Senter, Bob cropped      Bob Senter

The man to restore trust in our county

By guest writer Bob Senter

I would like to extend my endorsement for Darrell Apffel as county commissioner for precinct 1.
Darrell, below, is a lifelong resident of the county and a 29- year resident of precinct 1. He served as the justice of the peace in Texas City for 12 years, during which time his principled decisions were always based on his conservative values. DApffel_Pushcard_Large.cdr
He is the most qualified, committed, conservative Republican candidate for the position, with both successful private and political experience. If elected, he will enter the position without political agendas or self-promotion and will serve the people he represents.
The current county commissioners have forgotten about you, the taxpayer. I’m sure you have read in news reports that they have spent nearly 900,000 of your tax dollars fighting the judiciary.
Darrell’s promise is simple – he will work to restore the commission’s transparency, rebuild trust and reestablish teamwork. The county commissioners need to get back to basics and concentrate on fixing the potholes in our streets, repairing bridges, building roads, improving drainage and other infrastructure and balancing the county budget.
Put simply, the commissioners need to get back to doing the jobs they were elected to do.
If elected, Darrell Apffel will work with all the county’s elected officials and department heads to ensure they have the resources needed to effectively serve the citizens of our county.
As a member of this community for 15years, I am supporting him because he has always been a man of his word and willing to fight for the good of the county.
He has not hidden the fact that he has voted – and was elected justice of the peace – in the Democratic Party’s primary elections. However, and to his credit, he has never hidden behind the Democratic label.
In the past, Galveston County Democrats were conservative and shared the same values that Darrell holds dear. The Democratic Party has since changed to include a liberal faction set on destroying the American way of life. As a result, many of its candidates have made the change to the Republican Party, including district-court judge Lonnie Cox, constable Clint Wayne Brown and judge Wayne Mallia.
Many prominent US and Texas politicians have made the same change. We members of the GOP should embrace and welcome these good conservative public servants to our party.
I know Darrell Apffel is a man of his word and will put 100 per cent of his efforts into doing the right thing for the citizens of Galveston County.
I ask that you vote in the Republican Primary this cycle for a change nationally and locally. Specifically, I ask that you vote for Darrell Apffel to be your precinct 1county commissioner.
Bob Senter is a Texas City insurance agent and a former Republican candidate for state legislative office.


Hocking, Bobby 2016 cropped     Bobby Hocking

A proven leader for our community

By guest writer Bobby Hocking

Tim Paulissen is the right choice in the Republican Party’s primary for county commissioner.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with him during my tenure as mayor of La Marque. I’ve seen first-hand his effort, his ability and his philosophy. I know he’ll bring capable, conservative leadership to the commissioners’ court.Paulissen, Tim For county commisioner
But, more importantly, Tim, left, will bring a heart and passion for public service. He enjoys helping his neighbors. As mayor of League City, he’s available and responsive to residents. He’s well informed about the details of issues affecting his community. But he’s also taken a leadership role on regional issues that affect Galveston County as a whole.
He has been active in Galveston County Mayors And Councilmembers Association, which brings together leaders from cities across our county. I am serving my third term as president of this organization, after taking over the position from Tim’s capable hands. That’s one way I’ve gotten to know him. I’ve collaborated with him to address challenges we face across our region.
I also serve with Tim on the Galveston County transit authority, where he is in his third year as chairman. The authority is a regional body that helps obtain funding for local transportation and transit projects. As Galveston County grows, Tim’s relationships and experience on transportation issues will be a huge asset for both the county and its cities, which look to the county as an important partner for regional transportation.
Voters can see Tim’s track record as a councilman and mayor of League City and know the kind of results he’ll produce as county commissioner.
As mayor, he helped lower the city tax rate to historic lows not seen since the Ronald Reagan administration. He has proven experience balancing a budget while curbing spending and keeping an eye on citizen tax dollars. When he says he will keep county taxes low, we can trust that promise because that’s what he has done in the past.
Similarly, as mayor, he demonstrated a commitment to improving law enforcement and public safety. And, under his watch, League City was recognized as one of the safest places to live in Texas. So, when he says he’ll focus on improving public safety as county commissioner, we can rely on his commitment, because he’s proven his effort and his ability to get results.
Likewise, during his time as mayor, Tim’s city government has completed more substantial infrastructure projects than had been done in the city’s entire history before he took office. That is incredible. And it gives real credibility to his campaign commitment to get regional transportation and other infrastructure projects built at the county level, to help all of us better manage our growing population.
He is committed to the quick and successful expansion of state highway 146. He’s focused on getting Grand Avenue, the Bacliff segment of Highway 646, built sooner, with curbs, gutters and sidewalks. And he’s promised to work with TxDOT to see that the Gulf Freeway project is completed as fast as possible, so local families can get out of construction traffic and get on their way. I have confidence in his proven track record of getting major projects complete at the local government level.
Tim will reflect our values and concerns as county commissioner because he shares them. He and his wife, Ann, have raised two sons in Galveston County and they want it to remain a great place for their future grandkids.
While I am friends with both of the other county-commissioner candidates, and respect their service, I know that, if elected, Tim Paulissen will dedicate himself to the job and perform well.
We will be able to call him directly on his cell phone. He’ll care about our concerns and be responsive. He will serve us with distinction. Electing him our county commissioner will strengthen our community.
Bobby Hocking is mayor of his hometown and the city known as Gateway To The Gulf, La Marque.


