People outside of my congressional district always ask me what it’s like to be running as a conservative in such a heavily blue district. The reality is District 25 isn’t as blue as people think. In fact, it encompasses a large swath of rural and suburban voters, stretching over parts of eight Texas counties. Sure, the heart of the district is the southern half of Austin, and it’s true that Austin hasn’t voted for a Republican in a presidential election since, well … I’m not sure it’s happened in my lifetime.
But even in Austin, I have a secret weapon. It’s a nine word sentence that sends shivers down the spines of independent voters and even some Democrats, contorting their face as if they just jumped into the frigid 67 degree water of our beloved Barton Springs. Those nine words are: Nancy Pelosi is third in line for the presidency.
A vote for any Democrat in U.S. Congress is a vote to keep Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House. This is the same Nancy Pelosi who said we have to pass bills before we can know what’s in them. This is the same Nancy Pelosi who said extending unemployment benefits creates jobs. And yes, this is the same Nancy Pelosi who just last week called for investigating Americans who are opposed to building the mosque at Ground Zero.
That’s not the exactly the strong defense of civil rights most Austinites expect from their elected leaders, Democrat or Republican. Should I stop to talk to one of these freedom-loving citizens, this might be a good time to remind them that our current representative, Lloyd Doggett, has voted with Speaker Pelosi 98% of the time. During his sixteen years in Washington, the national debt has increased by nearly nine trillion dollars. That makes your household’s share of money owed around $46,000. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Doggett would like to know if you prefer your tax hikes to start this year or the next.
I might also point out that a large portion of Lloyd Doggett’s three million dollar war chest was raised by entrenched special interests inside the beltway, while most of my contributions have come from individuals living in and around Austin. In essence, the race in District 25 is a choice between a working mom and a career politician. I’m a hands-on doctor and he’s a millionaire trial lawyer. Whom do you trust to make the best decisions for you, your family, and your family’s health care? Whom do you trust to restore power to the people?
Like you, I have struggled through this recession while Mr. Doggett lives a life of luxury inside the ruling class bubble. He got a pay raise while the rest of us have been tightening our belts to make ends meet. I’ve pounded the pavement looking to get the best daycare for my four-year-old daughter, I’ve shopped for bargains in the grocery aisle so I can meet the family budget, and I’ve fought bureaucratic red tape to keep a business growing. Nancy Pelosi and Lloyd Doggett are far too removed from our ordinary world to understand the frustration we feel every day as a result of their economic policies.
Austin may be liberal, but there’s a rugged and eccentric individualism that keeps folks open-minded. Sometimes too open-minded, as you’ll get when certain celebrity actors decide to play their bongo drums naked. But nonetheless, these hippies, yuppies, cowboys, techies, bohemians, entrepreneurs, artists, college students, and famous cyclists are not conformists. I think too highly of the residents of our Live Music Capital of the World to expect them to keep electing the same out-of-touch career politician over and over and over again.
And while I may not be able to win every heart in this melting pot of eccentricity, if I can keep it close in Travis County and win the rest of District 25, I’ll get the opportunity to represent these one-on-a-kind citizens, and to stick it to the political class enriching themselves on the backs of the taxpayer. If electing a doctor, mom, and ordinary citizen running for her first political office isn’t keeping Austin weird, I guess I don’t know what is.