Tag Archives: Van Taylor

Rep. Taylor is feeling the pain a little more deeply

I spoke by phone today with U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, the newly elected congressman from Texas’s Third Congressional District.

Taylor is a young freshman Republican in the People’s House. He didn’t say so directly, but I am sensing a deep personal pain in the wake of the El Paso massacre that erupted over the weekend, mere hours before another gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine victims. Twenty-two people died at the hands of a lunatic who allegedly traveled more than 600 miles to El Paso to do harm to “as many Mexicans as possible.”

Why is Taylor feeling so much pain? The alleged shooter is a constituent of the congressman.

The alleged gunman graduated from Plano High School. He had lived with his grandparents in Allen, which is right next door to Plano.

Rep. Taylor told me that the act of one individual shouldn’t tar an entire community. He spoke to me today of the standard of living in Plano, how it ranks highly among cities of comparable size in any study one can name. It has a stellar per-capita income, along with the education level of its residents, he said.

One man’s moronic outburst doesn’t tar the community. That’s what I heard Van Taylor say this morning.

He hasn’t visited El Paso in the wake of the massacre. I am not sure when he’ll go. Taylor did tell me he has spoken with El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, with whom he served briefly in the Texas Legislature.

I ended up telling Taylor that I was “in your corner.” I am pulling for him and his colleagues as they seek answers to this dual-track tragedy. I only intend to demand them to explore deeply any possible avenue they can to curb this gun-violence insanity.

Indeed, I believe this young man is hurting.

From our heartbreak, seeing signs of hope

Our hearts are broken across the land as we ponder what happened within hours of each other in two communities, in El Paso and Dayton.

Moronic madmen opened fire on innocent victims. Twenty-two of them died in El Paso, nine in Dayton; dozens more were injured. Police arrested a young man in El Paso and will charge him with multiple counts of capital murder; the cops gunned down the Dayton killer.

We grieve as a nation.

There might be a glimmer of hope arising from our sorrow. How does it present itself?

It might be occurring on the twin-track debate that has commenced.

We’re talking simultaneously about measures we might be able to enact to tighten control of gun purchasing and ownership. No, I’m not talking about watering down the Second Amendment. I stand with those who support the amendment’s guarantee that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

There must be a legislative remedy that withstands constitutional scrutiny. Congress hasn’t acted on it. It refuses. Donald Trump won’t take up that cudgel. The gun lobby continues to throw around its weight in the halls of power.

I am not going to join those who want Congress to return immediately from its recess to enact such legislation. Lawmakers will return and then they get to work. I want them to listen to their constituents’ concerns.

Indeed, just this morning, my congressman, freshman Republican Van Taylor, was visiting with constituents here in Princeton, where I am absolutely certain he heard from those who are concerned about the gun violence that keeps erupting around the country. He needs to keep his ears open as he travels through the Third Congressional District of Texas during his time away from Capitol Hill.

The second track is equally important. It deals with the hateful rhetoric we are hearing from politicians, namely from the top! Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric must end. He won’t acknowledge the role his statements have played in the spasm of violence. The El Paso shooter apparently acted out of hatred for Mexican immigrants. Much of a screed published just minutes before he opened fire at the Wal-Mart complex mirrors the rhetoric that Donald Trump has bellowed at campaign rallies since before he became president.

We must continue to have this debate, too, even as we enter a presidential election year.

Many of us had hoped that the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre would engender a long-standing debate. Many of those students became articulate spokesmen and women for the cause of gun reform. Their voices have faded into the background.

Now comes the latest chorus. The debate runs along dual tracks: gun violence and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

I want the debate to continue for as long as it takes, even as we seek to mend our broken hearts.

New congressman disappoints on racist tweet resolution

I had the pleasure of meeting recently with my new congressman, Van Taylor, a Plano Republican.

I found him to be an earnest young man, a serious legislator, someone keenly interested in building bipartisan relationships with his Democratic colleagues.

That makes it all the more disappointing to know that the freshman lawmaker choked on a resolution condemning Donald Trump for his racist-sounding tweets involving four Democratic congresswomen, all people of color, all U.S. citizens … and all of whom Trump said should go back to their country of origin. Oh, wait! Three of them were born in the United States!

Taylor didn’t join the four Republican House members who decided to put country ahead of the president and his party. I just wish Rep. Taylor had acted more decisively on the danger being posed by a president who says the things he does about House members who disagree with him politically.

Trump’s Twitter tirade against Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were clearly in my view dripping with racist intent. The House was correct to condemn the president for issuing them.

I just wanted there to be more of a bipartisan voice in that chorus of condemnation. I especially expected better of my congressman.

House condemns Trump’s racist tweets … what happens now?

This is no surprise in the least.

The U.S. House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, has voted along most party lines to condemn Donald Trump’s racist tweets aimed at four progressive Democratic members of the House.

