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Standing on Principle - Representing All of HD-7

Aug 25, 2014 @ 10:02:53

 

 

Standing on Principle - Representing All of HD-7

Since touring the South Texas border with my family in early July, I have scheduled six different opportunities to share what I learned first hand and to discuss the complex issues associated with the crisis in town hall settings across the district. I am glad for these opportunities to meet with many of you and discuss an issue of great concern to our district, our state, and our nation.
 
We can all agree that there is a problem. Because of the diversity of our knowledge, experience, priorities, and principles, we may not all agree on the particulars of how to solve it. However, good government, especially in a republic, requires a reasoned discourse between citizens and their elected officials. As a State Representative I serve House District Seven (HD-7), now comprised of Gregg and Upshur counties.
 
HD-7 now has a population of approximately 164,000. Seventy-two percent of the people live in one of its twenty-one cities of which sixty-two percent live in the four largest cities of Longview, Kilgore, White Oak, and Gilmer.
 
There are about 60,000 households. Of those, a little over 5,000 households are living in poverty. The average annual income per person is about $25,500.
 
There are fifteen school districts. Students obtaining a Bachelor’s degree or higher (19.1 percent) are slightly higher than students who did not graduate from high school (17.3 percent).
 
There are about twice as many homeowners (61.1 percent) as renters (30.1 percent) in the district. And the district is sixty-six percent Anglo, eighteen percent black, and fourteen percent Hispanic.
 
During the 2012 General Election seventy-two percent of the individuals who voted in the district voted for the Republican nominee for president, so about twenty-eight percent did not. Clearly, as a general rule, the Republican party, and myself as a Republican Representative, better reflect the beliefs and values of our district than other parties. Along with this recognition, though, as an elected official, it is my duty to serve each and every constituent in the district, not just those who honored me with their vote.
 
Regardless of income level, education status, race, age, or any other demographic characteristic, my responsibility is to listen to the opinions and concerns of constituents and to try to help them where it is appropriate, fulfilling my responsibilities under the state and federal constitutions as a state legislator.
 
In so doing I have attended and participated in community and business, religious and non-religious, partisan and non-partisan events including those hosted by Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and of course, TEA Partiers.
 
Recently I received an invitation to present my border trip report and participate in a town hall on immigration to a group who is known for its support of President Obama’s agenda. After careful consideration I decided to accept this invitation from these constituents.
 
Let there be no misunderstanding. I do not and have never supported President Obama’s agenda. I believe that many of the policies he has promoted and the actions that he has taken through executive orders are egregious violations of our U.S.  Constitution.
 
The thing I do share in common with President Obama is a group of constituents in HD-7. It is my duty to serve them in Austin and his duty to serve them in Washington.
 
I look forward to sharing with them the same ideas on securing and controlling the border, reforming our broken immigration policies and practices, supporting the rule of law, and protecting life, liberty and property in Texas that I have shared with other constituents. I also welcome and look forward to listening to their concerns and suggestions for solutions.
 
As the Proverb says, “Iron sharpens iron.” Despite our differences, we are neighbors and I count them friends from whom I can learn and whom I have been elected to serve as best I can by the grace of God.
 
We can appreciate our differences even as we stand by our principles!
 
If you would like me to present on the border situation at your group as well, please contact Sharon Guthrie in my office. She can be reached at simpsonoffice@icloud.com.

For Texas and Liberty,
David Simpson
State Representative, District 7
 

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Reasons for my Public Integrity Unit vote

Aug 19, 2014 @ 07:54:37

Since Governor Perry's indictment by a Travis County grand jury, I have received inquiries as to why I voted against an amendment that was intended to move the Public Integrity Unit (PIU) from the Travis County District Attorney's office to the Office of Attorney General. When I was first elected to the Legislature, I was advised to do the right thing and then explain it. Here is the explanation:

During the 83rd Legislature the District Attorney for Travis County was arrested for drunk driving and exhibited reprehensible behavior. In many cultures the public shame of such actions would result in an official's voluntary resignation. There is however, no mechanism for the legislature to force the resignation of a locally elected official who has lost the public's trust. That did not stop members of the legislature from trying.

Senate Bill 219, a bill which dealt with the Texas Ethics Commission and was vetoed by the Governor, presented the opportunity for a political statement through an amendment to "transfer the duties and responsibilities of the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County district attorney's office to the office of the attorney general."

The problem with the amendment was that the PIU is merely an organizational division within the office of the District Attorney. Travis County like the other 253 counties in the State, derive their authority to prosecute criminal violations from the Texas Constitution. The Attorney General has no such authority and the amendment would not have conferred it to him. Only a constitutional amendment can do so.

As written, the amendment would have charged the Texas Ethics Commission (currently accused of abusing its authority) with creating a plan to move the duties and responsibilities of the PIU from Travis County to the office of attorney general. It would have required implementation of the plan to be carried out in a matter of months without further statutory authority, thereby circumventing both the Texas Constitution and statutes. In other words, the amendment required the Commission to do what it has no authority to do.

I voted against the measure because: (1) it was unconstitutional and (2) fraught with unintended consequences.

It perplexes me that the same people who are decrying the actions of the Ethics Commission are also questioning the votes of members who opposed granting the Commission an unconstitutional task.

Beyond my vote on the amendment, although I believe the Governor's public threats were imprudent, they alone do not appear to be a crime. He was threatening a legal and constitutional action, if the District Attorney did not take a legal action-resignation. If this is ruled a crime, it will certainly dampen political debate among lawmakers.

That being said, I disagree with the Governor's decision to line-item veto the funding for the Public Integrity Unit based on the refusal of the District Attorney to resign. And while I do think that Governor Perry was completely within his authority to veto the funding, I believe the situation could have been handled differently.

The indictment of Governor Perry may appear to be vindictive and politically motivated based merely on public statements. If there is no more evidence than what is public, the indictment seems to me to be a misuse of the justice system for political purposes-much like the intent of the politically charged and unconstitutional amendment.

"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt." - Samuel Adams, Essay in The Public Advertiser, 1749

 

For Texas and Liberty,

David Simpson

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REPORT on the border! First hand account from a week tour.

Jul 17, 2014 @ 04:41:23

 

 
Following a sobering and informative one week tour of the southern Texas border with my family, I would like to invite you to a townhall to discuss the very real and difficult problem at our border.

We will have a slide presentation and report of what I saw and experienced followed by time for questions from those attending.

I look forward to seeing you! (Details below.)
 
 

IMMIGRATION TOWNHALL


Tuesday, July 22nd
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Mobberly Baptist Church (in The Bridge Building)
625 E. Loop 281, Longview


For Texas and liberty,
David Simpson
State Representative, District 7

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