BY Congressman Will Hurd,
U.S. 23rd District
The United States has lacked leadership in the areas of national defense, cybersecurity, and border security for too long, creating systemic challenges to the safety of Americans. Additionally, all too often, politicians are out of reach and out of touch with those they represent.
But my momma always told me, you are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution. So I ran for Congress.
I had two goals before I got here: to be a leader in National Security, and to become the Gold Standard for Representative-Constituent relations. These priorities were easy to identify because they have been consistent topics of concern brought up by constituents as I traveled the district. I knew I couldn’t achieve these goals alone, so I built a team of exceptional assets throughout the 23rd Congressional District and in Washington, DC to help.
We have caseworkers in San Antonio, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Socorro; two Veteran liaisons; and three experts in Homeland Security. We opened six offices, hosted 400 public meetings, and made sure my legislative work is in lock-step with the needs and challenges you have told me about either face-to-face or when you’ve contacted on of my staff. We have battled the federal bureaucracy, closing over 1,000 individual constituent cases with agencies such as Veterans Affairs and Social Security. We have responded to more than 49,000 individual constituent letters, and called over 630,000 individuals for telephone town halls. For the past 22 months, we have lived and breathed by those goals, working as a collective force to chip away at our obstacles and achieve incredible feats along the way.
With the help of my dedicated staff, I have moved ten bills through the House of Representatives. This is more bills than anyone else in my freshman class of 64 except for Rep. John Katko of New York. Five of these bills have been signed into law. For historical context, the last time a Representative of Texas 23 had a bill signed into law was the renaming of a post office in 2007, and only two of my colleagues in the entire House have had a greater number of their bills become law.
Team Hurd also plays well with others. One hundred percent of our bills that became law passed unanimously. Over two-thirds of bills we introduced have passed the House, with 100 percent passing unanimously and 80 percent having Democratic cosponsors. This takes listening, working across the aisle, and building relationships with those I don’t always agree with.
But statistics about laws are irrelevant unless they actually benefit someone. What I am most proud of is that fact that each piece of legislation has offered a pragmatic fix to real problems.
Our first law reformed Border Patrol pay to prevent upcoming cuts to overtime compensation, a measure that Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and I worked on together. The second law works to eliminate duplicative IT systems at DHS, saving taxpayers money. The third law codifies the EINSTEIN program, which protects the .gov domain from cyber hacks. Just last week the Secretary of Homeland Security said this program has already blocked over one million hacking attempts. While introduced as a stand-alone bill earlier in 2015 with my friend Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), I included language in the FAST Act that allows Texas to invest federal highway dollars in border infrastructure. My most recent bill to become law renames the Tornillo Port of Entry after Private Marcelino Serna, the most decorated World War I Veteran from Texas.
This approach of working together does not just apply to my work in Washington. Whether it is working to provide funding for the outdated and unsafe federal courthouse in San Antonio, fighting to reverse a long overdue security update from the State Department on border trade, overturning outdated energy policies, or delving into community-police relationship issues, my team sees each day as a new opportunity to work with colleagues from all parts of the country to find solutions for our problems.
We’ve worked hard to become a leader in the national security debate and to make sure that constituents have an open channel of communication with their Representative. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and inspired to continue our record.