Wise County Messenger: Congressman explores new territory
By Phil Major
Congressman Mac Thornberry,who will likely represent most of Wise County once the state’s redistricting mess is settled, made three stops here Saturday to learn more about the territory slated to be added to his already sprawling
Thornberry started his day with the Wise County Veterans Group and said later that foreign affairs were among the favored topics.
His next stop, in downtown Bridgeport, centered on domestic issues.
He finished his day attending the Wise County Republican Women’s annual Rhinestone Roundup, sharing the stage with Congressman Michael Burgess, who stands to pick up part of southeastern Wise County in one proposed plan.
Thornberry, first elected in 1995, represents the 13th District, which stretches from the top of the Panhandle. Redistricting proposals would add Cooke and most of Wise County to the district, marking Thornberry’s first time to represent the county.
Under two plans, he would gain all but the Decatur-Rhome area and under a third, Burgess would get the Rhome area. Decatur and Rhome could still wind up represented by Kay Granger or be in a newly created 33rd District.
Redistricting is still tied up in court, having missed a Feb. 6 deadline.
Thornberry has drawn a Republican challenge from Pam Barlow of Bowie but no Democrats thus far.
Though he spoke on a wide range of topics in Bridgeport, Thornberry said the No. 1 issue for the nation is entitlement reform.
“That’s the key issue the country must face to avoid going down the road that Greece has,” he said.
The biggest challenge most European countries face is that more and more of their economies are spent on keeping up the social welfare state. These issues can no longer be used as political footballs to attack the other guys, Thornberry said.
“What happened with Obama, Pelosi and Reid in the two years they were in control with health care,
the stimulus, the banks, cap and trade, they made problems that were already there much worse,” he said. “We’re trying to keep it from getting worse.”
Thornberry said he has never seen more people paying attention to politics and the big issues.
And many of those issues are coming to a head. “This election will decide which way it’s going to go,” he said. “We have a chance to make decisions that will benefit the country.”
With two-thirds of the federal budget tied to entitlements, Thornberry said until that is dealt with, there would never be real progress in cutting spending.
In his hour-plus talk, Thornberry touched on topics ranging from health care reform to immigration reform. But he also spoke about a more fundamental issue facing the country.
“We have a huge gap growing in our country,” he said. “There are two Americas, and it’s not just education but family structures. We have a challenge to bring people up to where they can have economic opportunities.”