Never mind what the Democratic or Republican parties need. What Texas Congressional District 27, which stretches from Corpus Christi to the southeast outskirts of Austin, needs is a representative who can use government to see to the district’s needs, and who will put district ahead of party.
This race is the most important and potentially the most transformative on the ballot for the voters of District 27. The holder of that office has, or should have, a much more direct effect on the well-being of our part of Texas than a governor, lieutenant governor or U.S. senator, three offices also on the ballot. It’s a transformative race because four-term incumbent Blake Farenthold is out.
The 27th district has been declared unconstitutional because it was gerrymandered to an extreme to protect Farenthold and negate Hispanic Democrats’ voting strength. Perhaps Democrats wouldn’t have objected so strenuously if Farenthold had been less cartoonishly partisan and more inclusive toward and representative of Democrats in general and Hispanics in particular. He also was ineffective in the most important aspect of the position — seeing to district-specific bread-and-butter needs such as hurricane relief, port development in both Corpus Christi and Victoria, protection and enhancement of the district’s military assets, and water supply.
Both Democrats and Republicans have an opportunity to upgrade the district’s representation. Democrat Eric Holguin and Republican Bech Bruun are the best-equipped by experience and temperament to use the power of the federal government to address the district’s various local needs, and to represent all of District 27’s residents, not just the true believers in one party or the other.
Bruun, a Corpus Christi native, has been working in government in Austin since graduating from the University of Texas, most recently in the appointed position of chairman of the Texas Water Development Board. His familiarity working with government agencies should make him instantly useful in D.C. He is one of two Republican candidates of the six in the primary with a noticeable, noteworthy campaign apparatus at his disposal, the other being former Victoria County GOP Chair Michael Cloud, whose presence in Corpus Christi impressed us.
Bruun is by far the more confident speaker, better able to articulate his positions, which trend pragmatic rather than dogmatic. This could be to Cloud’s advantage in a low-turnout primary but it is not in the district’s best interest. When it comes to articulating a position, both Bruun and Cloud could learn a thing or two from Eddie Gassman of Corpus Christi about speaking with fearless conviction. He’s a breath of fresh air, but he’s also pretty much his entire visible means of support. A candidate’s campaign machine is a demonstration of his or her capability, and only Bruun and Cloud have what could be called a campaign apparatus.
Bruun’s list of endorsements is overwhelming — Energy Secretary/former Gov. Rick Perry; U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin; state reps. Dennis Bonnen, R-Matagorda County, and John Cyrier, R-Lockhart; county judges Burt Mills (Aransas) and Loyd Neal (Nueces); sheriffs Jim Kaelin (Nueces) and Frank D. “Skipper” Osborne (Matagorda); and Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb.
“There are a number of different aspects to immigration policy that I think need to be updated and addressed. I would prefer and it would be my hope that the Congress can take this up as more of an omnibus as opposed to dividing the issues up.” Rachel Denny Clow/Caller-TImes
In style, substance and commitment to infrastructure-infrastructure-infrastructure, both Bruun and Holguin would be opposite of the representation that the district has been getting since 2011 from Farenthold, who appeared to devote most of his limited energy to being seen or heard on cable television embarrassing his constituents with outlandishly extreme partisan drivel. One result of that is the Port of Corpus Christi embarking on what could be a self-funded deepening and widening of the ship channel. Federal funding for that project is a top priority of both candidates we’re endorsing.
If these two win the nominations, they’ll give voters a clear choice in political philosophies in November. For example, Holguin declares health care a right, not a privilege, and Bruun wants it to be a market-driven service with less government interference. But while they’re different people with deep philosophical differences, they strike us as two people who could work together for the betterment of our district. In Holguin and Bruun, voters of both parties have the opportunity to send Washington what it and District 27 need and don’t have.