Congressman Bill Flores speaks at Ag Breakfast
Congressman Bill Flores was the special guest speaker at the Fall Agri-Breakfast last Friday at the Junior High School Commons.
Flores is Representative for Texas District 17. The breakfast, sponsored by the McGregor Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, attracted a large crowd of farmers and business people.
Following a buffet breakfast, catered by The Coffee Shop, the guest speaker was introduced.
Congressman Flores started off his speech by asking a question to those in attendance. “How many of you think the country is heading in the wrong direction? After seeing a majority show of hands he pointed out that several weeks earlier his office had mailed out some letters and asked citizens to rate some issues listed.
“In the letter we asked you to rate the following categories: jobs and the economy, veterans issues, spending and deficits, presidential overreach, immigration and border security, and Obamacare.
Presidential overreach received the biggest show of hands. “What you saw on how this audience voted is what we are seeing all over this district,” Flores stated. “We’ve conducted eight town hall meetings, and when I was running for office back in 2010, the big issues were spending deficits and Obamacare. Now, we have a much larger issue because of the things that are happening in Washington.”
“Since this is an Ag breakfast, I’m going to go through some things through an agriculture prospective,” the congressman commented. “We do have a farm bill, but it doesn’t reflect everything I would like to do. The biggest single area of disagreement in the farm bill has to do with food stamps.”
Congressman Flores pointed out that the ag program shifts more to a risk management tool and also gives protection to farmers so they have the ability to insure their crops, which is really hard to do in the private sector. “Crop insurance has been strengthened,” he said.
Another issue presented by the guest speaker was that the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers are trying to work out something they call Water for the United States saying that if a ditch fills up with water they want to say that it is a navigatible stream.
“Most of us in real world America know that doesn’t pass the smell test,” Flores said. “We’re doing all we can to try and bring the EPA back into the box. Another thing you may not be aware of related to water is the National Ocean Policy.”
Flores explained that back in 2010 after the current president was elected, a National ocean policy was formed where you get a bunch of bureaucrats working together to essentially zone the oceans and the sources thereof.
“The last little phrase is the key part,” Flores declared. “If you have some ag land, farm land,or ranch land and water falls on it, that’s going to wind up in the Brazos River, and on to Mexico, so the Federal Government has jurisdiction under this plan. Our office has been pretty successful in putting limitations on every appropriations bill to seal away the funding for that. We will continue to try and stop this program.”
“The Ocean and Zoning bill comes from the USDA,” Flores said. “They want to establish an integrated inner agency modeling and monitoring and assessing the partnership to better evaluate the land treatment practices.”
The speaker went on to say, “Think about that--you have multiple agencies and bureaucrats working together which means they are never going to come to an agreement, and they are going to be in your business. They want to start a showcase project between the U.S. Forest Service and the EPA linking healthy water shed plrotection.
“Each of you in your ag practices try to take care of the land not only for next year, but for future generations,” Flores proudly stated.
The congressman also touched on immigration reform by reporting that the border security is not secure. “Forty percent of the people today get her legally, but many of them overstay their visa. We’re one of the most technological countries in the world, but we can’t track visas. There is no enforcement mechanism in place. The reason illegal immigration is so high is because legal immigration is so hard.”
“I’ll give you three policy options,” Flores commented. “Deport them, forgive them and give them amnesty fairly quickly, and the third approach is if you are here illegally, register with the government, pay a fine for the crime you committed, pay your back taxes, keep your nose clean, and we’ll give you a temporary residency permit and you can have a job and a driver’s license. After 5 or 10 years, you can become a permanent legal resident.”
The show of hands went with the third approach of earned citizenship. It was pointed out by a citizen in attendance that border security should come first and Flores agreed.
Flores briefly touched on a question about the No Child Left Behind act. Superintendent Kevin Houchin has had a huge impact on every school district in the nation and is quite a problem in the school business.
The Texas Congresssman felt like the problem was that we’ve got the education system hooked on Federal dollars. “We need to take off the restrictions of the Federal dollars, reduce the size of the Federal dollars and give the school districts block grants to use.
“The American Chapter is not over with,” Flores stated. “We the American people need to turn back to God and ask him to help restore our country. We need to pray for our miltary men and women, and our first responders. Their efforts allowed us to have this breakfast this morning.”