Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, which covers large portions of south and west Texas, is currently represented in the US House of Representatives by Republican Will Hurd. Given his job, you’d think that Will Hurd’s primary motivation would be to look out for the best interests of those who live in south and west Texas–but you’d be wrong.
Instead, Hurd has proven time and time again that his motivation is not to look out for his constituents, but rather to adhere as closely as possible to the Republican party line. Whether it’s voting against allowing DREAMers to serve in the military, or opposing funding for veterans and schools, Hurd has used his time as both a candidate and a congressman to advocate for policies that hurt instead of help his constituents.
And he did so once again this week, when Hurd voted to end Amtrak service to Alpine and the Big Bend area. He voted in favor of an amendment to a Department of Transportation appropriations bill offered by fellow Texas Republican Pete Sessions. The amendment would have eliminated funding for the Amtrak Sunset Limited train line, which through San Antonio, Del Rio, Alpine and El Paso.
Thousands of Hurd’s constituents who live in west Texas are served by the Amtrak Sunset Limited line, especially because the Big Bend region isn’t served by commercial airlines, and bus options are limited. The line also helps boost the local tourism industry. Yet, none of these facts were important to Hurd when considering how to vote for this amendment–instead, he voted in lockstep with Republican leadership against his constituents’ best interests.
Fortunately, the amendment was stopped by 35 Republicans who voted with Democrats to kill it. Most of those Republicans live in areas served by the Amtrak Sunset Limited line, and chose to put their districts’ needs above politics, unlike Will Hurd.
In a statement, former congressman Pete Gallego, who will be challenging Hurd in 2016, criticized Hurd’s actions:
“In Alpine, we all understand the importance of Amtrak to our tourism economy and for our transportation needs. It is unfortunate that Congressman Hurd was not among the bipartisan group of congressional leaders who fought on our behalf last night.
Thankfully that group of common sense Democrats and Republicans were able to keep Rep. Hurd from shutting down the train service that is vital to our region.”
South and west Texas deserve a congressman who will put their needs above partisan politics. As he’s proven yet again, Will Hurd is not that congressman.