MABANK–A varied crowd filled the tables in the common area of Mabank High School as Congressman Lance Gooden held his first town hall meeting in Mabank since going to Washington in January. Gooden told the crowd this is one in a series of meetings he is holding to see the constituents of his district so he can bring their concerns back to Washington.
Gooden is the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 5th congressional district, having won the general election held November 6, 2018. Gooden previously served in the Texas House of Representatives for District 4. The 5th District stretches from Dallas County to Cherokee, Henderson, Kaufman, Anderson, Van Zandt and Wood Counties. Gooden replaced Jeb Hensarling who chose not to run in the last election.
In the 116th Congress, Congressman Gooden is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services where he serves as the Vice Ranking Member on the Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Subcommittee. Prior to joining the U.S. House of Representatives, Lance served three terms in the Texas House of Representatives.
“I want to acknowledge the Democrats in the room and I want to hear what you have to say. I represent everyone…I campaigned as a Trump Conservative. I believe that this district was overwhelmingly conservative, overwhelmingly for President Trump… I made good on my promise to support the President and I will continue to do so,” Gooden told the gathering.
Gooden said his two biggest goals, other than personal ones, were to win back the House for Republicans and see that President Trump gets re-elected. He said that is how he makes his decisions in Washington.
Gooden explained that when he took office in January, the government was in shutdown due to a stalemate over funding the wall. Once the government reopened, “We found complete disarray, total gridlock and nothing much was accomplished in the first six months…Speaker Pelosi runs the House from the top down and in Washington, nothing happens without her approval.” Gooden explained that this differs from his experience in Austin where all that was needed was a majority to get a bill passed and added that if the speakers aren’t for it, it’s not going to pass. He pointed to the U.S. Mexico Trade Agreement that has bi-partisan support, but “Speaker Pelosi doesn’t want that to come forward because she doesn’t want to give Donald Trump a victory. That’s a mentality we’ve seen this past seven months,” Gooden said.
Gooden said he expects to see more of the extreme left push for impeachment talks even though Speaker Pelosi has encouraged her members to stay away from the impeachment agenda. Gooden spoke of some things that have never been in play before, the four very vocal members of the Democratic Caucus, whom he called the “Fabulous Four” who are in the news when previously you would expect the more tenured members to be in the media, not freshmen.
Gooden said the most prevalent questions he gets regard his support of the President and immigration. Gooden told about his support of DNA testing at the border to prevent child trafficking at the border. (See Gooden’s Op Ed piece in the July 28 issue of The Monitor.) He called immigration reform a “polarizing issue” and said he doesn’t expect meaningful legislation until after the next election cycle.
When Gooden opened the floor for questions, he asked that those with personal issues get with his staff to get help for them, being especially concerned about Veterans with issues. The first question came from a woman who asked about the wall, saying that President Trump, after campaigning on Mexico paying for the wall had taken money from the defense department. “I am for security on the border but not taking our tax money to pay for it.” Gooden said the border wall would not build itself and the preference of the people would be to “get the job done and pay for it any way we can.” He also clarified that the money came from military budget and not from Veterans. “There are several ways that the wall could be funded but they are being blocked,” he added.
Gooden said that he believed that one of the major reasons the Republicans did so poorly in the last election was their inability to execute on the promises made to the people. One man gave a brief overview of the parties in the late 1800s saying that Democrats created the KKK and owned racism. Several in the crowd were incensed to yelling and had to be reminded about decorum and respecting each other when someone was speaking.
Another man brought up the issue of broadband Internet in the rural areas and was told about a bill to use Electric Co-ops to further the spread of broadband. The crowd was also told about a Broadband Internet Caucus that has been formed to get bi-partisan solutions for the problem.
Other questions included how to get involved with causes central to the people, gun control, the high cost of pharmaceutical drugs and Russian meddling in elections.
One man said he worked on a campaign for a Democratic Congress candidate who won and he was fired for being Pro-Life and asked what was being done to reach out to those Democrats who found themselves in that situation. Gooden said that efforts were being made to reach the more conservative Democrats but mainly in large cities.
Gooden said that the gridlock is the reason why issues are not being resolved and bills don’t get passed. “We live in a divided nation,” Gooden said. “We see this lack of respect from Democrats, we see this push for resistance. Republicans are for results.”