Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tea Party congressional hopeful swinging for the fences

He demands a strict construction of the Constitution, limited federal powers constrained by the founding document, and a simpler, consumption-based tax code

Belton – If the Legislature creates a new, free Congressional District in a Bell County divided north to south, east to west, or encompassed wholly, Wes Riddle wants to be the first to be elected U.S. Representative from that district.

The founding chairman of the Central Texas Tea Party, he's throwing his hat in the ring while mindful of that contingency.

A couple of things have to happen to make his wish come true.

First, the legislators have to see that the 30% rise in Bell County's population came near the perimeters of Ft. Hood. This new population is multi-ethnic, all-American, either active duty or retired Army, and here to stay. The cities of Harker Heights and Copperas Cove bulged in population over the past decade and the population of adjacent County Commissioners' Court districts declined.

Part of a statewide increase of 4.3 million persons - from 21 million to 25 million – it is parcel to an 18% increase made up of 2/3 Hispanic people.

Second, the Department of Justice, or a federal Court - or both - will have to approve of such a plan, once the Legislature votes one out. That might just require a special session called by the Governor.

The state's Hispanic activists vary in their demands. The most adamant want all of the four new districts authorized by the state's rise in population to be made up of a majority of Hispanic voters. Their number includes adherents of the Industrial Areas Foundation's Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). The Industrial Areas Foundation was created by Chicago attorney and activist Saul Alinsky. MALDEF filed the original lawsuit that led to the Robin Hood plan in reapportionment of public school funding.

The more liberal caucus, which is made up of members of the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force would settle for a district in Dallas, one in Houston, and another in the Rio Grande Valley which takes in areas of Starr and Hidalgo Counties.

Each district will have to number exactly 698,488 residents.

Under the plan filed earlier this month by Carrollton's Republican Representative Bert Solomons, chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, the districts in West Texas that lost population will be paired with districts adjacent to them and the balance would be achieved that way. That plan would add only one Hispanic district.
(click here to see proposed district maps)

Hispanics are already calling that plan unconstitutional.

The message is clear form Hispanics. “Get it right or we'll see you in Court.” They mean federal court.

Republican Representative Phil King, Weatherford, wants to skip the Department of Justice “pre-screening” process. DOJ lawyers are “too liberal” to suit him. His previous experience with the Department of Justice has convinced him that they are biased toward minority representation.

Wes Riddle, a retired Army officer who ran unsuccessfully for the local Representative's seat in a previous election, agrees.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 came nearly 50 years in the past; it addressed a problem that just doesn't exist any more, he says.

Mr. Riddle decries a “political class” that is not so much nominated by the parties as “anointed.”

“We've got a political class, but we haven't got any leadership.”

Here are a few of his ideas, most of them involving constitutionally limited government, that he thinks will put the nation back on the track the founding fathers envisioned when they wrote, passed, and ratified the U.S. Constitution.

First of all, American citizenship as presently regulated, is akin to slavery, to be held in thrall to an elite class of individuals who are born to rule from Washington, D.C., Mr. Riddle says. Freedom, he reminded his interlocutor, is not carried in the blood line. It is up to each man and woman from each particular generation to fight for and secure that freedom.

“And here's something else: stop worrying whether someone else thinks this discussion amounts to 'civil' discourse. Let me tell you what: there's nothing civil about slavery.”

- Simplify the tax code;
- reduce the size and the budget of the federal government;
- repeal Obamacare and any other federal law that mandates that which is not authorized by the Constitution, either through litigation or nullification, or both.

Mr. Riddle sat down with The Legendary earlier today at his office. Hear his ideas in his own words.

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