After two weeks in the field training soldiers preparing them for their return to the Middle East, it is clear to me now more than ever why I'm running for the United States Senate.
What occurred to me when I was in the field was the sharp contrast in what we were doing, my band of infantry brothers, preparing for combat, and what John Cornyn was doing in Washington, DC at the same time.
My soldiers in conducting land navigation training this past week learned that if you are off course a couple of degrees for a short distance, it doesn't matter too much. But if you're off course for a good while then the divide from where you are, and where you should be is so great that it is nearly impossible to get back on the right course. Such is our circumstance as a state and nation today.
When I drove onto post on June 1st, gas was $3.78 a gallon. When I left training two weeks later it was $4.00 a gallon. In the meantime, Cornyn voted against tax incentives for renewable energy investment, leaving Texans high and dry at the pump and undermining efforts for America to achieve energy independence.
When I was in the Texas House I voted for incentives for Texans to become more energy efficient by driving cleaner cars.
Dealing with the issues of my soldiers is what I, as a commander, do day to day.
John Cornyn voted against the 21st Century GI Bill saying it would hurt retention. But when I conduct my retention interviews, my men tell me they are getting out because after two or three past deployments, they just can't do another one. When I was in the Texas House, I fought against tuition deregulation and skyrocketing tuition costs. College should be affordable for all, including and especially those who have served.
While I was on post, for three days closely monitoring a soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, a result of what he saw overseas, I wondered why our incumbent senator remained silent when our Veteran's administration, right here in Texas, was deliberately misdiagnosing our soldiers for lack of funds to provide the right treatment. When I was in the Texas House I led efforts to make sure returning veterans got the benefits they deserved.
The Combat Lifesaver Course this week taught my men how to treat battlefield wounds. The training engrained in the soldiers that not everyone can be saved, but the most important thing they can do is to stop the bleeding. While my opponent supports "staying the course" on our failed foreign policy, the rest of us Texans have a duty to try to stop the bleeding.
What I know is that when I'm in uniform I have an oath to fulfill: to take care of my soldiers and families with every breath of my being. The same is true when I am in civilian clothes as a citizen soldier.
It is truly amazing the amount of responsibility our country gives to an eighteen year old private. I believe it is Texas' duty to hold John Cornyn at least as, if not more accountable, for his years of disservice as we would that private.
That's why I'm standing up to be Texas' next United States Senator -- for our fighting men and women, for their families and for all Texans.