Voters Guide: Senator
SAN ANTONIO -- Voters Guide for Senator with candidates Ted Cruz (R), Beto O'Rourke (D) and Neal Dikeman (L)
Evaluate President Trump’s performance so far.
O’ROURKE: I will never allow party, politics or ideology to get in the way of doing the business of this state and of this country. I have been able to work with President Trump and his administration on a number of topics. This includes having three substantial legislative actions signed into law by him. At the same time, we must stand up to the President when he puts our character and country in jeopardy. When he attempts to destroy the norms, the civility and in some ways the very foundations of rule of law in this country. We are all accountable for what we do or fail to do at this time.
DIKEMAN: I worry less about the President's performance, than Congress'. Congress makes the laws, and the President's job is to execute them. Congress' second role is oversight over the President to make sure he does his job. For decades Congress has preferred to blame the other party, or the President, when it hasn't done its job. I'm not seeking office to get a job for life. I'm seeking office to make a difference, then go home to my girls. It's time to hold our elected officials accountable.
How do you feel about compromising with senators on the other side of the aisle?
O’ROURKE: I have always sought to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that I deliver for my constituents and for this country. In Congress, I worked with Republicans and Democrats alike to improve access to mental health care for those who served our country. By sitting down together and reaching a compromise -- by not letting the perfect become the enemy of the good -- we were able to get our bill through the House, through the Senate, and onto President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. I want that to be the Texas way.
DIKEMAN: We've done a number of campaign cartoons on this topic. When Congress is polarized, the person in the middle holds all the power to get things done. Too few Senators today are willing to cross the aisle to do the right thing, as they are too worried about fundraising and primaries in their next election. For me, this is about making an impact for Texas and America, then going back home to my business. You can see in my track record, I get things done.
What is the most important issue for Texans in 2018?
O’ROURKE: Ensuring that every single Texan can live to their full potential. That means ensuring they are able to see a doctor, afford their prescriptions, and get the care they need -- not as a function of luck or circumstance, but as a basic right. It means ensuring an economy that works for everyone, where every Texan who wants a job can find a job that pays more than a living wage. It means leading the way in rewriting our immigration laws to reflect our values and our interests. And it means ensuring that every single child can get a high-quality education and that we keep our public school dollars in our public school classrooms.
DIKEMAN: I'll pick three, the federal debt which is now at WWII levels, healthcare, where costs still spiral out of control, and are still for most Americans tied to you job, and protecting your privacy rights in a digital age.
What can you do to help change public perception that Congress is dysfunctional?
O’ROURKE: Texas needs a Senator who is willing to work with anyone, anywhere, anytime to do the work of this country. We’ve got to get past the divisiveness of party and get on with the business of our nation -- remembering that before we are Republicans or Democrats, we are Texans, we are Americans, we are human beings. If there were ever a time to demonstrate that, it is now.
DIKEMAN: That's a great question. The only way to do so is make Congress change and start listening to Americans again and start performing. We can do that by speaking up, crossing party lines, and voting for real reform, not defending bad policies, be it 17 year wars, 50 year drug wars, out of control healthcare, or overspending, on partisan lines. I met a senior citizen named Lewis at a civic association meeting. Before the speech I introduced myself to Lewis and told him that I was running for U.S. Senate. He shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, obviously considering his words carefully, “If you get into the Senate, I want you to remember” as his voice got loud ... “That’s not your chair, that’s my chair, you work for me!” He’s got it right. I want to be the politician that Lewis admires.
What aspect of your background should voters remember when they cast their ballots?
O’ROURKE: I am a member of Congress, representing the 16th Congressional district. I serve on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. I listen to my constituents rather than PACs or corporations, and I’ve spent the last six years holding monthly town hall meetings back home in El Paso where I am held accountable by those who put me in this position of public trust. During this campaign, I have traveled to each one of the 254 counties of Texas to meet with and learn from Republicans, Democrats, Independents and non-voters alike.
DIKEMAN: I'm a 6th generation Texan, and 7x tech startup founder, not a career politician. My career is about delivering, not just talking. I am running because I have 3 and 5 year old daughters, and I am not ok with our elected officials kicking the can down the road to them. I am running as a Libertarian because my values cut across party lines, and more Texans today have more in common with Libertarians than with Republicans or Democrats. It's time to send a message they don't forget. If I am elected you will get the best candidate running in office, and if not, your vote for me will send a message, and make our elected officials listen to you again. Either way, you win.
Note: No response from Ted Cruz despite repeated requests.