Hearing from both sides
Editor’s note: We asked the Gillespie County Republican and Democratic party chairpersons to briefly weigh in on what has been a contentious election season and extol the virtues of their party. Below are their submissions.
By Cathy Collier
Gillespie County Democratic Chair
If there was ever a time in our history when we needed to stop, listen to one another and engage in civil conversation about the critical issues of our day, it is this year, 2016, and in this election for President of the United States.
As Americans and Texans, we are much more alike than we are different. We all want to live in a safe, clean environment. We all want to know that our children will have the opportunity to get a good education. We want to know that by working hard we can provide for our families. We want our country’s actions in the world to be honorable. These are the things that Democrats want and these are the things that Republicans want.
Unfortunately, our political environment has become so toxic that it is easy for us to roll our eyes in disgust and pronounce that no candidates can be trusted. But if the last eight years has proved anything, it is that we all suffer when those who govern us don’t work together.
It’s true — everyone who runs for political office is flawed. There has never been a perfect candidate and there never will be. From the Founding Fathers to the present, every president has come with his own set of positives and negatives.
The same is true of Hillary Clinton.
But in the words of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times’ endorsement, “She is not, as has been sold, a mere lesser of two evils. Her experience and intellect would make her a standout in any group of candidates. Like President Obama said, and didn’t need to be fact-checked, she’s more qualified than him — or her husband.”
Secretary Clinton offers four decades of experience and achievement to voters. Has she ever made a mistake in 40-plus years? Of course she has. As a public person, her missteps have been held up to unrelenting scrutiny and she has been scolded for using her emails much like some of her predecessors. But she has withstood a legion of false attacks. Her qualifications far outweigh the negatives.
She stands for rational, comprehensive immigration reform and an improvement rather than an abandonment of the Affordable Care Act. She wants to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour, repair the Voting Rights Act, help students leave college without enormous debt and build a strong economy that works for everyone and not just those at the top.
In foreign policy, she seeks to strengthen our country’s traditional alliances and continue working toward the defeat of the Islamic State.
But her greatest strength is pragmatism. She is a consensus-builder. She worked across party lines to help create the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) with the late Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. The program currently provides health care for more than eight million children.
These stands represent progressive values, core values, family values.
In a year when many voters are throwing up their hands and lamenting that government doesn’t work, it is reasonable to say that government does work when we shoulder our responsibilities as citizens, get involved and vote. Any candidate who does not vow to work with the office holders of the other party is not worth your vote. And experience is not a bad thing if an elected official is doing the job well.
Government is not the bad guy. Government is us.
Hillary Clinton has the experience, integrity and intelligence to not only be a good president but a great one.
Collier is the chairperson of the Gillespie County Democratic Party.
By Dalton Fromme
Gillespie County Republican Chair
It has been said that there is one thing worse than war. It’s that hollow feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you believe there is nothing in the world worth fighting for.
We believe freedom is worth fighting for — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to keep and bear arms, and more.
The Republican Party of Texas in its 2016 preamble to the Party Platform states: “We strive to preserve the freedom given to us by God, implemented by our Founding Fathers, and embodied in the Constitution.”
America is in grave danger of losing those freedoms, unless we elect a Republican to the White House, retain a majority of Republicans in Congress, and appoint to the Supreme Court conservative judges who believe in the original intent of the Constitution.
During the past seven plus years, our nation has been steadily “progressing” away from those freedoms and towards more government control of individuals. Evidence of this is the Affordable Care Act whereby the government forces citizens to have health insurance or pay a fine. Sadly, our freedom to choose health care is greatly restricted.
As a nation, we have in the past, been able to defeat the enemies of freedom — Fascism, Communism, Terrorism — on the battlefield, but now the enemy is the progressive movement, which results in more government control of our lives and less individual freedom.
This movement must be defeated at the polls by voting for Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and all Republicans on the ballot.
As you look at row upon row of white grave markers in places like Arlington National Cemetery, or any other cemetery which marks the final resting place of those who made the supreme sacrifice to protect our freedoms, think about the important responsibility we have as American citizens.
It is our responsibility to preserve and sustain those freedoms at the ballot box for the next generation. If we don’t, those Americans will have died in vain, and sadly, your children and grandchildren will be forced to endure the hardships of living in a “third world” America without freedom.
Please, don’t let that happen!
When you see the enthusiastic, over-flow crowds at Trump rallies throughout our nation, you realize the voters are tired of being forced to accept illegal immigration, cultural rot, soft on terrorism, and other issues from an ever-expanding government with diminishing freedoms (i.e. Hope and Change).
Things will only get progressively worse, unless we put a Republican in the White House.
So, pray like everything depends on God, then vote like everything depends on you! Let’s elect Donald Trump President of the United States and let’s “make America great again!”
Fromme is the chairman of the Gillespie County Republican Party.