All the Democrats voted for the resolution. Four Republicans joined them. The rest of the GOP caucus stood with the president. I am sorry to say that my congressman, Van Taylor of Plano, stood with Trump and his idiotic notion that the Democrats — all of whom are U.S. citizens and three of whom were born in the United States — could return to their country of origin.

Oh, the racism element? They’re all women of color. One of them hails from Somalia, but she moved here when she was 12 years of age.

All of the women were duly elected to the House in 2018. They all have left an immediate imprint on the body. Sure, I have grown impatient at a couple of them. Rep. Rashida Tlaib used some profane language about impeaching the president even before she took office; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the most ubiquitous freshman member of the House in my recent memory.

But they do not deserve to be treated with such racist rhetoric by the president of the United States.

My question now is this: What happens with this condemnation?

Trump won’t give a damn about it. His Republican allies in Congress won’t care, either, as they have followed virtually in lockstep with a president who brought zero political history with him to the White House. Yet the GOP remains loyal to this guy? The reasons for that fealty boggle my mind.

I am not going use this blog to declare that Donald Trump is a racist. I am going to endorse the House resolution that declares that his Twitter tirade against four member of Congress was racist to its core. Of that there can be no doubt.

Why do congressional Republicans, with so frighteningly few exceptions, fail to recognize what most of the rest of us understand?

My congressman is being seen more than heard

I had a chance to visit for a few minutes this week with my new congressman, a young man named Van Taylor. He’s a Republican, a former Marine and a former Texas state legislator from Plano.

I have no clue on Earth what kind of lawmaker he will become as he represents Texas’s Third Congressional District. However, I want to say something positive about the style he has adopted while settling in to his new responsibilities writing federal law.

He’s been quiet. One does not see Van Taylor on TV during every news cycle. Why? I reckon he wants to earn his spurs before he stands before the media to pontificate about this or that public policy matter. He says he prefers trying to build bipartisan bridges, working quietly across the aisle with Democrats.

I will concede a couple of points about Taylor.

First, he succeeds a legendary congressman, Sam Johnson, the former Air Force pilot who had the back fortune of being shot down during the Vietnam War and was held captive for seven years in the Hanoi Hilton; he spent most of his confinement in solitary quarters. It would be terribly bad form, therefore, for young Rep. Taylor to hog the spotlight while serving under the enormous shadow of the man he followed into the House of Representatives.

Second, he is a member of the minority party in the House. Democrats took control of the body after the 2018 midterm election. That means in many cases, Republicans’ voices aren’t as, oh, meaningful as those that come from Democratic throats.

Make no mistake, the Democratic majority has its boatload of media blowhards. They’re all rookie lawmakers, too. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is everywhere, it seems. There’s also Rashida Tlaib of Minnesota, Katie Porter of California and, I don’t know, maybe a dozen or more of them out there.

My representatives is taking a much more respectful approach to working his way into the limelight, if he ever gets to that point.

I just prefer the newbies in the House and Senate to earn their place before swallowing up all that air time and newsprint.

You’re off to a good start, Rep. Taylor.

Rep. Taylor wants to get along

I am quite certain that when U.S. Rep. Van Taylor finishes his time in Congress that he will have earned high marks from conservative watchdog groups and political action organizations.

That’s fine. It’s who he is. He also seems to be demonstrating an attitude that’s been missing in the halls of Congress for, oh, several decades. He wants to forge friendships, alliances and partnerships with his colleagues across the aisle.

That’s right. This conservative freshman Republican wants to work with Democrats.

Taylor came to the McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club this morning to make the case that “Congress is broken” and that it needs a few healing hands to repair it. The young man from Plano just might be what the doctor has ordered.

I was impressed with a small gesture he extended to someone who asked him a question, while addressing Taylor as “Congressman,” to which Taylor said, “You can call me ‘Van.’ I work for you. I am the employee here.” He took office just in January, succeeding a living legend in the House, Sam Johnson, also of Plano. More on Johnson in a moment.

The idea that Congress is broken isn’t exactly a “news flash,” Taylor said. “I am trying to build relationships with Democrats. Most bills I sponsor are bipartisan bills,” he said.

Taylor honed his bipartisan leanings serving in the Texas Senate, where he worked prior to being elected to the U.S. House. So he knows about certain rules that promote bipartisanship, such as the Texas Senate’s two-thirds rule that requires at least 20 members to consider legislation on the Senate floor.

He told us this morning that “the proudest day of my time in the Senate was when I got to introduce my congressman,” Rep. Johnson, whose story of heroism during the Vietnam War is legendary, to his  Senate colleagues. He was held captive as a prisoner of war for seven years in the “Hanoi Hilton,” after being shot down and was kept in solitary confinement for four of those horrific years.

Indeed, Taylor’s own military experience commends him well to serve in Congress. He was a Marine Corps intelligence officer. He was on active duty and was planning to leave the Marines while touring the Pentagon, a place he said he had never visited.

