SAN ANTONIO - Voters Guide for 21st Congressional District with candidates Chip Roy (R), Jospeh Kopser (D) and Lee Santos (L)
Evaluate President Trump’s performance so far.
ROY: The past 21 months have been marked by a number of significant policy and structural advancements for the American people. An aggressive and unprecedented regulatory relief effort for American businesses and households as well as a bill providing significant tax relief has helped provide a jolt to the economy – resulting in record low joblessness and 4%+ economic growth. We’ve seen significant resources focused on our military, and strengthening of our position abroad, most notably sending a strong message by moving our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in Israel. And importantly, we’ve confirmed 2 highly qualified Justices to the Supreme Court, at least 26 judges to circuit courts, and numerous others to district courts. However, much remains to accomplish. The border has still not been secured, high healthcare costs due to federal interference in healthcare continues to harm Texans and all Americans, and our national debt continues to increase and jeopardize our children and grandchildren's future. This must change.
KOPSER: There are issues where I agree with President Trump -- the fact that we’re facing an opioid crisis, for example. But his style and conduct are not befitting of the office of the Commander in Chief. While some people excuse his conduct, I believe his divisive conduct is doing more harm than good.
SANTOS: I will rate President Trumps performance as an F- so far. I would give him a lower score it there was one. He has done nothing but divide the country into racists versus non-racists in my opinion. He has succeeded in exposing those individuals who will blindly follow him no matter how absurd he seems. He has managed to completely destroy the Republican Party and caused many of us former Republicans to find a different party. Which I did as soon as he won the election.
How do you feel about compromising with representatives on the other side of the aisle?
ROY: I am happy to work with anyone, regardless of party, and have done so in the past on multiple levels. The key is that we work together toward the interests of the people I seek to represent and do so within the appropriate limits of federal policy-making.
KOPSER: It’s vital that we work together across the aisle to improve the state of our politics and come up with real solutions that will move our country forward. Voters are sick and tired of cronyism and hyper-partisanship; they’re ready for Representatives who are willing to cross party lines and stand up to leadership.
SANTOS: I will happily compromise on both sides of the aisle as long as those compromises eliminate useless and wasteful government spending and don’t compromise our freedom as individuals and ONLY provide MORE freedoms, NOT LESS!
What is the most important issue for Texans in 2018?
ROY: Prosperity and security. The Texans I talk to every day want a strong national defense with a clear mission, sufficient resources, and care at home – and they desperately want border security and immigration reform. Texas families want relief from the high costs of healthcare due to Washington mandates, insurance subsidies, and the bureaucrats that continue to harm them. They want a balanced budget and an end to the absurd deficit spending that has caused $21 trillion in debt. But from a larger perspective, it's about keeping Texas prosperous and free and defending who we are as Texans. Texas has been leading the nation in job-creation and economic growth. It remains the beating heart of liberty in our republic. People are fleeing high-tax, high-regulation progressive states like California and moving to Texas for greater opportunity, jobs, and liberty. Texans seek the opportunity to remind people outside of our state why we're the 10th largest economy in the world, why the Texas model has been so successful, and why we cherish our Texas values.
KOPSER: We need a real jobs act that gets at education and workforce development. More and more jobs require some form of higher education or specialized training, but at the same time these programs are only becoming more expensive. We need to overhaul our jobs training while protecting our public schools to ensure that every one of Texas’ 5 million kids has the same opportunity to succeed.
SANTOS: The most important issue facing Texans at the moment is to legalize marijuana immediately and stop allowing the drug cartels to make all the money that WE should be making here in Texas. We cannot outspend them and innocent people are STILL being sent to jail every day for victimless crimes while simultaneously denying people access to the medicine that they need.
What can you do to help change public perception that Congress is dysfunctional?
ROY: By focusing Congress on the few things it is supposed to do, and then deescalating politics by allowing us to agree to disagree, leaving most decision-making to the states and the people. By doing this, we can cool the passions that emanate from attempting to foist a one-size-fits-all approach for 330 million people on every issue from a distant city on the east coast. We need to embrace federalism and let Texas be Texas and California be California, and be content that our differences don't have to divide us but rather can help unite us under our shared ideals and a model for all to follow. Moreover, it is critical that Congress work for us again, and remember that in large part it has become dysfunctional due to the bipartisan marriage of big government and big business that aims to protect their own interests at the expense of everyone else.
KOPSER: First, we need to face the facts -- Congress IS dysfunctional, and it has been for many years. The first thing I want to do if elected is find whatever bar the other party hangs out in and go sit down and have a beer. If we don’t have civil relationships and get to know each other, there’s no way we’ll be able to work together functionally. Labels are wearing thin in this country, and the politics of division isn’t working for Texas. We need to break out of our tribes and work together again.
SANTOS: I don’t take any money for my campaign from anyone, not corporate OR from individuals at all. The reason I don’t is because I can’t be sure of the origins of the money or their motives for contributing. I believe when politicians accept donations, they are bought and paid for by the organizations or individuals who made the donations and they will bend to their will when it comes to making important decisions. Because I DON’T take donations, I listen to NOBODY except the voters!
What aspect of your background should 21st District voters remember when they cast their ballots?
ROY: I have been blessed with a diverse background in both the private and public sectors. Notably, my service as a federal prosecutor and the 1st Assistant Attorney General demonstrate my focus on fighting for the security of all Texans – whether it was combatting gang violence, drug trafficking, or human trafficking, to name a few.. But I'm most proud to be a husband to my incredible wife, a father to my two children, and that my family came here in 1851. My family is the Texas story – my great, great grandfather was a Texas Ranger in 1870’s Texas, my grandmother was the first woman county clerk in Nolan County, Texas persevering as a single mom raising my polio-stricken father, who was the first to go to college. They fought to live the American dream – and that served as a model for me when I fought and defeated cancer and endured the challenges that life sometimes throws our way. I hope that's what people ultimately remember when they cast their ballots. I've walked the walk and I will run the race for them just as I've done for my own family given my God-given talents to the best of my ability.
KOPSER: On the campaign trail, I like to emphasize my 20 years in the Army and my experience starting a business here in our district. But if I had to choose one thing, it would be my family. I’m proud to have raised three daughters, who are now going out into the world at 18, 20, and 23, with my wife Amy. I’ve spent my life and career solving problems, and I couldn’t be prouder to see Keaton, Hadley, and Piper doing the same.
SANTOS: I have managed to only use FREE resources available to me all year to promote myself and my campaign. My background as a car dealer and repair shop owner for 20 years has taught me how to save and MAKE money as opposed to my opponents who are good at raising money and spending it. It’s frightening to me to trust them with my open wallet! I’m thrifty and crafty and don’t like wasting money unnecessarily. I’m EXACTLY the kind of person you want in charge of spending YOUR money !