SAN ANTONIO - Voters Guide for 23rd Congressional District with candidates Will Hurd (R), Gina Ortiz Jones (D) and Ruben Corvalan (L).
Evaluate President Trump’s performance so far.
HURD: I agree with the President where I agree and disagree where I disagree, and I’m honest about that. I support efforts to grow our economy, including cutting Washington red tape and tax cuts, and the results speak for themselves: 4% GDP growth, unemployment under 4%, and growing wages. I also continue to oppose the Iran Deal and see positive progress with North Korea. However, separating families at the border is a failed policy and building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security.
JONES: I used to work for President Trump in the Executive Office of the President, and it became clear that many brought in to work with the administration who were supposed to be public servants had no interest in actually serving the public. As someone who served our country in the Air Force and worked here and abroad in national security, I understand that we need community-minded public servants who will ask tough questions, think ahead, and fight for our future. I don’t believe this administration has enough people who are committed to doing that, and I look forward to asking those questions and fighting in Congress for our best interests. The actions that our nation takes today—in global leadership, trade, job creation, health care, immigration, and more—will still be felt decades from now across the globe. We have to be sure we’re acting accordingly.
How do you feel about compromising with representatives on the other side of the aisle?
HURD: Working with colleagues on the other side of the aisle is essential to get anything done in Washington. This district needs someone who is able to work with both sides of the political divide, as well as stand up to both sides when necessary. Our nation faces serious problems, and the only way we’re going to solve them is to work together. I have a proven record of working on a bipartisan basis, including authoring 12 bipartisan bills signed into law under both Democratic and Republican presidents.
JONES Working across the aisle to find common ground is one of the most important things we can do to ensure our democracy functions properly. Over my 14-year career in national security, I served our country in and out of uniform, and I served under three presidents. I never once asked anyone which political party they were with because it did not matter. We were focused on the mission, building the team to get it done, and holding ourselves accountable if we fell short of what we were asked to do. This is a public servant’s mindset and skill set, and I look forward to bringing both in service to this district. If someone wants to work on safer gun laws, rural health care, infrastructure, protecting Social Security and Medicare—really anything that helps working families, then I’ll work with them, regardless of their party. But, if someone is aiming to kick millions of Americans off of their health care, they’re going to have to find someone else.
What is the most important issue for Texans in 2018?
HURD: There are several issues that are particularly important to the communities in my district. One of my top priorities is to make sure everyone has the opportunity for a good paying job because every family deserves a chance at the American dream. I am proud to have voted for legislation that has cut taxes and rolled back job-killing regulations, accomplishments that are bringing more prosperity to families across my district, and I will continue to support pro-growth policies when re-elected. We also must secure the homeland. The threats to our nation are only increasing, and I’ve been able to use my experience as an undercover officer in the CIA to pass important national security legislation and make sure our military has the resources it needs to keep us safe. Border security is also important to my district, and we need to get operational control of the border and stop drug traffickers and king-pin human smugglers. Finally, we must keep the promises our nation has made to veterans and seniors and ensure that they get the health care and benefits they deserve.
JONES: Everywhere I go, what I hear about most is health care. People’s concerns fall into three buckets: they can’t afford it today, they fear they won’t be able to afford it tomorrow, or they physically can’t get to it. I’m committed to ensuring everyone has access to affordable, quality health care. It is simply un-American for people to live in fear that they’re one medical emergency away from bankruptcy. We cannot leave our rural communities behind, and I’m committed to investing in the infrastructure, technology, and personnel to ensure our rural communities are no longer medically underserved. We must protect Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and I will block Republican attempts to privatize the Veterans Health Administration, which serves so many veterans in TX-23. Our current representative takes campaign contributions from big pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies, and then votes to give those companies billions in tax cuts, while prescription costs rise. He also votes to deny people with pre-existing conditions access to health care. We need to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and increase access to quality, affordable health care—these are things I will fight for in Congress.
What can you do to help change public perception that Congress is dysfunctional?
HURD: The best thing I can do to show the public that we’re getting things done in Washington is to keep working hard on the important issues facing our country. As one of the only effective members of Congress, I’m going to continue doing my job to pass legislation and address problems constituents bring to my office if re-elected.
JONES: Congress is dysfunctional largely because the people who are sent there aren’t working together, representing their communities, or being a voice for their constituents. When it comes down to it, elected office is about public service. I chose to run for Congress because I see it as a continuation of my time as a public servant, working for the betterment of our nation, regardless of party. I am endorsed by a cross-partisan group called With Honor that supports veterans from both parties who are willing to work together in Congress. To combat dysfunction, I will be a straightforward voice for my district and work across party lines to get things done. I will always keep our community’s priorities at the forefront of everything I do, I will always fight for our best interests, and I will work with anyone who is willing to do the same.
What aspect of your background should 23rd District voters remember when they cast their ballots?
HURD: I have proven that I represent all people - those who voted for me and those who didn’t. As your representative, I’ve helped thousands of constituents because I’ve made it a priority to provide the gold standard in constituent services. I have spent almost my entire adult life in public service, first as an undercover officer in the CIA during the War on Terror and now as a member of Congress. I have used my experience in national security and cybersecurity to become a leader on these issues in Washington and pass legislation to secure the homeland. If re-elected, I will continue to fight on your behalf in Washington.
JONES: I want voters to remember that I am a U.S. Air Force and Iraq War veteran who grew up in San Antonio. I’m committed to protecting the opportunities that allowed me to grow up healthy, get an education, and serve our country. I do not support closing military bases. I know how important they are for our national security and our economy. Beyond my record of public service, my own personal experiences have shaped why I think it’s so important we invest in the next generation of Americans. I was raised by a single mother, and for a time relied on reduced school lunch and subsidized housing. Those investments allowed me to earn a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship to attend college after graduating from John Jay High School. I wrapped up my 14-year career in national security working in the Executive Office of the President advising on national and economic security issues. If voters remember one thing about me, it should be that I am so grateful to this community and our country for giving me an opportunity to succeed, and I am so ready to fight for that same opportunity for all kids in our district, state, and nation.
Note: Corvalan said he is not active and is serving as a placeholder.