By CRISTIN REECE
Anticipation was high during Thursday night’s Anderson County Republican Club fundraising dinner, and keynote speaker Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples didn’t disappoint when he announced his intentions to run for Texas Lieutenant Governor.
“I hope we hear he’s going to run for lieutenant governor,” Palestine Realtor Shelley Price said as the barbecue dinner was being served, before Staples took the stage. “We’re hear to support him whatever his plans are, but I think he’d make a great lieutenant governor.”
Staples and his wife Janet were there to both promote his new book, “Broken Borders, Broken Promises,” and share his good news with about 130 of his Anderson County friends and constituents.
Introduced by 369th District Judge Bascom Bentley III, Staples said he felt like the reason the American Dream is still thriving in Texas today is because of its citizens’ commitment to strong values.
“In 1776, our forefathers recognized the existing government was too abusive, too intrusive and too taxing,” he remarked. “Isn’t it ironic how history repeats itself?”
Staples explained how he feels the current federal administration has very different values than what the people of Texas have and how the issues that keep grabbing headlines lately are a ploy to keep decision makers from actually making decisions that would benefit the country.
“They want to turn it into a ‘war on women,” he said, “but that’s not the case. We’re fighting for the lives of the unborn. They want to twist and turn the issues and we’re working hard to keep that from happening.”
Staples also touched on his views of immigration and border security, the same topic of his book.
“Homeland Security has declared our borders safer than ever,” he quipped, as audience members laughed. “So y’all rest easy tonight.
“Seriously, in 1933 the city of Chicago named Al Capone public enemy number one. The only other time that city had assigned that designation to someone has been recently and it was to the Mexican drug cartel head, Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo. I’m thinking, if a drug cartel in Mexico is Chicago’s public enemy number one, maybe our borders aren’t so safe and secure after all.
“Securing our borders can be done, without amnesty, without trampling human dignity – it’s not going to be easy,” Staples continued. “We want to be a welcoming state, but we have to do it the right way, not Washington’s way.
“I don’t want the Texas of tomorrow to look like the California or the Washington D.C. of today. The poet D.K. Chesterton said ‘a true soldier doesn’t fight because he hates what’s in front of him; he fights because he loves what’s behind him.’ I am committed to making sure we leave a legacy that’s worth being proud of.”
Republican Club member Kaye Williams said of the event, “I think it’s just awesome! I’ve known Todd’s family for years and I know he appreciates all the support.”
Republican Chair Kelly Fitzpatrick said the dinner, which included a silent auction, was a fundraiser for the club’s annual Joye Gold scholarship and other club activities.
“Everyone did a fantastic job,” he said of event organizers. “They worked hard.”
The barbecue entree was provided by Mike Bishop of Bishop’s Brisket House and Republican Club members provided sides and desserts.
Other local elected officials attending included Sheriff Greg Taylor, Palestine Mayor Therrell Thomas and Councilman Mark Price, Precinct 2 Constable Doug Lightfoot and all three District Court of Appeals judges.