Houston, Texas –
In the race to secure the Republican nomination for Texas Congressional District 2, two candidates made a promise. Lieutenant Commander (medically-retired) Navy SEAL Daniel Crenshaw and one-term State Legislator Kevin Roberts pledged to nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Berry to run a clean race…free of political rhetoric and attacks on each other.
As a groundswell of support for Crenshaw washes over the Houston area, due to local grassroots campaigning, it appears that Roberts has forgotten his promise to the constituents of TX CD2. While Crenshaw is on the streets of the District, speaking to the people; hosting meet-and-greets; and proving that he is listening to the people he wishes to represent, Roberts has turned to the age-old political strategy of running down his opponent.
As a combat-decorated veteran of the first Gulf War, you would think that this is the paragraph where I throw down the “Veteran Card” and launch into a diatribe of “He is attacking a Veteran…” and “How DARE he say such things about a hero.” Well…I am beyond that. Crenshaw’s record speaks loudly for itself. Dan served…served for 10 years and lost an eye in an IED blast. My readers have heard his story and how he is the recipient of the Bronze Star for Valor and a Purple Heart; how he recovered from his injuries and continued to serve for two more tours overseas; how he gained important experience in National Security. After being medically retired, he secured a Master’s Degree in Public Administration to learn how our government works. In doing so, he worked on Capitol Hill, putting his education to use in a real-world Congressional job. Daniel Crenshaw doesn’t need my vote just because he is a Veteran. Crenshaw EARNED my vote because of his experience. As an experienced and informed voter that has been voting since 1985, I research the candidates that are asking to be my representatives.
Full disclosure: I was intrigued when I saw that a Navy SEAL with an eye patch was running to replace my Congressman. That got him in the door for an interview, not an automatic vote.
After looking at the other 8 Republican candidates (to include an Army Veteran with a Ranger Tab), and then spending a few hours interviewing Crenshaw over sushi and Chicken Teriyaki (Dan had the chicken because a SEAL eating sushi was too much like a seal eating raw fish…cliche at worst and too humorous for an initial interview at best), I decided to research this candidate further. And I made my choice.
I went and shot guns with Crenshaw. He had a fundraiser to meet his constituents by offering to have Navy SEALs instruct donors on how to shoot. I followed Crenshaw as he ran 100 miles across TX CD2 in five days. I followed him on my motorcycle…running is for the younger crowd. I listened to him speak at meet-and-greet functions. In all of that, I watched regular people…the people who lived in the District…begin to take notice of a leader. I watched not only the veteran community get behind Crenshaw, but the rest of the people in TX CD2 start to notice. And they VOTED. Then I spoke with the boss, reported my findings, and Gruntworks agreed to endorse Daniel Crenshaw.
On Primary Election night, I hung out with Dan at his “watch party” and waited for the election results. In Texas, if a race with more than two candidates takes place, and no candidate receives a clear majority, the top two vote recipients go to a runoff. Everyone knew that in a slate of 9 candidates, it was almost a statistical impossibility to secure a majority…so we waited. At the beginning of the evening, Crenshaw was in third place behind Roberts and another candidate (one who spent nearly 6 million dollars of her own money on the race). At 2am the next morning, Crenshaw had won the most votes on Election Day (38%)…edging out the second-place candidate by 155 votes. Due to write-in and early voting, Roberts remained in first place in the total vote count, securing the lead spot by a few thousand votes.
The real work began after the Primary…heading into the Run-off election on May 22nd. Both candidates spoke on a radio show syndicated nationally, with a local morning program in Houston. Deep in the heart of Texas Congressional District 2, Both Crenshaw and Roberts made a pledge to run a clean race, refraining from attacking their opponents and sticking to the issues at hand. The issues at hand are national-level issues: border security, national defense, Social Security, a balanced budget, and infrastructure development.
On Dan Crenshaw’s website, www.crenshawforcongress.com there are pages upon pages of issues and policies that he has written. Roberts took a sentence from Crenshaw’s policy on Social Security and mistakenly interpreted his words into a “raise on taxes”.
One sentence…out of pages of policy. One sentence. This was the first attack. However, informed constituents realized that Roberts was attacking a tenet of the Republican Platform; to move a portion of Social Security to the private sector. In a one-page website started by the Roberts campaign, he deigns to ‘interpret’ what Crenshaw says for the people.
Next, Roberts claimed that supporters of Crenshaw had torn down several of his campaign signs. Without proof, and with an employee of the law firm that Roberts manages becoming a ‘witness’, Roberts personally posted a picture of a suspiciously windblown-looking sign with vague descriptions from a property owner. There were no photos of the suspect vehicle; no pictures of a licence plate; no video of the angry property owner confronting the rogue sign slayer. In the years of social media, World Star, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter…no video evidence; just baseless accusations.
And the attacks continue. Roberts compares his ‘legislative experience’ as the manager of a Democrat family law firm to the experiences of Crenshaw as a Navy SEAL. Again, Crenshaw’s veteran status is not the only reason he is qualified. It is his military experiences in foreign affairs, national security, and working on Capitol Hill that counts.
The video that I was sent today is the final reason that I am writing this Op/Ed today. In it, Roberts once again mansplains that experience matters, that he has lived here for 17 years (big deal…I have lived here for 23 years, after a break of 10 in the Army, and 7 years before that…and I don’t feel the need to announce that I am qualified to run for Congress). He implies that 10 years of service as a Navy SEAL disqualifies Crenshaw from knowing about the District that he lives in. Roberts mistakenly continues on listing what Crenshaw is not qualified to do, instead of listing the scant qualifications that Roberts has. As a one-term Texas Legislator (144 days behind a desk in Austin, to include a special session) Roberts thinks that this qualifies him to understand Federal policy and the workings of the United States House of Representatives. Crenshaw actually worked on Capitol Hill; Crenshaw worked in the field of Intelligence and National Security during his stint as a SEAL; Crenshaw has years of experience and education in Federal Government.
But judge for yourself. Here is the video of a politician explaining to constituents of TX CD2 whom to not vote for. In this video, Kevin Roberts states that “words mean things”. He should listen carefully to what he says.
Final thoughts from an old soldier: Research, watch, listen, and make an INFORMED decision. If you want to run for office, be honorable and keep your promises. Most important…vote for the most qualified person.
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