“D.C. is a mess. It really is. But I’m glad mama Hurd’s youngest son is hard-headed and stubborn because that’s what we need in order to get things done. For me being able to fight on behalf of people that need to be fought for is awesome.”
That statement and sentiment seemed rife with sincerity as newly-seated U.S. Rep. Will Hurd addressed local community leaders at the Bank and Trust conference room Wednesday night.
Hurd has been extremely busy in his first six weeks in the nation’s capital but his presence and persistence seems to be having a beneficial effect. He has been selected to the Homeland Security committee, is the vice chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee, and is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Information Technology/Cyber Security.
Much of his instant credibility on Capitol Hill is due to his former employment as an undercover officer with the Central Intelligence Agency.
“For being only six weeks in, people recognize the value of my background and experience and I’m able to have a conversation and input on these topics that impact the community.”
His nine years in the CIA included stops in Washington D.C., India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
“Of the 435 members in congress there is no one person that has a background like mine. That’s good for the district.”
Additionally, he has retained Daniel Mezza as his point person to traverse the district and Carmen Gutierrez in Del Rio to facilitate communication between himself and his constituents.
“We want to have a macro impact and help everyone in the community.”
The straightforward Hurd, not one to dispense with politispeak or sidestep questions and concerns with conventional generalities, reported with unrepentant clarity the issues and problems facing Americans today and what is happening in D.C. to remedy them.
He discussed the drainage infrastructure at the base and how it is adversely impacting the runways and flight operations during inclement weather or heavy rainfall and how it needs to be expediently corrected.
“This facility produces more pilots than any other facility in the country and if it rains more than an inch and a half it’s flooded?” remarked Hurd. “That’s unacceptable. They briefed me on this. I went and started knocking on doors, talking to people, and we’re working on making sure that the air force has money to fix that drainage problem because it is unacceptable.”
Bringing an airline or at least an arriving and departing flight to Del Rio again is a top priority for local community leaders and Hurd indicated that he is committed to resolving the city’s commercial air transportation needs.
“We’re hopeful that American Airlines is going to redo an economic impact report and use Dallas as the model rather than Houston and also make sure that they’re including in that model the federal workers that would come back and forth because in the last model that wasn’t included. We’re engaged in that because I think it’s a great opportunity for the community and these are the types of problems that we love to fix.”
Hurd is adamant that all immigration is done legally and that enforcement of border security comes first in the equation and then visa challenges next.
“Our immigration system is broken, but it has to be fixed by congress not by the president. We need to have permanent solutions to these problems not temporary solutions, which is what the president’s overreach has done.”
President Obama’s executive orders in regard to illegal immigration were blocked by a federal judge in Brownsville this week preventing them from navigating their way through the courts.
Hurd believes in implementing incentives for people seeking to legally immigrate to the U.S. and sanctions for those who choose the illegal route. He also feels that revamping the visa system is paramount in mending the immigration problem.
“Let’s fix our broken visa system. Let’s get people here quickly. Once you deal with the border part: stopping the bad guys; deal with what’s called interior enforcement. Once you have in hand, what do you do with them. Don’t just let them go. And then deal with the visa system. That’s going to impact and fix a good majority. Then we can start working on the folks that have been here. So this is something I’m committed to doing.”
Homeland Security funding
The House has passed a $39.7 billion funding bill for Homeland Security, which has now stalled in the Senate. Included in the bill is wording that nullifies President Obama’s executive action.
“When we get back to Washington next week I think we’re going be able to find a solution so we don’t shut down DHS.”
Homeland Security operations are obviously significant to border regions and not just through the deployment of federal agents. DHS underwrites various resources that border region sheriff departments utilize in security and enforcement matters.
“Nobody thinks it’s a smart idea we should shut down Homeland Security. Especially when you have an increasingly complex threat to our country with all the things that are going on in the world. This doesn’t make sense.”
The authorized use of military force against ISIS is on the table for our legislative and executive branches of government. Threats and terror sonorously reverberating from from Syria and Irag have permeated the collective psyche of the American public.
“Some people have asked me, ‘Why not declare war?’ Well, if you actually declare war, you give the president powers to do stuff like get rid of habeas corpus so you can just arrest someone for no reason. I don’t think we want to do that. So that’s why you have this authorized use of military force.”
Hurd thinks that some type of continued force in that region is imperative to curbing or neutralizing the incessant bloodletting peril.
“ISIS in Syria and Iraq is a clear and present danger, period, to the United States. And we need to do everything we absolutely can to destroy them. Probably one of the hardest things that I will do in my job is to approve sending our men and women into harm’s way. And the president has submitted this to Congress. Both the senate and the house will be reviewing this request over the next week to make sure that our combat commanders have everything they need in order to fight this threat. I don’t think we’ll need conventional forces.”
“And I think ultimately … I think we’re going to come to some agreement on this authorized use of military force in Syria as well.”