Early voting in Texas began Tuesday. The Houstonian reached out to Congressman Kevin Brady for his take on the election, his goals for the 8th Congressional District, voter turnout and more.
H: On the first day of early voting in Texas, what are your thoughts on your campaign so far? What do you want voters to know about you and your campaign?
B: Representing Texas’ 8th congressional district is an honor. I understand that my Oath of Office is a sacred bond between me and the people of our region. That is why I have always worked to strengthen our national security, harden our borders to stop illegal immigration, and protect our Constitutional rights from an out-of-control federal government. Every two years I interview to again be the voice of our area and continue my efforts to deliver conservative solutions. The folks in the 8th Congressional district know I’m a pro-family conservative who never moved to Washington and holds more than 50 town hall meetings a year so they can hold me accountable.
H: What is your vision for the 8th Congressional District?
B: Our district represents the best of Texas and is an example of how pro-growth, limited government policies can help create opportunities for our hard-working families. Now that have I earned the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, I am leading the U.S. House of Representatives effort to fix our broken, unfair and complex tax code that is holding our communities and families back. Our tax code is a disaster that punishes hard work, investment and growth. I am aiming to bring about wholesale change to our tax code as well as utterly replacing ObamaCare with more patient-centered, free market solutions so our small businesses are no longer harmed by their destructive social engineering policy.
H: How would Sam Houston State University and SHSU’s students benefit from you being their representative in Congress? How much interaction does a congressman have with the university?
B: My wife is a Bearkat, so I have a close connection with Sam. As a parent who is saving for colleges I’m proud that one of my first accomplishments as chairman of the Ways & Means Committee was to make permanent the help we give parents and students through the American Opportunity tax credit that makes college more affordable for working families. I love holding town hall meetings on campus. I’ve held several as well as spoken to government classes and at SHSU events. I’ve worked closely with the Presidents of the University to bring a Regional Lab to our area and help wherever the university needs me. Some of my best staff members have a Bearkat pedigree and some of my staff’s kids are now Bearkats. The ties run deep.
H: Hundreds of Bearkats registered to vote during campus voter drivers this January, however, our generation is notoriously complacent and turn out to vote in remarkably low numbers…why is it important for students (and all Millennials for that matter) to go out and vote?
B: It’s important because every big challenge our nation faces is about you, our next generation of Americans. It has never been more important for young people to get out and voice their opinions. After all, the debt this President has added is on your credit card. There are so many national issues that our future leaders follow from national security to government’s role in their lives. Our office also welcomes interns from Sam who are interested in working on policy issues.
H: On Feb 13, you released a statement on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. However, in your statement you made no mention of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s and other GOP Senators currently refusing to consider a Supreme Court Nominee under the Obama presidency. What is your opinion on GOP Senators’ decision?
B: The choice of the next justice could change the direction of America, so it should not be made by a lame-duck president but the next president. That way voters can weigh in on the choice, too, not just the Senate. It’s been decades since a Supreme Court justice nomination process occurred in an election year. This is a polarizing time and many people rightfully understand our nation is facing a Constitutional crisis. Whether or not the Senate chooses to hold hearings on a possible nominee from the president, I would simply urge them to hold the line and not accept another liberal Obama justice from ascending to the Supreme Court.
H: The intensive media coverage surrounding this year’s Republican presidential primary has a lot of students intrigued and heading to the polls this March 1. Could you please comment on the current presidential race? What are your thoughts about “outsiders” like fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz and how they’re affecting the GOP Party?
B: It’s really a race between a lot of young, new Republican faces and the tired old ideas of the other party’s candidates. It is exciting to see so many new faces and new ideas in the party and they have brought energy to the race. Regardless of who our ultimate nominee is, I will be joining with millions of other Republicans who want fresh new ideas. We need a new conservative leader who is capable of working to bring about the reforms desperately needed to change the trajectory of America.
H: Fellow House District 8 candidate Craig McMichael has claimed that you have “betrayed the interests” of citizens in the Congressional 8th. Would you like to comment? In your opinion, what are interests of our district’s residents?
B: All of my opponents have been rejected by the voters, multiple times. It’s not because they are terrible candidates, it’s that they don’t have the proven conservative record to fight back against the outdated, destructive agenda of liberals in Washington. They don’t have the backbone to take the tough votes to fund our military in their war against terrorism, secure the border, cut taxes or fight for Texas energy workers. Like too many in Washington they have their finger stuck in the air, trying to figure out which way the political winds are blowing before they take a position. That’s what’s wrong with Washington. Voters know I’ll take the tough votes to get this country on track, whether it’s popular or not.
H: The Texas Patriots PAC, that supports fellow candidate Steve Toth, has repeatedly labeled you as part of the “Washington Cartel,” and has made your government spending record one of their platform campaign issues. Would you like to comment on these accusations that you serve the interests of the Washington establishment and their spending habits?
B: That opponent was recently rejected by voters in favor of a more conservative state senator. That’s because he betrayed their conservative values as a state representative, and was essentially chased from office. As for me, with a 95% lifetime conservative voting record and a 100% lifetime pro-life voting record, I’m the only candidate in the race endorsed by National Right to Life and Texas Right to Life, as well as the National Rifle Association for my defense of the Second Amendment. The national conservative group, Tea Party Nation, as well as the influential Kingwood Tea Party and Texas Conservative Tea Party Coalition are backing me for re-election. The Kingwood Tea Party, which backs Senator Ted Cruz for President, said I’m their conservative ally and replacing me with a first term representative would be a ‘grievous handicap’ to the conservative president they are working to elect.
H: With the field of criminal justice playing an influential role in Walker County with the TDCJ headquarters and state prisons, and SHSU’s nationally-recognized Criminal Justice program, many of your constituents here are particularly interested in matters of Criminal Justice Reform: do you support Texas Senator John Cornyn’s Criminal Justice reform legislation which would cut some sentences and ease re-entry after prison?
B: I’ve been focused on a simpler tax code, fixing our broken welfare system and replacing ObamaCare with free market solutions. Our senior senator was a Texas Appellate and Supreme Court Justice so this is an issue he is well versed in. I’ll study his recommendations.