South Texas Politics - Interview with Texas Rep JM Lozano - Energy and Agriculture
"The Texas Democratic Party is no longer the party of Texas," according to Texas State Rep. J.M. Lozano. "They are the party of San Francisco." These are comments from Texas newest Republican state legislator during an interview with TexasGOPVote about the changing politics of South Texas.
During the past couple of years, South Texas has been moving more and more to the Republican party as its residents begin to understand the Democrat Party no longer represents the conservative values the region has long embraced. This was illustrated at the beginning of the last legislative session when State Rep. Aaron Peña switched parties and became the 101st Republican member of the Texas Legislature.
I decided to explore this political demographic shift by going deep into what used to be the darkest blue part of Texas, the Rio Grande Valley, and talk to some of the people who are leading the expanding Republican movement in South Texas. At a Bee County Republican Round-Up event, I had the opportunity to speak with Rep. Lozano.
State Rep J M Lozano with Bee County Tax Assessor-Collector Linda Bridge at the Bee County Republican Party Round-Up
During our interview, I learned about District 43 and some of the issues important to its residents. Two words sum up the economic interests of the area - Energy and Agriculture.
In what can be compared to a "black gold rush" complete with $150/night roadside motel rooms, the Eagle Ford Shale project has brought an economic boom to what used to be a relatively poor region of Texas. Lozano talks about standing up to the Sierra Club to protect this valuable resource for all of Texas by putting jobs over salamanders.
Clearly Lozano has always voted his districts values. He is Pro-Life and voted for HB 15, the Texas Sonogram Bill, which is now the law of Texas. His conservative values earned him the endorsement of Texas Alliance for Life. His pro-business and energy values also earned him the support of the Texas Oil and Gas Association.
Lozanos decision to switch parties was not taken lightly. Clearly he could have run again as a Democrat, most likely without serious opposition. Now, as a Republican, he faces several challengers to his seat. What I learned from Lozano is, he is a man of prinicple. After several encounters with big-city-liberal Democrat leaders like Houstons Jessica Farrar, it became clear to him the Democrat party no longer aligned itself with his or his constituents conservative values.
Lozano had several other interesting things to say, and we will take a look at these in future articles in this series. As we move into the next legislative session, it is becoming more clear that the best interest of South Texas conservative Hispanics is with the Republican Party of Texas.