San Saba Rotary Club hosted a town hall meeting at noon on June 4th at Pepperbelly’s Mexican Restaurant. The meeting was open to the public with approximately 25-30 people in attendance. After the meeting was opened with prayer and the pledges to the American flag and the Texas flag, Deryl Hoyt introduced the special guest, Congressman August Pfluger.
Congressman Pfluger started by introducing his six-year-old daughter, Juliana, who came with him on this trip, and Laura Almond from Llano, Regional Director for this area. He said Ms. Almond was present to help by answering questions and providing information to anyone; thus, Representative Pfluger encouraged attendees to meet her and get her contact information.
Congressman Pfluger spoke a few minutes before he opened the meeting questions. “This is the greatest country in the world contrary to what you may hear in the liberal media. We are blessed to be Americans and honored to be able to give a pledge to our flag.”
The Congressman was sworn in on January 3rd and stated it is an honor to represent the 29 counties in this District. He noted that the ranching and farming industry is a matter of national security. He stated he sees it as his primary job, “to be a voice to educate people that food does not just show up on a shelf. We don’t want to be dependent on any other country for our food supply.”
He stated the Permian Basin, which produces 40% of this country’s oil, is also a matter of national security, and much of this Congressional District encompasses much of the Permian Basin. He stated Texas provides affordable, reliable energy not just here or in our country, but around the world.
Congressman Pfluger also commended our state legislators, Senator Dawn Buckingham and State Representative Shelby Slawson, for doing an amazing job. Senator Buckingham and Representative Slawson were instrumental in getting the Heartbeat Bill (SB 8)approved and signed into effect by Governor Abbott. The Heartbeat Bill « requires that abortion providers check for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion, and bans them from carrying out the procedure if one is detected » (https://www.cnn. com/2021/05/19/politics/texas-abortion-heartbeat-ban/index. html). That statement was met with applause from the audience. The Congressman noted this took courage and boldness to stand up for the unborn.
He brought up other topics such as the rising threat of raising our taxes which is very real and is of great concern to him, the fact that folks are being incentivized to stay home and not go back to work after the pandemic, and the needed revamping of our highway system.
Congressman Pfluger said we are going through tough times… with the pandemic, the winter storm in Texas, policies that are aimed at hurting the oil and gas industry that would hurt the agriculture industry, lots of spending, and the threat of inflation, and the crisis at the border. All this being said, he noted he is hopeful that we are going to emerge stronger.
He told us of a weekly Wednesday morning Bible Study he attends, and the Bible Study recently focused on hope. “Romans 5 talks about perseverance in suffering. ‘Suffering leads to perseverance, perseverance builds character, character leads to hope.’ We all need to persevere and fight against the narrative that this is not the best country in the world.”
He said we don’t need to divide ourselves, but to unite. He also related that a majority of Americans believe in law enforcement and in unifying themselves. Congressman Pfluger believes that we as a country will come together.
Following are some of the questions that were presented to Congressman Pfluger (AP):
• Social Media/Big Tech Thought Police are preempting free speech. What concrete actions do you see being taken to rectify that situation?
AP: “We need consistency. A good place to start is political campaigns. If you take one side off and not the other, they (the Big Tech companies) are exceeding their political contribution. This is the first line of effort we are trying to take. And the second is an antitrust. The situation is worrisome, and I believe these steps will have some success.”
He explained that he is concerned about our kids and what is being taught. He is also concerned about what is being taught in our military and asked, “Are we really making our warriors more lethal, more ready to go do the job, or are we policing their thoughts?” He referenced the Bill of Rights and stated it needs to be protected at all costs.
• Can you address the freeze that happened?
AP: “This is thankfully mostly a state issue. We do not want the federal government running our electrical grid. That is the number one thing you will find me fighting against, making sure we protect the State of Texas and our local businesses to allow them to do what they need to do.”
Congressman Pfluger went on to explain that over the past 20 years, we have incentivized a couple of forms of energy over other ones. The private marketplace has received subsidies for some and not for others.
