"I'm in favor of getting a light bulb manufacturer in Texas" says State Rep. Warren Chisum about EPA's lightbulb ban (VIDEO)
by Adryana Aldeen on May 17, 2011 at 1:37 PM
The following interview with Texas Representative Warren Chisum 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. Mr. Chisum represents House District 88, which includes 19 rural counties outside of Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas.
It was a great experience to interview State Representative Warren Chisum. He was very cordial in receiving VOCES Action and TexasGOPVote into his office very early in the morning and offering us coffee. Rep. Chisum is truly kind.
Rep. Chisum explained about the importance of the oil and gas industry. He also discussed the enviromment and the EPA and the EPA's incandescent light bulb ban. He said that he is very open to having a lightbulb manufacturer come to Texas.
On the subject of why he became a member of the Hispanic Republican Conference in the House of Representatives, Rep. Chisum opened up by describing himself as a realist. That word caught my attention because these are the types of people that the Republican Party needs. He spoke about the Hispanic population in his district and in Texas, and about the need for the implementation E-verify and the need for a guest worker program.
He also discussed a piece of legislation that will recognize foreign workers though E-Verify. I believe his ideas on how to solve the immigration problem is one of the most realistic answers I have heard lately, and coming from a member of the House of Representatives with such a conservative background, it is very encouraging to see that.
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.
Adryana Boyne: Good morning, we are here at the office of Representative Warren Chisum. Mr. Chisum, good morning, and thank you for taking this time from your busy schedule in session to have this interview with us.
Warren Chisum: Well thank you, my pleasure.
Adryana Boyne: Well, Mr. Chisum, in VOCES Action, we're very interested in fiscal and moral values, and I really admire you because I know that you are a man of values who has been serving for a long time here in the House. Can you tell us about your values and what shapes those values?
Warren Chisum: Well, I'm a Christian, raised in a Christian home. I'm a member of the Baptist Church, I chair the Bible study group here in the Capitol, where we furnish Bibles for all the elected members of the state. We actually have a pretty active program, and we met this morning. We pray for people who have special needs during the session. We're a body of 150, we have people in the hospital, under stress and strain, and we pray for the guidance in their life.
Adryana Boyne: Thank you Mr. Chisum. Tell us about the people in your district. What are the issues they are concerned with?
Warren Chisum: My district is basically a rural area, so we have a lot of small towns. I serve more than 50 school districts, have 19 counties, have large agricultural, have a pretty good sized oil and gas industry, a lot of people work in that, so it's basically hard-working rural areas that don't need new highways, we don't need a lot of laws, we just need to be treated fairly.
Adryana Boyne: Representative Chisum, you are on the Environmental Regulations Committee, right?
Warren Chisum: I am.
Adryana Boyne: Tell me, when will the Texas Legislature finally nullify the EPA's overreach into Texas environmental matters?
Warren Chisum: Well, let me tell you, it has been going on for years. EPA has repeatedly demanded that we clean our air up, that we do a better job with our environmental laws, and we have moved down that track. We actually were at one time the state that had the most violations in the Clean Air Act. We have since moved to only one county in the whole state of Texas that is in violation of one of the nine criteria for gases, and that is the Knox emissions in Dallas County, and we're on a good track to comply with that, so we're not about not being able to comply. Our issue is that the EPA keeps moving the goal, so if you have a fine goal, I worry about EPA moving that goal. It's something that they do and we respond to, but we're all for clean water, we're for clean air, we're for doing the right thing for the people of Texas, but we also know that we have to have jobs and automobiles and airplanes and those things to make Texas work because we produce more than any other state.
Adryana Boyne: Speaking of the EPA, a TexasGOPVote fan has told that South Carolina is now taking the EPA's lightbulb ban into its own hands. Should Texas do the same?
Warren Chisum: Well, the fact of the matter is that South Carolina produces lightbulbs, and their ban, what they're saying is we're going to make lightbulbs in South Carolina and sell them in South Carolina, so we're not subject to the Commerce Clause, which is what the EPA is using in this case. You bet you, I'm in favor of getting us a lightbulb manufacture coming to Texas, we'll sell lightbulbs in Texas, and we'll all be able to read with Texas lightbulbs, so I'm fine with South Carolina doing this. I support them because it's our right as Americans not to be just controlled by the federal government.
Adryana Boyne: Mr. Chisum, I understand that you are a member of the Hispanic Republican Conference that was recently formed in the House of Representatives. Why did you choose to be part of the Hispanic Republican Conference?
Warren Chisum: Well, I'm a realist, and I know that we have a growing Hispanic population, especially in my area, I have several counties that have a majority population of Hispanics. I have school districts that have up to 80-90% Hispanic children in our schools, so to deny the fact that the Hispanic population is here in Texas is just wrong for us, and we need to understand what their particular needs are, and they need to understand what we are, and the only way we can do that is let's get together and talk, let's talk about the values and stuff that's really important to us, work, earning money for your family, living here and not interfering with your lifestyle, we all have our own customs and we keep our own customs, but remember now we're Americans.
