Rep. Todd Hunter on Redistricting, Immigration Reform, Conservative Hispanic Outreach, and Federal Agency's Hold on Cedar Bayou
by Adryana Aldeen on May 18, 2011 at 12:30 PM
The following interview with Texas Representative Todd Hunter 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 Hunter represents House District 32, which is in Corpus Christi area and includes Nueces, Calhoun, San Patricio, and Aransas Counties.
I had actually met Rep. Hunter about a month ago at New Braunfels Legislative Conference, and I was very pleased to see how personable he is. He told me a little bit about the people of District 32 and also that living on the coast makes the people of his district very concerned about hurricanes. Rep. Hunter also explained why he is part of the Hispanic Republican Conference and why he thinks the Hispanic Community is important. He has even done his own commercials in Spanish.
After the interview we remembered about the situation with Cedar Bayou. The people of District 32 want this abandoned Pass reopened, but it has been tied up in the federal agencies, so I asked him as a "Bonus" question if he could give us an update.
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 Representative Todd Hunter of Texas. Thank you Mr. Hunter for being with us this morning in your busy session day.
Todd Hunter: Yes, thank you, I'm glad to be here.
Adryana Boyne: Mr. Hunter, I would like to know if you could tell us a little bit about the people in your district, and what are the issues that they are concerned with?
Todd Hunter: Well, I have four counties. I have Nueces, which is Corpus Christi, I have Aransas, which is Rock Port, I have San Patricio, and I have Calhoun. They're coastal counties, they're by the ocean. So my folks, my constituents are interested in hurricanes, taxes, and protection on insurance. Those are the big issues for my folks.
Adryana Boyne: Are there a lot of hurricanes in your area?
Todd Hunter: Absolutely. We have a lot of threats. Most if the hurricanes in Texas are north or south of the Corpus Christi area, but we're always in a threat, and we're coming up to hurricane season.
Adryana Boyne: Well Mr. Hunter, I also know that you are a member of the Hispanic Republican Conference, which is a very new conference that has been formed in Texas House of Representatives. Why did you choose to be part of Hispanic Republican Conference?
Todd Hunter: Well, in Nueces County, there's a big growing trend, Republicans and Hispanic involvement, and I have been very active in trying to reach out because the largest growing population in the state of Texas is the Hispanic population. Being in South Texas, and for many years, I was the southern most Anglo public official that was Republican, and I work well and I think that it's extremely important that we all work together, but Nueces County led the state in Hispanic Republican wins. So it's very, very supportive, and I wanted to show my support today and in the future.
Adryana Boyne: Well Mr. Hunter, as National Director of VOCES Action, which is a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers the conservative community with conservative fiscal and social values, I get invited by the media a lot to debate liberal representatives or congressmen. A Couple weeks ago, I was on Univison up against Congressman Luis Gutierrez who claimed that Republicans never do anything to address immigration. My response was that yes, in fact, in Texas, we have a landmark Republican immigration legislation that's called HCR 88, it's a bill that addresses these issues. While the Democrats continue their piecemeal attempts. Mr. Hunter, do you have any idea when the HCR 88 will be scheduled to be on the House floor?
Todd Hunter: I don't know when it's going to be scheduled, but HCR 88 was filed by Representative John Garza, a Republican from San Antonio, and what he's trying to do is show that Texas is concerned with immigration and that Texas will do something in the immigration area. The key thing is Texas is doing something. The way we're doing it is we're working with Hispanics, Anglos, African Americans, Asians, all together talking about immigrations, so Republicans are taking the leadership, and they're doing it positively.
Adryana Boyne: President Ronald Reagan said that Hispanics are Republican, they just don't know it yet, and it has been a few years since he said, but I do believe that Hispanics have the conservative values. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do to attract the Latino vote to the Republican Party?
Todd Hunter: Well first of all, the Hispanics, the south Texans, are very family oriented, and the Republican Party is very, very strong on family values, there's one element. Two, fiscal responsibility, Hispanics, Anglos, we are all hard workers, especially in South Texas, we work very, very hard, so we're very fiscally responsible, and south Texans, Hispanics, Anglos are very, very strong on higher education and public education, and again, the Republican Party is doing this, so I think you're going to see a growing involvement of Hispanics and Republicans together because it's a natural thing.
Adryana Boyne: Also, the population is growing, we heard that we're going to have four new congressional seats in Texas. I'm from north Texas, from the Dallas area, and isn't great that the Dallas Fort Worth area is going to have a new U.S. Congressional seat, and do you have any information, I know that you are in the redistricting committee. I would just like to know if you have any information on where this seat is going to be?
Todd Hunter: We don't know yet because we haven't taken up Congressional redistricting, but yes, the Dallas Fort Worth area should be getting at least on of the new seats. The three others could be placed in Houston, the San Antonio Austin area, south Texas, or even Dallas as an argument they have two seats. So, we haven't finalized, but you'll start seeing us looking at Congressional redistricting over the next three weeks.
Adryana Boyne: Next three weeks, well another thing that I heard about you today is that you speak Spanish.
Todd Hunter: Muy poquito.
Adryana Boyne: Muy poquito, but you even do some commercials in Spanish. I do believe that the Spanish media is important in Texas and also in the nation, but yes in Texas, so you also do some of your advertisement in Spanish, right Sir?
Todd Hunter: Absolutely. I have one of my assistants, Angie Flores, she helps me translate, she makes sure I do it correctly, but it's important to me that we start talking to our Texans, that's Hispanic, Anglo, African American, Asian, and if we can take the growing population and show we care, we'd be much better public officials.
Adryana Boyne: Well, Mr. Hunter, I want to thank you for serving the people of your district, but mostly for serving the people of Texas. Thank you
Todd Hunter: Thank you very much.
Adryana Boyne: Muchas gracias Senor.
Todd Hunter: Muchas gracias.
Adryana Boyne: Mr. Hunter, can you give me an update please on Cedar Bayou?
Todd Hunter: Yes, in Aransas County, there's a pass, we call it the Cedar Bayou. It's a pass that we are trying to get opened. It has been closed, it's been basically left abandoned. When the public, when the people of Aransas County want it. It has been tied up in the federal agencies. The state has been very supportive of reopening, I've worked very hard to get the state's side, unfortunately, I'm not a US Congressman, and so I don't have control or jurisdiction over the federal government, but the federal government is where it has been basically slowed down, so the help me need to basically to the federal agencies get behind the state and that that pass opens.
Adryana Boyne: Thank you, Mr. Hunter.