Tuesday, April 23, 2024

‘We need to get back to being American’

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams speaks at chamber luncheon

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The Granbury Chamber of Commerce welcomed special guest speaker, U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, to the Lake Granbury Conference Center for its Leaders in Government luncheon Feb. 9.

Williams represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas, which stretches from Tarrant County in the east to Callahan County in the west. Williams was raised in the Fort Worth area and attended Texas Christian University, where he was an All-Southwest Conference baseball player and named to TCU’s All-Decade Team for the 1960s.

According to the Granbury Chamber of Commerce, Williams is one of the few business owners in Congress and understands first-hand the effects of increased taxes, government regulation and bureaucracy that hurt small businesses and economic growth. He stays focused on issues ranging from government deregulation, fiscal conservatism, helping struggling businesses recover from the government-mandated COVID-19 lockdowns and more. As a legislator, he continues to prioritize his seven pillars: lower taxes, less governance, cutting spending, defending our borders, listening to your generals, understanding the 10th Amendment and always standing with Israel.

Moderated by Granbury Chamber of Commerce President Brian Bondy, Williams was asked to delve deep into pressing topics that are currently affecting the nation.

WASHINGTON UPDATE

To kick off the Q&A, Bondy first asked Williams to give the public his “30,000-foot view” of what’s currently going on in Washington, D.C.

“Let me start out by saying, Washington’s a mess — and I don’t have to hide that from you,” Williams said.

He explained he has now been in Congress for almost 14 years and had never thought about running for election. However, as a businessman, he realized many people weren’t keeping their word when they got elected, which spurred him to run for Congress in 2010.

"I jumped in with 13 people and had a pro-business message,” he said. “I was the only businessperson out of the 13. I had a pro-business entrepreneurial message. I had a smile on my face. I had solutions. I didn't bash anybody, and I'll be doggone if I didn't win, so it's been a heck of a journey for the last 13 years.”

Williams is chairman of the small business committee, has been on the banking committee and is the senior Texan on the financial services committee.

He argued that the problem with Washington, D.C. is that the city is “driven by anger,” because there aren’t any “business people,” as they are the ones who are going to “win the communities back.”

"That's what we do,” he said. “The status of Washington is not going to change until we have an election, and we're very much divided, and both parties are divided within themselves . . . I'll just tell you this, we have got to remember this always: If America is not the strongest country in the world, spiritually, economically and militarily, this world will implode, and I'm here to tell you the world's imploding right now because our enemies don't fear us, our friends don't trust us, and we have an attack on Main Street America like we've never seen before.”

Williams said in order to bring the economy back to how it was, taxes and regulations need to be cut and competition needs to be created.

He added that the “government has had their chance,” and we need to “give people a chance.”

"We have got to strengthen our military, we have got to have the presence to tell people, ‘If you mess with us, you got a problem,’ and we need to get back to being American,” Williams said.

BORDER SECURITY

On the topic of border security and illegal drugs, Williams said the border is the “single biggest issue” we have in America.

He said when he served as secretary of state under Gov. Rick Perry, one of his charges was overseeing the border. He explained that the border is “worse today than it was yesterday,” and that the border “is going to be worse tomorrow than it is today.”

"If you go down there, it'll make you so mad, you can spit,” Williams said. “You can't see it on TV, but the wall is broken down. People are running by you. It's like a movie or something that has no intermission.”

Williams argued that the borders need to be defended and the United States military needs to make the drug dealers “go away.” He also said the number of illegal immigrants who are coming into the U.S. totals not 10 million, but 20 million.

"They're sick, they're hungry, they don't know the language and they're not here to help America. That's just the bottom line,” he said. “The drug dealers are running the whole show. They get their fentanyl from China, China sells to Mexico, Mexico sells to (the U.S.) and we go kill generations of kids, and we're just letting this happen. The military needs to go down and take care of the drug dealers, and we need to build a wall because it works.”

Williams explained that the U.S. previously had a “remain in Mexico” policy that required migrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico until their U.S. immigration court date. The policy was originally implemented in January 2019 by former President Donald Trump but was later ended by the Biden administration.

He added he has a “real problem” with people who try to come to America illegally, adding that it’s the most “serious crisis we have.”

“We’ve got to address it, we’ve got to demand from our elected officials, like myself, that we do something about it,” he concluded.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE ORDERS

Bondy asked Williams his opinion about the federal government enforcing orders that remove Congress from its lawmaking abilities.

Williams said there are currently more than 100 executive orders, adding that this means presidents “just make up laws.” He added that Republicans have only a one-vote margin in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“It's hard to get things passed, but Congress needs to take a look at these presidential orders and pass legislation to do away with them as opposed to signing things that are not in the best benefit for our country,” he said.

COVID-19 EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT

Bondy explained that Congress passed the Employee Retention Credit, where many eligible businesses and tax-exempt organizations had been applying for the refundable tax credit following the impact from COVID-19. However, the Internal Revenue Service placed a hold on the funds last year following concerns about aggressive ERC marketing from tax professionals. He asked Williams what Congress can do to remove the IRS from this situation.

Williams responded he isn’t sure Congress can do a lot, but that the easiest way is to pass and make sure the Trump tax cuts “continue to pass for 2025.” He added there are two tax cuts Congress needs to keep: 100 % expensing and interest deductibility.

"The argument you run across on both sides is COVID's over with, so I want to focus on tax cuts and keeping the tax cuts out there that came in with Trump and just open up the opportunity for more money, more availability in real dollars for mainstream America,” he said. “That may not be the answer you want to hear, but it's the real answer. I'm just one guy. But I think the way to do it long term and get back on is to cut taxes and cut regulations.”