Phillips, Shawn 2016Shawn Christopher Phillips

A lifetime devoted to party and precinct

By guest writer Shawn Christopher Phillips

“If my critics saw me walking over the Thames they would say it was because I couldn’t swim” – Margaret Thatcher

In the Republican Party primary on March 1, the voters of the county commission’s precinct 1 are charged with selecting a new commissioner. Even though there are three candidates vying for the seat on commissioners court, we are fortunate to have one clear and worthy choice to vote for –recent county chair and lifelong conservative Republican precinct 1 resident Barbara Meeks. Meeks publicity photo
The truth of the matter is that Barbara, left, is uniquely and profoundly overqualified to be the precinct’s county commissioner and it could not have a better advocate on the ballot. She has lived, worked, prayed, struggled, raised her family and enjoyed success all in precinct 1 since 1966.
Barbara was awarded a Texas PTA life membership and is an award-winning businesswoman.  She worked tirelessly to turn our county into a Republican county and, from 2008, raised almost $500,000 for the county’s Republican Party to make that happen. Her work ethic, leadership, honesty and integrity helped turn Galveston County vibrantly red.
Barbara Meeks has already achieved two Republican countywide election victories. Indeed, those two races were won by landslide margins.
If the county commission precinct 1 race were based on qualifications alone, then she need only have filed the paperwork and announced. However, due to some overambitious political scheming from outside the precinct – heck, even outside the Republican Party, for that matter – the race also has drawn the candidacies of a jazzercise instructor and a slip-n-fall trial attorney.
It would pass for a bad joke if it weren’t true, but Barbara Meeks knows that the stakes for precinct 1 are no laughing matter.
If her opponents truly respected precinct 1 voters, they would know that those voters are not swayed by an excessive amount of campaign money spent on an inordinate quantity of political yard signs. Precinct 1 voters are intelligent and simply not gullible enough to be won over by mere signage.
Barbara Meeks genuinely cares about the residents of precinct 1 and will work closely with the county engineer to address drainage and roadway issues important to them. She supports law-enforcement efforts making precinct 1 an even safer place to live and work.
Moreover, she will strive to increase the profit potential of the ports of Texas City and Galveston. She will partner with chambers of commerce and economic development corporations facilitating the county’s capitalizing on economic development and tourism.
It should go without saying that Barbara Meeks is precinct 1 voters’ choice if their core values include pro-life, pro-gun, smaller government, less spending and lower taxes. Rest assured, she eats, sleeps and breathes the Republican platform.
Barbara believes in the integrity of local government as the people’s voice and she will never concede, cave, negotiate or bargain with any anyone bent on destroying local government as it was set up and structured on behalf of the people. She will never surrender the people’s voice or role in our beloved democracy.
She stands firmly with the 40-plus Texas counties of the Conference Of Urban Counties and the Texas County Judges And Commissioners Association that have issued resolutions of support for Galveston County commissioners court in its current legal case against judge Lonnie Cox of the 56th district court.
For longtime conservative Republicans like myself, it is a pleasure to tout the virtues and qualifications of a paragon Republican candidate like Barbara Meeks. Make the right call and vote for her as your next precinct 1 county commissioner.
US Navy combat veteran Shawn Christopher Phillips is a long-time resident of Texas City who services and tests industrial equipment for compliance with environmental regulations.

