on the campaign trail. And congratulations on getting your little ones off to school.

Thank you. Oh my gosh, at the very last minute we needed outfits for first day of school.

I used to do that all the time with my parents. We wanted to check in and see how the campaign was going. A lot of folks are dropping kids off for school. It’s coming at a time when the legislature did not do anything after what happened at Uvalde, how does that make you feel?

Well, it’s very upsetting. You want to let them know that it’s safe to go to school, but at the same time, you have that worry that they are not going to be safe. When they ask you, are we doing everything that we can to make sure that we’re safe and you think about a governor who has refused to call a special session? He was very [eager] to call a special session to make it harder for us to vote and to make it harder to access healthcare, but he was very quiet and silent about protecting our children from gun violence. It’s disheartening as a parent and someone who is running for office. You want to always know that your legislators are working for you, and they have your best interest in mind and I just don’t see that happening at the moment.

You’re running in one of the last two Dallas County seats that is still Republican. How are you feeling? We’re in that last stretch now. What are your potential constituents talking about?

We’re very excited. We have about three months left to go. We’ve been working hard since January [with canvassing]. A lot of people want to talk about their rights that were taken away. That they’re not going to get to access an abortion if they need it for their health. They talk about how they don’t feel safe going to the store, sending their kids to school. And they are very fully aware of my opponent’s voting record. She has consistently voted against our safety, against accessing healthcare. And they’re not happy about it at all. We have a group of dedicated volunteers who have been boots on the ground talking to people. It’s amazing to be able to talk to the voters and let them know that they have a choice in November. They can go with someone who will always vote how the Republican party in Austin tells them to vote, or they can vote for someone that will listen to them and vote for them based on their values in House District 112.

You have a strong background in civic engagement, but what made you decide to take the plunge and run for office?

I just didn’t want to sit in the back seat anymore. I saw my daughters, and I thought about all of the rights that I had growing up and how they are slowly being chipped away. And my girls deserve better than that. They deserve to have a clean, pristine environment. They deserve to have access to all the healthcare that they need. They deserve to have fully funded public schools that are safe. After thirty years of Republican rule in Texas, we just haven’t seen that. The Dallas area has been in the non-attainment for air pollution for decades and the state is not interested in trying to make our lives better. I want to be one more voice in Austin that speaks up and says this is not right. We can do better as a state and that’s why I’m running.

We are less than three months from the election, and there’s been a lot of confrontations with candidates out there. A lot of it coming from Republican extremists, have you experienced anything like that?

I’ve been knocking on doors all around the district and I’ve only had a couple of people tell me that they hated me.

That’s not bad!

I think people in House District 112 are willing to listen and I’m very appreciative of that. I think they know deep down in their hearts that things are not going as well as they could go. I’m Texas born and raised. And we always tell ourselves Texas is the best state in the nation. But we’re last place in education, we have the most uninsured, we have constant incidents of gun violence where dozens of people have been killed. We know deep down in our hearts; that we could be doing better. I’ve gone to Fourth of July events, Cinco de Mayo events, and people would come up to me and say ‘I’m a Republican, but I’m worried.’ I’m worried about what’s happening in Texas. It’s almost like a confessional. And I always tell them your vote is private. When you are in your polling place, you are alone with your conscience and do what you think is right. I’m here to listen to them and talk to them, and I always tell folks they call me. I’m here to answer any questions you have. Everyone has a choice in November, and let’s just make the right one.  

You mentioned abortion previously, that’s come up with other candidates we’ve talked to a lot. How has that experience been discussing with voters?

It’s been very eye-opening for a lot of people when they talk to me about it. And I speak about abortion as a mother and I had two very high risk pregnancies where my life was in danger. And when your first pregnant, you go to see your OB and they start talking to you about viability and they start talking about getting as far as you can in your pregnancy. And it’s life changing because you want this child so much and you would do anything to bring this child into the world. And that was my choice. But with abortion now, it being illegal in Texas for the most part, we are forcing that choice on people who may not want it. We are forcing people to go through this terrible health crisis. Because for me it was a crisis. I almost died after my second pregnancy. My blood pressure was spiking. They were going to give me magnesium because they were worried I was going to have a stroke. We have taken that choice away from people. I went into both pregnancies knowing I was putting my health on the line. I made that choice. Greg Abbott didn’t force that choice on me. My husband was the one holding my hand, not my house rep. We are forcing that on people now and I think that’s a mistake. Government should be in existence to provide people freedom to live their lives and not tell them to think or how to live their lives.

I mean, forced birth is already cruel. But when you compound that with the fact that in Texas hasn’t expanded Medicaid and our very high rate of maternal mortality, that becomes even scarier.

There are so many counties without even a doctor. Some people have to drive two hours to go to an emergency room. In my first pregnancy I had preeclampsia. And I was at work and everything was fine and then I got really dizzy, and I was rushed to the emergency room. It was super fast and I was there for the entire day. I was grateful I lived in Dallas. I would have probably died if I lived anywhere else in Texas. We’re going force people to have babies and the state abandons them after the baby is born. They want to reduce food stamps, they don’t want to pay out unemployment. Last year Rep. Rose tried to pass the Medicaid for new mothers to expand it to one year, and they only decided to expand it for six months. People know what the Republican leadership has done, and they’re not falling for it anymore.

Are there any specific policies that you would like to champion if you get elected?

Gosh, there’s so many. I can think of twenty-five things that we need to focus on. We need to focus on making voting as easy as we can. Government should make our lives easy and convenient. They shouldn’t stand in the way of making it harder to vote, making it harder to update your driver’s license. People have been sleeping outside the DMV at three a.m. so they can be first in line. That’s ridiculous! It’s very frustrating that it got to this point. I would agree with Beto that we need to focus on public schools, making sure they are fully funded and protected. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to all these policies that are harmful that Republicans are talking about. So I guess I would say public schools, protecting voting, and access to abortion and women’s healthcare.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

We need all hands on deck for November. We need everyone to come out and vote. The future of the state is on the line. We need to try and have more voices in Austin who are sane and will listen to the people instead of their donors.

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A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).

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