He said there is nothing wrong with wind and solar power. This Congressional District (29 counties) provides more wind energy than the entire state of California. He also stated, “when the marketplace props up some and not others, you get a market inefficiency, and that is what we saw.”
Most experts he spoke to said they knew this was going to happen; they just thought it would happen in the heat of summer, after several consecutive days of 100 degrees or more. He said word is five natural gas plants are being considered. Congressman Pfluger stated, “My role is to make sure the federal government does not step in and over-regulate and overreach and do what they have no business doing.”
• What can we do here in the state of Texas about the Permian Basin being threatened to be closed down just like other places?
AP: “The very first piece of legislation I introduced would have prevented the Biden Administration from placing a moratorium on federal lands – which was the very first thing he did. It has the power of law. What can we do as Texans? We have to speak up and we have to be part of the narrative: The oil and gas industry is doing more innovative things, it is lowering emissions, it is providing energy – not for us but billions of people around the globe, and we are doing so in a responsible way that gives us the energy we need.”
• What can we do about the border crisis?
AP: “The most important thing we can do is encourage your friends and family that live taxpayers, are spending because we have 1,000 Texas National Guard troops and 500 DPS troopers, and untold numbers of other resources, at the local level.
So, Congressman Pfluger asked to repurpose some of the 1.9 trillion dollars, that we don’t know where it is going, for reimbursement to state and local level officials who are using their resources to keep us safe. He went on to state that even Democrats along the border are getting hit hard with the crisis and don’t agree with the policies.
• The funds were allocated for the wall, so what do we need to do? Is there any way we can speed it up?
AP: He noted funds are allocated and have been appropriated and have been contracted. “There are steps the Governor is taking, but this is a federal issue – a matter of national security. It comes down to political will. There are folks on the other side of the aisle who have to be willing to say border security is important and is a matter of national security. Again, write and call your state Congressmen and encourage those you know to do the same.”
• Are the moderate Democrats scared of the bad guys? Some of them have been in there for years, and now they are turning very progressive.
AP: “Yes, they are scared. The Speaker of the House has them scared to stand up to the progressives.” An interesting story he relayed… “On the first day, the very first vote is for ‘Speaker of the House.’ Nancy Pelosi did not have enough votes. She built a plexiglass station for two people who had COVID because the rule was that you cannot come onto the House Floor if you have COVID. However, rules were altered because she needed the votes.
• Do you see evidence in other areas besides the border where some of the Democrats that are more moderate are showing signs of, at least in some subjects, defecting on those votes, or is it very monolithic still?
AP: “Mostly monolithic, but yes. Example: oil and gas. There are several people who represent these Districts that produce oil and gas, and they are Democrats. I have introduced a bill called ‘The Natural Gas Expansion Act’ which allows our country and our U.S. companies to more freely export natural gas, which we have an abundance of because of horizontal drilling and fracking in the Permian Basin. I want to cut the red tape and allow these companies to do that quicker. I have gotten a handful of Democrats already to join on that. Ted Cruz is sponsoring the same bill in the Senate with me.” Congressman Pfluger noted that every single day he walks up to Democrats explaining to them why certain tax policies are not good, why we need the oil and gas industry to succeed in the country, etc.
As Mr. Hoyt brought the meeting to a close, Congressman Pfluger concluded by saying he appreciated the opportunity to speak, he loves the job, even when it is not easy, and he is very passionate about the issues that were brought up. He thanked everyone for their support, trust, and faith in sending him and his family to represent the District. He also thanked the Rotary Club for the opportunity and what they do for the community.
For more information on Representative Pfluger and his involvement in representing you, go to <https://pfluger.house.gov/media/pfluger-fly-newsletterarchive>. Here you can sign up to have his newsletters sent directly to your email.
You can also contact Laura Almond, Regional Director in Llano for Congressman Pfluger, at: <firstname.lastname@example.org. gov> or call 325/247-2826 with any questions or concerns.