Uncommon sense with Glenn Mollette

An autopsy should be performed on US supreme-court justice Antonin Scalia. Families have to make their own decisions and maybe he had a history of health problems that made his sudden passing not so sudden to his family but his sudden passing was unexpected and shocking news.
We’ve heard reports that he died peacefully and from natural causes. In order to eliminate all future speculations and criminal theories and suspicions, an autopsy should be done to clear the air about his passing.Scalia, Antonin_Official_SCOTUS_Portrait
Could someone have wanted Scalia dead? Who stands to gain the most from his passing? Sadly, very little time has been given to mourning his death as a furor has broken out over replacing him on the supreme court.
He could have very easily died from heart failure as death comes to us all. However, making sure of this through an autopsy would avoid all the crazy tabloid stories, books and ridiculous television investigative stories that could come from his passing.
President Barack Obama has every right to make his nomination to replace Scalia, left. The Republican-led senate has every right to block or stall approving anyone. Remember, this is American politics where nobody gets along.
We are talking about the big divide in our nation where it’s all Republicans versus all Democrats and conservatives versus liberals. There is very little crossing of the party line, as Republicans do not feel they can bend nor do the Democrats. Doing so would cause them to appear uncommitted to their conservative or liberal principles.
What if the president nominated someone who most everyone could agree on? That’s a nice dream but probably is not going to happen.
In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers should go out to the family and close friends of Justice Antonin Scalia. While politicians fight to replace him on the court, he will not be replaced in the hearts of those who loved him and held him dear.
Replacing him will be a news-heavy item for several months as the president, congress and media all weigh in with opinions and political posturing. Don’t expect to see any video on television of the president sitting down with senators Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Harry Reid.
There won’t be any long coffee sessions with these politicians discussing, debating or praying about the next supreme-court appointee. Such activity would be civil, moral and old-fashioned. Expect more liar, liar, liar ranting and division, which is the last thing this country needs.
Glenn Mollette is an American author whose syndicated column is read in all 50 states.

‘There’s a widespread perception that economic insecurity has become entrenched in our system and there’s very little ordinary people can do about it’

Washington watch with Lee Hamilton

When the history of this year’s presidential campaign is written, one of its more remarkable features will be that the candidates of both parties feel it necessary to talk about income inequality. Surely that makes this a watershed moment.
The issue is hardly new. As historian and writer Jill Lepore pointed out last year, income inequality in the United States has been rising since the late 1960s. As she put it: “The evidence that income inequality in the United States has been growing for decades and is greater than in any other developed democracy is not much disputed.”
More notable is that it has become a defining issue of our day, with Republican candidates seizing on it just as avidly as Democrats – although with different views of its causes and solutions.
For some time now, reformist Republicans have argued for the right mix of public policies to give poor and middle-income Americans more opportunity without shifting power to the federal government. On the Democratic side, as expected, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton press for a firmer public stance to redress the problem. No one suggests there are easy solutions.
To be sure, there are politicians, especially on the right, who believe there’s not much room for public action. Market forces will sort it all out, they argue.
In this telling, inequality has come about because of globalization and technological changes that are unstoppable and that, on the whole, have raised living standards. Eventually, they believe, the gap between the highest earners and the rest of us will diminish.
Instead of fighting inequality, we should be protecting and expanding the rewards for skill, leadership and entrepreneurship.
This argument assumes that the very wealthy won’t act to tilt the field even more in their favor. Yet, as the New York Times noted last month, they are doing just that.
“With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century,” the newspaper wrote, “the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. …
“Operating largely out of public view … the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them.”
Yet some reform-minded conservatives agree with Democrats on at least one point, which is that government needs to act to achieve greater fairness and opportunity in the economy. The stresses we see in our political system today – free-floating public anger and distrust of government and large institutions – stem at least in part from the widespread perception that economic insecurity has become entrenched in our system and there’s very little ordinary people can do about it. If inequality continues to grow, the stress on the system will ratchet ever tighter.
No one is arguing for a straight-ahead equalization of economic resources, which would not just require extreme restrictions on personal freedom but would almost certainly hamstring economic growth. Nor, however, should government make the problem worse – which is what some politicians’ call for further tax reductions on the richest would do.
There are some broad directions in which we should be moving to ensure a degree of fairness. Current trends are not inevitable if citizens are determined to reduce the influence and power of money on the system. We need to shift resources to education and workforce training, although that will take time to produce change.
Encouraging technological change that boosts unskilled employment – rather than stripping it away – will matter. So will protecting the progressivity of the income tax, encouraging the well-to-do to follow the excellent examples of their peers who are sharing their wealth, focusing on trade deals that favor workers and not just the business community, and providing incentives for people of ordinary means to save and invest.
We need to promote policies that help all children advance and discourage efforts to further concentrate wealth. These are incremental changes requiring limited government action.
A reduction in inequality is an essential ingredient in a healthy democracy. To let the gap between rich and ordinary Americans grow larger will allow political pressures to build in our economic and political systems. We should aim for a country where opportunities are more equal and the distribution of wealth and income is fairer.
Lee Hamilton, who was a member of the US house of representatives for 34 years, is a distinguished scholar at Indiana University’s school of global and international studies and a professor of practice at the university’s school of public and environmental affairs.

