United States Congressman Lamar Smith was in the City of Blanco on Monday, October 15, where he met with Mayor Chuck Homan and dropped in at the offices of Blanco County News. Representative Smith agreed to answer some questions for the newspaper:
Blanco News: “How do you feel about the Constitution of the United States?”
Congressman Smith: “I believe the Constitution of the United States of America is a sacrosanct document. As Chairman of the Congressional Judiciary Committee, it is my sworn responsibility to guard the Constitution and to enforce it as the Founders intended. I bought an autographed picture of James Madison and it hangs in my office. It is there to remind me how important that document that he was instrumental in creating is to the American people.”
Blanco News: “What are your thoughts on traditional marriage versus marriage as seen by those who want to re-define marriage and the family?”
Congressman Smith: “I support traditional marriage and the laws that were enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. Unfortunately, they are not being enforced by this administration. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Blanco News: “How do you interpret the Second Amendment to the Constitution in relation to the right of citizens to keep and bear arms?”
Congressman Smith: “I believe the Amendment applies to individuals and that citizens have the right to be armed. I am a life member of the National Rifle Association and I have a 100% rating with that organization. In my second term in Congress I was given an award for helping to defeat proposed gun control legislation.”
Blanco News: “What are you doing to secure our borders?”
Congressman Smith: “I have served as Chairman of the Immigration Sub-Committee. In 2006 we made it easier to remove those who are here illegally and return them to their countries of origin. Right now only 40% of our southern border can be said to be under our operational control. Those charged with protecting our borders have failed to keep their oaths of office. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has refused to give us lists of those who have committed crimes against our citizens while here illegally but who have been released from custody into our communities.”
Blanco News: “Was the United States’ response to the attacks on U.S. property and the murders of our diplomats on September 11 an adequate response?”
Congressman Smith: “Well, the good news is that due in large part to the efforts of our CIA and FBI we haven’t experienced another attack since then. The Middle East is more dangerous now than ever before. It is ruled by individuals who care nothing for civilization. Iran is amassing materials in order to produce nuclear weapons and vows to wipe our ally, Israel, off the map. Our country is also threatened by new kinds of high tech attacks. Cyber attacks by the enemies of this country are a serious threat to our well-being as a nation.
Blanco News: “How important to you are U.S.- Israel relations?”
Congressman Smith: “The present administration has not treated Israel as they should have. Israel is our only reliable ally in the Middle East. Their very survival is threatened especially by Iran’s nuclear program. During the vice presidential debates Vice President Biden laughed at Congressman Ryan regarding Iran acquiring nuclear capabilities as if the administration was not concerned about it. Israel is surrounded by countries that want to do them harm.”
Blanco News: “What are some of the most asked questions you get as you travel around the state and country?”
Congressman Smith: “Probably the most asked questions deal with the economy and deficits. Because of the uncertainty out there about the economy, there is uncertainty for the future. You have to understand that in this country we borrow 40 cents on every dollar we spend. No family, business or government can long survive doing that. In the House of Representatives we are trying to pass a constitutional amendment requiring the government to balance the budget but we came up 20 votes short of the required two-thirds majority. It is my goal on the Judicial Committee to be the guardian of the constitution, to create jobs, to get our economic books in order and to reduce deficit spending.
“Next come questions about national security followed by illegal immigration. It is imperative that we secure our borders.”
Later, on Monday afternoon, Congressman Smith was the featured speaker at the Blanco County Republican Party meeting that was held in the Courthouse Annex in Johnson City. An opening prayer and pledges of allegiance to the flags of the United States and Texas were offered by George Stearns and Daniel Callahan.
Elected public officials were introduced to the audience by Dr. Ann Hall, Chairman of the Blanco County Republican Party. They included District Judge Alan Garrett, District Attorney Sonny McAfee, County Attorney David Hall, Tax-Assessor-Collector Hollis Boatright, Sheriff Bob Morgan, County Commissioner Pct.2 James Sultemeier, County Commissioner Pct. 3 Chris Liesmann, Constable Pct.1 Larry Haley, and Constable Pct.4 Ty Grenwelge.
The various precinct chairpersons were introduced including Alan Cooper, Pct. 102; Dave Hill, Pct. 201; George Stearns, Pct. 302; Robert Burgess, Pct. 303; Janet Wise, Pct. 304; and Penny Conn, Pct. 401.
During the business part of the meeting it was decided to transfer monies from the Republican Club bank account to the account of the Blanco County Republican Party. This was necessary because the Republican Club is no longer active.
Republican Congressman Lamar Smith represents District 21 that takes in parts of Bexar and Travis Counties, and all of Blanco, Bandera, Comal, Kendall, Kerr, and Real Counties.