Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

July 3, 2013

Hensarling gets warm welcome, tackles hard topics

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Fifth District U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling received a very warm welcome Tuesday as he arrived at the Norman Activity Center to conduct his periodic roundtable discussion with a roomful of Jacksonville residents.

For well over an hour, fiscal conservative Hensarling, R-Texas, was on hand to discuss a series of topics with residents, including Obamacare, immigration, the drug war in Mexico, the state of jobs in Texas, alleged excessive regulations in the the Environmental Protection Agency, taxes and the scandals currently rocking the Obama administration.

Hensarling visits Jacksonville periodically when conducting his “roundtable discussion” sweep of the Fifth District. Many in attendance greeted him more than once with “Good to have you back” ­ to which he responded, “Good to be back.”

In the Norman Center audience were public leaders such as Jacksonville Mayor Kenneth Melvin and District 4 Jacksonville Councilwoman Ann Chandler.

Also there were local businessmen such as Nathan Jones, Austin Bank's regional president.

Unhappiness with the actions of the federal government and its agencies was a big theme with  residents during the round of questioning.

At one point, Hensarling was asked if he thought the Internal Revenue Service could possibly be dissolved – a question the congressman instead steered toward discussion of a flat tax.

A flat tax – short for "flat tax rate" – is a taxing system with a constant marginal rate, usually applied to individual or corporate income.

Hensarling did, later in his comments, voice his belief that government has grown too powerful, too intrusive and way too expensive. He also briefly touched on Obamacare, which he said he believes will eventually collapse under its own weight.

He mourned the continuing loss of the more traditional and typical Texas bank that caters to families who have lived in one area for generations. He said he fears such banks are being replaced by ones that more corporately controlled and centralized – at the cost of empathy with loyal customers.

Ultimately, Hansarling stressed to the group that he wishes America could once again become a nation of immigrants and behave like one.

He contends immigrants have a strong, clear view of where they come from and where they are going. And he said they work twice as hard as many Americans.

“The greatness of America is its people and its commitment to liberty ­  but not in its government,” he said. “As government grows, liberty tends to yield.”

He praised Americans but added that while as a native Texan he understands the will of the state's conservative voters, he does not understand an electorate that puts Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi or Congressman Barney Frank into office for so many years.

One of the residents at the meeting contended to the U.S. Rep. that Texas has a positive habit of balancing its budgets ­ unlike Congress.

“Well,” Hensarling  said with a smile. “Texas is what's left of America.”

Born in Stephenville, Hensarling  grew up working on his father’s farm near College Station.

Earning a a degree in economics from Texas A&M University in 1979 and a law degree from the University of Texas in 1982, he spent ten years in the private sector, serving as an officer for a successful investment firm, a data management company, and an electric retail company before comming to congress.

He and his wife, Melissa, are members of St. Michael and All Angels Church, and reside in Dallas with their two children, Claire and Travis.