Interview with State Representative Wayne Smith, member of Hispanic Republican Conference (VIDEO)

The following interview with Texas Representative Wayne Smith is one of a series of interviews conducted by VOCES Action and TexasGOPVote with members of the Hispanic Republican Conference in the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature. Representative Smith represents House District 128, which includes Harris County.

Rep. Wayne Smith impressed me with his attitude of recognizing the ability of other state representatives. He expressed his participation with the Hispanic Republican Conference and explained how we can have a sensible conversation about protecting our natural resources and exploring and developing our vast resources without the environmentalists politicizing it.

This interview was done during a busy and long day in session, and so we did not have enough time to cover everything. I really desire to have more time with Rep. Smith and would like to have a follow up interview with him. Rep. Smith also served in the U.S. Army in the Republic of Vietnam, and I am very grateful for his service to our country.

I would like to talk more with him next time about the Second Amendment and about pro family values. I like the fact that he strongly supports Second Amendment rights, including the right-to-carry handgun law, and that he's a strong social and fiscal conservative. 

The Hispanic Republican Conference has been growing. Originally it was formed by the House’s five Hispanic Republicans but has since been joined by other State Representatives whose districts have at least 30% Hispanic constituents. The Hispanic Republican Conference will be addressing some issues that have been controversial in parts of the state with large Hispanic populations.

Hispanics make up 36% of the Texas population and this percentage is growing. Hispanics share Republican conservative values of fiscal responsibility, faith, hard work, family values, and are pro-life. VOCES Action has been educating and empowering Americans with Hispanic backgrounds, and who hold conservative values, to make more responsible and informed voting decisions.

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW:

Adryana Boyne: Good morning, we are here in the office of Texas State Representative Mr. Wayne Smith. Mr. Wayne Smith, thank you for taking some time from your busy schedule on the floor during session to give us this interview.

Wayne Smith: I'm glad to.

Adryana Boyne: Mr. Wayne, I would like to know if you can tell me a little bit about the people in your district. What are the main issues that they are concerned with?

Wayne Smith: Well, I think people in my district are concerned, as they are across the state, about taxes, about jobs, about the Texas economy, and where we go from here.

Adryana Boyne: Now I understand that you are a member of the Hispanic Republican Conference that was recently formed in the House of Representatives. Can you tell me, why did you choose to be a part of the Hispanic Republican Conference?

Wayne Smith: Well, I have many Hispanic friends back in my district, I'm a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, so it just seemed natural to me to be part of the Hispanic Republican Conference. Aaron Pena is a personal friend, so I was quite pleased to be of assistance, and be part of the Hispanic Republican Conference.

 

Adryana Boyne: Certainly it has been a real question for many of us Latino conservatives Republicans, the switch of parties that he did back in October, Pena identified that the Hispanic values are the Republican values. That has been a joy. Can you tell me a way that you think the Republican Party can outreach to the Hispanic community?

Wayne Smith: Yes, and I think we're making strides in that area. We've got a number of representatives, Jose Aliseda is on the Environmental Regulations Committee with me, very smart man, very dedicated to being a state representative, and very knowledgeable about the issues that we look into in Environmental Reg, and I think the values, family values, conservative values, are actually more in line in the Republican Party with the Hispanic culture than the Democratic values are, and I think with time, there will be more and more Hispanics that will want to be Republicans.

 Adryana Boyne: Well you mentioned that you are in the Environmental Regulations Committee. How can we have a sensible conversation about protecting our natural resources and exploring and developing our vast resources without the environmentalists politicizing it.

Wayne Smith: Well Texas, through the last ten years, has made great strides in air quality. Any data you look at indicates that Texas has made great strides, but yet we still have this influence from the EPA that kind of stymies what we're doing. We're working with the EPA, but actually kind of going on our own somewhat in the last ten years, and we're going to keep doing it the way we're doing it and make some improvements to what we have and go forward with a stronger and better environmental resource process.

Adryana Boyne: Mr. Smith, you also mentioned that jobs are important for the people in your district and certainly for all of Texas and all America, but developing the natural gas and oil resources on U.S. territory will lead to U.S. jobs and energy independence, yet Democrats and environmentalists are dead-set on preventing this. How can we move forward with developing these resources in Texas as well as the other states?

Wayne Smith: Well, just this session, we have a TCEQ Sunset Bill that's in the Senate now. Some of the measures that are in that bill should help Texas to develop more jobs, should be more job friendly. My district, I have many, many large petrochemical facilities, and my constituents work there, creates jobs, creates good jobs, helps the school system, so we need to make sure that that industry stays strong, so that we'll have the jobs, good schools.

Adryana Boyne: Well Mr. Smith, I want to say thank you so much for serving not only the people of your district, but also serving the people of Texas.

Wayne Smith: Okay, thank you very much.

Adryana Boyne: Thank you sir.

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