Weber, Randy 2014 Web Ready              Randy Weber

US congressman Randy Weber writes exclusively in The Post about issues involving his work as part of our nation’s government

After being staunchly opposed by congress and the American people, the Iran nuclear deal’s Implementation Day came on January 16. By the end of the month, many of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and Europe had been lifted, legitimizing the middle-eastern nation’s involvement in the international business arena. Iran Nuclear Deal2
While some, including our own administration, celebrate this as “progress”, I argue that this deal will go down in history as one that empowered our enemies while compromising our own national security.
Through the nuclear deal, Iran now has the ability to strengthen its economy through trading, while receiving $1.7 billion from the United States for a military-equipment settlement that occurred back in 1979, more than $1 billion of which is tax-payer funded interest. An additional $100-$150 billion in hard currency will also flow into its coffers.
Instead of limiting Iran’s ability to attack us and our allies, our administration is giving a country known for its deception, instability and hatred for the West the funds to begin advancing its own military and defense capabilities.
Supporters of the deal argue that the enhanced oversight allowed over all of Iran’s nuclear facilities is a good thing. However, the deal also highlights Iran’s ability to “self-inspect” its own facilities, which could easily allow its inspectors to lie and hide their nation’s true nuclear capabilities.
With this deal in place, there is no reason for Americans to feel safer. If anything, we should be more fearful now than ever before.
Those who support the deal also argue that Iran’s current regime has made great progress in proving themselves. And yet Iran violated the terms of the negotiation many times while the agreement was under discussion and has already violated the terms of the deal numerous times since its finalization.
In a country known for its support of global terror, it should be incumbent upon Iran to earn our trust rather than incumbent upon the United States and our allies to blindly accede to its wishes.
Through this deal, our administration has done nothing more than display its ignorance by putting its faith into a country that has proven countless times that it cannot be trusted.
Our executive branch has bypassed congress and the American people by moving forward with the deal, proving that our administration works more for our enemies than it does for us.
It’s time to tell our president to put America first instead of those who wish to see the annihilation of our great nation.
Randy Weber is the US representative for the 14th district of Texas, which covers Brazoria, Galveston and Jefferson counties.

Uncommon sense with Glenn Mollette

I received a call from an old friend one morning recently. I’ve known him now for more than 40 years. When I was 20 years old, I lived for four months with him and his family in Dayton, Ohio, while I attended Wright State University.
The call was a simple “Merry Christmas” call that caught us up on family and life in general.  It began to wind up with Bill telling me about all the times that he thinks about me and how much he loves our family. The sentiment is mutual, I said, and we exchanged warm Christmas greetings. The call made my day.
On Sunday evening, I brought my Army son home from the airport. After a long flight home, he relaxed in our family room as we caught up on small talk. Again, just the fact that he was in our home and was safe made my day.
A husband and wife who work with us at our office came by our home last week bringing gifts. The gifts are beautiful but the effort they made to tell us how much they enjoy working with us and that they love their jobs still after seven years meant a lot to my wife and me. Once more, it made our day.
We humans often make Christmas difficult for ourselves. We stress ourselves out. We get into fiascos over gifts, travel, money and how to celebrate the holiday.
The first Christmas was about the birth of a baby. People around the world have tried to find all kinds of ways to celebrate his birth for more than 2,000 years. It’s amazing how we sometimes mess up his birthday and the holiday.
This week try focusing on enjoying and loving people. It’s often the simple conversations we have along the way that make our Christmas.
Glenn Mollette is an American author whose syndicated column is read in all 50 states.

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