Adryana Boyne: Well that is important because as a matter of fact, in my case, as a Hispanic American, I became an American by naturalization, and I took an oath, and when I took an oath, I pledged allegiance to this country, leaving any other behind, and to me, it's important that people know, besides being a Hispanic American, I am an American first. Certainly, I do believe that the people have the wrong perception that the Democratic Party is the party for Hispanics, and I disagree with that. I believe that the Republican Party is the Party that has the values that most Hispanic people have, and I believe that it's time that the people can see that all Republicans are really embracing everyone because we are all Texans, we are all Americans. Can you tell us how you think we can outreach or embrace the Latino community in Texas?
Warren Chisum: The way we do that is by making friends with them. I have worked with Hispanics in my community on a regular basis and there is more in common than we have disagreement about, and we need to pursue our commonalities. In our area, we have a Hispanic President of our Chamber of Commerce, not a Hispanic Chamber, but the whole Chamber for the town, and I work with Hispanic leadership of that group, and we actually had Barbara Bush come to our town to speak this year, so you know, when you have common values, I think you just need to pursue them and forget about the fact that you were born in Mexico and I was born in Texas, that's just not an issue. We are both Texans, and we need to do what's right for Texas.
Adryana Boyne: Well you know President Obama is in El Paso today, and he's going to be speaking about immigration reform. We certainly know that he made promises in order to be elected to the Latino community, and in two years he never did anything, including when the Senate and the House were all Democrats, but we certainly know he is trying to use this issue to be reelected, and at the same time, I disagree with his position on immigration because I believe in the rule of law, and I believe it's important to protect our borders, at the same time, I do believe that we have, you used the word before, we have to be realistic, and we have to be realistic about what we can do. Would you agree Mr. Chisum that maybe there is a need in the state of Texas, and maybe in the whole country as well, besides that the federal government needs to do their job in protecting, the national security is important of course, regarding a guest program for workers?
Warren Chisum: I do, and I have a program that's working its way through the legislative process that will recognize undocumented foreign workers, not just from Mexico, but from any country, for whatever reason, but we will be able to let them earn a living, and when they want to go home, they can certainly go home, work in a process where they're not constantly in fear of INS, the immigration service, coming in and taking them away, nor the employers having any fear of using these people to perform the jobs that they're trained to do and doing a very good job at doing it.
Adryana Boyne: Does the bill have to do with the E-Verify?
Warren Chisum: It is the E-Verify, it's 3252, it's a bill that's working its way through the Calendars Committee, hopefully it'll be on the Calendars today.
Adryana Boyne: I think that sometimes it's sad that some Democrats I know that they are battling against that, they get confused, if you talk about Voter ID, they think we are talking about immigration and that we are anti-immigrant, if you talk about E-Verify, they again think that you are attacking immigrants, and that is not the case, certainly, I think that it is important we know who is here, and also that we can find a solution for the immigration situation. Mr. Chisum, is there anything that you would like to add regarding any other legislation or Committee that you are involved with.
Warren Chisum: Well, you know, those are the main things, and you know it's very important to me as an owner and operator of an oil and gas company, someone who has a farming operation where we use Hispanic cowboys, where we gather our cattle with Hispanic cowboys, we've worked with them for all of my family's life. They've been in my family, and we've worked side by side, and we need to stop the harassment of some law enforcement, namely the INS Services. You know, we need to as Republicans, we need to come up with a plan of what we're going to do. There's 13 million undocumented workers here in this country, and we need to be able to use them, to put the to work, where they can earn a living for their family and not be on our welfare road, and when they work for somebody have the employer provide health care, so that they don't show up at our hospitals and cost us and participating in our schools. It is just silly for us to say there's 13 million of them here, you've got to have a plan to deal with that and so that's what I'm trying to do, let's start dealing with it, and the best thing you can do is get them E-Verified, have a verification, know where they are, get them to the job market, perform the jobs that are out there, and by that, make productive members of society, not necessarily citizens, but productive members of society, and hopefully through the process of the law, can achieve citizenship if they want to, but many of them want to come over here and make their living, and they had just as soon go back to Mexico or El Salvador or other countries and retire with their families there, and that's perfectly okay.
Adryana Boyne: Mr. Chisum, your words are very realistic, and I wish that the liberal media will have someone like you explain this situation in the media because many times they talk about the people in the two extremes. They either talk about those that want a blanket amnesty, which we know is not possible, and on the other side, they interview those who want to have everyone deported, and I do believe that your solution and the words that you are sharing with me are realistic and balanced and that we need to find a solution respecting the rule of law for those that are here working. Mr. Chisum, I understand that you served in the Army for a few years. Can you tell us about your experience serving.
Warren Chisum: I did, I served 8 years in the Army, and fortunately I served at a time when the United States was not at war with anyone, so I served here in the United States, in fact, all but a short time in Texas, some of it in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, but you know, had a great time in the army, was a great teacher for me, learned to be a truck mechanic while I was in the Army, that was my job, and I actually used that when I got out of the Army, and went on then and became very successful when doing that.
Adryana Boyne: How long have you served in the House?
Warren Chisum: I have been in the House 22 years, so I have a long history in the House and passed many laws, probably way too many to recall.
Adryana Boyne: Well, Mr. Chisum, I want to tell you on behalf of VOCES Action and behalf of TexasGOPVote, we want to thank you for serving our country, for serving your district, and certainly for serving all the people of Texas. Thank you very much.
Warren Chisum: Thank you very much.