STRENGTHENING MILITARY

Regarding the topic of military strengthening, Williams argued that veterans are the ones who need “free stuff, not these illegals coming in.” He said the U.S. has the “greatest military in the world,” and the “greatest generation” is currently at Fort Hood (recently renamed Fort Cavazos). Williams argued we need to “pay these young men and women what they need to be paid,” while also ensuring they have enough weapons.

Another interesting aspect, Williams added, is how young men and women are not wanting to enlist in the military now. He said 50% of enlisted soldiers do not have a driver’s license or have social skills, like writing a letter or pulling a chair out for a lady. He added that 75% of enlisted soldiers do not have any responsibility or discipline.

"What they're saying is, now we have a different soldier, where instead of six months being ready, it's gonna take longer, like a year,” Williams said. “That's kind of what we've done when we created this woke world that we want to live in, and the world's not going to make that strong America. So our military, we need to pray for these people every single day. We need more money in the military, we need to have the greatest weapons in the military, and we just need to be the superpower in the world.”

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Bondy asked Williams to explain how Texas is an oil and gas country, and yet the U.S. is being told electric vehicles may be a requirement in the future.

Williams said he has been a car dealer for 52 years and his family has been in the business since 1939. He said he is an expert when it comes to the car business and explained that electric vehicles are the “biggest ripoff of the American people since COVID.”

"Electric vehicles (EVs) are not a market. It's a phony market. It's a lie that's being perpetrated by a small group of people,” he said. “Back in 2015, the three: Ford, Chrysler, GM, they got woke, and they got scared, and they went and bought into this — and that's the worst thing they can do.”

He explained he is not against EVs, but he’s against the government telling the citizens what to buy. Williams said in the future, the electric vehicle charging stations will be covered in graffiti and won’t work anymore.

“EV vehicles are phony. They're not real. You can't get them insured. Have you seen if the battery goes haywire, the whole car is totaled out? So insurance companies don't want to insure them," he said. “Let's have electric vehicles, but let's compete for them and let you decide rather than having the government tell us what to do.”

AUDIENCE QUESTIONS

Finally, Bondy opened the forum to allow audience members to ask questions. One resident heard a large percentage of military-aged Chinese and Russians are coming across the border. She asked Williams if Congress has investigated that issue.

Williams responded by saying the audience member was correct, but that Congress has “no clue” who’s coming across the border. He said people have been coming from Russia, China, Yemen and Iran.

"They're not coming over here for seasonal work. They're coming over here to kill this country,” he said. “And all these people that are coming in there — in the 20 million I talked about — you think they’re leaving here? They're not leaving here. Every time you see a train derailed, I'm telling you, that's their practicing for one day in this country when our guard is down.”

He added one situation that is heartbreaking is when kids between the ages of 4 and 13 are near the border and are only given an apple, a bottle of water and cellophane to sleep on. He added that when you talk to the kids, they have two phone numbers in their pockets — one for a drug dealer and one for a sex trafficker. He explained that when they get to America, they are told to call these numbers.

"We have now been pended in America as the largest sex trafficking country in the world, all because we're not defending borders, all because we're not defending sovereignty, because the world still relies on us,” Williams said. “I believe the world is begging for America to get our house in order, and that's what we have to do."

The last question focused on voter integrity to ensure that every American’s vote counts and Williams was asked if he could address the issue.

Williams responded by saying the audience member had a legitimate concern. He said when he was secretary of state under Perry, he handled all the election laws in Texas. He said in doing that, he learned how cheating is possible and added that “there’s a lot of that going on.”

"This election is going to be pretty wild, and we’ve got to make sure that every vote counts,” he said. “The problem is that when the Founding Fathers decided they were gonna set up elections, they gave the power to the states. I would say we don't have a problem here in Texas, but I voted against — and got a lot of grief over — accepting the Electoral College on this 2020 election, because in Pennsylvania, they cheated so both sides are going to have to be aware. We got to make sure every vote counts.”

He added that locally, the public will have to elect people in the state government who will do what the law of the land says.

"One of the fallouts from this part of the political world we live in is nobody wants to get into politics, so what you get is bad people in politics, not good people in politics,” Williams said. “But in Texas, there is no worry, and if you remember, I think the vote was in by 10 o'clock. We knew who won Texas. But we didn't have pipes breaking. It's a real concern. Everybody's on top of it. But the people have to make sure they elect people to do what they're told to do. No question about it. Every vote needs to count.”

VOTING

Early voting for the March primary will begin Tuesday, Feb. 20 and will continue through Friday, March 5 at the Annex 1 Meeting Room, 1410 W. Pearl St.

The early voting schedule is listed below:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 20 through Friday, Feb. 23: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 24: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 25: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 26 through Friday, March 1: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Election Day is Tuesday, March 5 and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ten voting center locations will be open on Election Day:

  • Hood County Annex 1 — 1410 W. Pearl St., Granbury
  • Acton Methodist Church — 3433 Fall Creek Highway, Granbury
  • Calvary Church — 4800 Glen Rose Highway, Granbury
  • First Baptist Church — 1851 Weatherford Highway, Granbury
  • Generations Church — 5718 E. U.S. Highway 377, Granbury
  • Good Shepherd Episcopal Church — 4530 Acton Highway, Granbury
  • Lipan Church of Christ Fellowship Hall — 119 N. Caddo St., Lipan
  • St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church — 2301 Acton Highway, Granbury
  • Pecan Activity Center — 9145 Plantation Dr., Granbury
  • Tolar Community Center — 120 Tolar Cemetery Rd., Tolar