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Helping lead the fight for liberty

"Helping lead the fight for liberty" Continued...

What have you learned about yourself, about the political process, the state of Texas, and America during your short political career. People are hungry. They’re hungry for new leaders and they’re hungry for principled conservatives. So many of us have been burned by candidates who sound good. They talk a good game. And they go to Washington and become spineless jellyfish. Why is it hard to find a conservative who has principles, who has backbone, who can also string three sentences together? That, it often seems, is in short supply. 

The pace has got to be tough on you and your family. Have we gotten to the point in politics that the pressures are so great that good people take a look at the process and decide to do something else? There are certainly sacrifices you make and the single hardest part of running for office is the impact on the family. Heidi and I have two young girls. When I walk out in the morning and Caroline, our oldest daughter, wraps her arms around my legs and says, “Don’t go, Daddy,” that breaks your heart. I spend a lot of time away from Heidi and away from the girls, but I tell you they are why I do it. I don’t want to look my girls in the eyes and tell them that their country is bankrupt. I could have done something to help save it, and I didn’t. I stayed home. I didn’t enter the fray. I didn’t enter the arena because I wasn’t willing to sacrifice what it would take. I don’t want to have that conversation with my daughters. That is a huge motivation. I think of my dad being willing to give up everything to come here to give me freedom. How could I not have that same sense of sacrifice and willingness to put it all on the line?

I know faith is a big motivator for you. You made a profession of faith at a very young age. Could you tell me about that and also about your faith journey since then? I was raised in the church and came to faith at age eight. Being a Christian and having a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior is an integral part of who I am. I think, though, that running for political office puts a particular obligation on a candidate to be very careful with how you talk about faith. Too many candidates wear their faith on their sleeve and they stand up and say, “God told me to run for office.” My view as a voter when I hear a politician say that is, “That’s great. As soon as God tells me to vote for you we’ll be on the same page.” Because I have a relationship with God, I don’t need a politician to be an intermediary.

Ronald Reagan’s faith was a very important part of who he was, but he tried to live a life so it was reflected through his life rather than just flaunting it and using it for political purposes. I think there’s an obligation to tread carefully.

As well as being a Christian in the public square, you’re also a prominent Hispanic in the public square. You’ve said Republicans do a pretty poor job of reaching out to Hispanics. You said the GOP will throw a Cinco de Mayo party and hang up a piñata and call that Hispanic outreach. What should the Republican Party be doing instead? The Hispanics are a profoundly conservative community. The values of the Hispanic community are Republican values. If you look at what resonates most profoundly, they are faith, family, hard work, patriotism. Most people don’t know that the level of military enlistment is higher among Hispanics than any other community. A friend of mine, a Hispanic entrepreneur, said to me, “Ted, when is the last time you saw a Hispanic pan handler?” Never.

Hard work, taking care of your family, faith, patriotism. Those are all conservative values. The problem Republicans have is not our values and not our policies. It’s that many candidates don’t communicate to the Hispanic community in a way that communicates respect.

What would that look like and sound like? I know very few Hispanics who are for open borders. Most members of the Hispanic community in America believe we should enforce our borders and should enforce our laws. My views on immigration are very clear. I think we need to do everything humanly possible to secure the borders. We should triple our border security and we should absolutely not adopt anything that resembles amnesty—I’m categorically opposed to amnesty.

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