Then he watched the Pentagon burn on 9/11. He returned home to North Texas, served in the Marine Corps Reserves and was called up in January 2003 as the nation was preparing to go to war in Iraq. Taylor then served a year in Iraq after the shooting started in March 2003.

So, this newcomer to the Big Show wants to do well. He wants to get things done. He knows the system on Capitol Hill is in bad shape. It needs repair. Taylor acknowledges that Texas congressional Republicans meet regularly with each other, but also wants to further the outreach to include Texas congressional Democrats.

I wish Van well in his search for common ground.

My congressman wants to know what matters to me? Here goes!

U.S. Rep. Van Taylor has asked his constituents directly to answer the question: What issues matter the most to you?

He lists border security, health care, the economy, education, other. I’ll stick with “other” for the time being.

I want my congressman, a new guy on Capitol Hill, to look critically at the conduct of the president of the United States. I want him to assess whether it’s all right for a president to say he’ll “look at” information that might come to him from a foreign power that has negative “research” material on a political opponent.

I want Rep. Taylor to stop cowering under the shadow of Donald Trump. I want him to show some courage in standing up to him.

Donald Trump is encouraging his staff to ignore the law. He is flouting legal authority. He is seeking to usurp congressional powers away from the legislative branch of government that is trying to perform its oversight responsibility as it is prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. 

I want my congressman, a Republican from Plano, to look the president in the eye and tell Trump that he must not get away these efforts to hold himself above the rule of law.

Taylor succeeded a legendary figure in Congress. Former Rep. Sam Johnson, also a Republican, had been to hell and back as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. He was held captive for more than six years.

Rep. Taylor also is a veteran and I honor his service as a Marine infantry officer during the Iraq War.

So, his reticence so far to criticize the president cannot be a product of fear. It comes from some other source that I cannot identify.

Whatever it is, I want Rep. Taylor to toss it aside and stand up for what is right and stand against a president who has disgraced his office and — as many of us have concluded in recent days — is putting this country’s democratic electoral process in dire danger.

Thanks for asking for my opinion, Rep. Taylor.

Rep. Taylor quietly earns his stripes in Congress

The media and political pundits have become enamored of the flash and sizzle of a few Democratic rookie members of Congress this year. I refer, for example, to Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, both of whom attained instant celebrity status partly because of their big mouths and radical points of view.

The young man who represents my congressional district, Texas’s Third District, meanwhile has done something quite different in his first term in the House of Representatives.

Republican Van Taylor has quietly been working with Democrats, crossing the aisle, learning the ropes without making headlines.

I kind of wondered what has become of him since he took office in January. Now I know, according to a Dallas Morning News article.

The Morning News reports that Taylor, from Plano, is trying to govern on Capitol Hill the way he did as a Texas legislator. He has drawn praise from some of those dreaded Democrats who like the way he reaches out. Imagine that, if you can.

He is seeking to become a sort of “Mr. Bipartisan” as he navigates his way around the legislative maze.

Good for him.

I like that the new congressman is a veteran. He served for a decade in the Marine Corps, seeing duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, he succeeded a legendary congressman, fellow Republican Sam Johnson, who endured hideous torture as a Vietnam War prisoner for more than six years. So the Third Congressional District is being well-represented by another veteran with an understanding of the dangers of sending men and women into harm’s way.

As the Morning News reports, Taylor said military personnel “don’t get to pick your commanders,” nor do you ask what political party your comrades in arms belong to. You just do your job, he said.

So it should be in the halls of the nation’s Capitol.

If only the leaders on both sides of the aisle — and the leader in the White House — would follow Rep. Taylor’s advice.

Is this what my congressman hoped for?

Welcome to Washington, D.C., Van Taylor, the place that defines political dysfunction.

Taylor, a Republican, is my shiny new congressman, representing the Third Congressional District of Texas. He succeeds a legendary North Texas pol, Sam Johnson, a fellow Republican and a former Vietnam War prisoner — and  man I still hope to meet one day.

I like that Taylor is one of the many veterans who were elected to Congress this year. He is a former Marine who saw combat during the Iraq War.

Taylor came to the Congress after serving in the Texas Senate, a body that functions a whole lot more efficiently than its congressional counterpart.

He’s now working in a government that is partially shut down. The Democrats who run the House that Taylor has joined don’t want to spend public money to build The Wall; the president insists on it. He says he’s prepared to keep part of the government shut down for as long as it takes until he gets money for the wall.

I am hoping Van Taylor is ready for the sideshow that he has joined.

Taylor, by the way, says he stands for increased border security. His policy statement on the issue posted on his website doesn’t mention The Wall specifically. However, given that I understand that Taylor is considered to be one of the more conservative members of the House, he well might stand with Donald Trump on getting money for The Wall.

OK, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s been quiet, unlike some of his Democratic colleagues who’ve been whoopin’ and hollerin’ over their newly re-found majority status.

Indeed, my new congressman is going to have to get used to serving in the minority, which is something he didn’t experience during his time in the Texas Senate.

Welcome to the loony bin, Rep. Taylor.