Using the base of the party to promote and deliver real, sustainable change, is often harder than it looks. Aligning the factions within the GOP to achieve sweeping victories is a difficult task. But if its done right and with the right leadership, the grassroots can be a powerful entity. Today we talk with Tom Slocum, former candidate for Texas Railroad Commission and a true grassroots insider. I also vent about the race baiting culture of the liberal Democrats and the dumb comments made by former NBA player, Kendrick Perkins.
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Welcome, everybody. It finally happened, folks. Today on the answer, I snapped. I just cannot handle the race baiting tactics of the left anymore. So I apologize in advance. We also discuss and debate the effectiveness of the grassroots organizations in the GOP. We chat with Tom Slocum about his experiences as a candidate for the Texas Railroad Commission. And we get his take on the grassroots. Please consider supporting this podcast. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook at Ben Armenta, Texas. You can also find out more about my story at Ben armenta.com. Do y'all ever do Mount Rushmore debates? You know where your family or your friends discuss and debate the top four of anything. Maybe throw in an honorable mention every now and then. I do this all the time with my family. We had one heck of a Mount Rushmore debate on just the other day about a week or so ago on which dipping sauces are the best for French fries. And you can imagine there's a lot of options that you could dip your french fries in and we only agreed on two out of the four. The two that one were gravy from water burger and raising Cain sauce. Everything else, including ketchup was fully debatable and caused lots of consternation, and we didn't exactly come to blows. But let's just say that there are still two open spots on the Mount Rushmore that we haven't settled anyway. We do this all the time. And if I had to make a Mount Rushmore of the stupid things liberals do. I mean, the big time lies that liberals and mainstream media tell. I am 100% Positive. I would put race hustling and race baiting on the Mount Rushmore, as absolutely in the top for when you get to the point in culture in society. When kids make jokes, calling things random things racist, that have nothing to do with race, then that makes the Mount Rushmore when he is in our when it's become a satire when it's become comedy, when it's infiltrated how our kids poke fun at each other. It is definitely on the Mount Rushmore. So this week, we have ourselves a doozy. And there's some people who think that celebrities and athletes need to use their platforms for political purposes. I've always been one of those folks who believes that athletes and celebrities mean they're welcome to do that. I mean, I gladly support their their right to do that. But I just prefer that they keep it out of their craft. Let let the sports be sports. Let TV or movies BE TV and movies. And keep the woke social justice activism outside of the lines of the field. Personally, I use entertainment, especially sports as my escape. It's an escape from from even this isn't an escape from talking politics and talking conservatism and being active in the community. It's just, it's just an escape, and I want to stay that way. So this week, there were some race hustling comments made on ESPN by former NBA player Kendrick Perkins. Why didn't he never bring up this in particular subject? When it comes down to guys winning MVP says 1990 is only three guys that won the MVP that wasn't top 10 and scoring. Do you know who those three guys were? Who are they? Steve Nash yoke EJ and a dirt in the whiskey. Now what do what do those guys have to come? I'll let you sit. I let it sit there and marinate. You think about it. Now here's the thing. I get it. I get it. We've evolved to a place where many of the shows, news and sports related are really just commentary. No more reporting the facts. And even even this podcast falls into that camp and it's cool. Like, I own it. It's commentary. Often my opinion, not intended to be the news. So I understand the platform, Kendrick Perkins used was one in which he gets paid to state his opinions. I get that. He's a commentator. He's a pundit. prognosticator. And now, obviously, a provocateur. So let me give you my take on this. First of all, Kendrick Perkins, are you serious right now? Are you serious? This is by far the dumbest take I have ever heard in sports. The dumbest take, there is no reasonable argument, to say that race played a factor in awarding the MVP to Niccolo joke, which not one bit. Not one bit. And it is a dumb, idiotic, ignorant take to say that race played a factor in awarding it to Dirk Novitsky, or Steve Nash. But besides the fact that this is ignorant, it is completely irresponsible. It continues to race bait and race hustle the audience into viewing everything in society, through the prism of race, see the left, the Liberal Democrats want everyone to believe that white people are privileged and non white people. I don't even call non white people minorities anymore, because if you live in states like Texas, white people are minorities. Anyway, they want society to perceive non white people as victims, which of course isn't true. This is the crux of critical race theory. All things in this world revolve around race. They want you and more importantly, your kids to believe that your destiny in life is facilitated by genetics. That it is manufactured by race. These people like Kendrick Perkins are idiots. And there's another thing here that annoys me. On one hand, Kendrick Perkins who's a black man, at least this is an instance in which a black man is playing the race card, as opposed to a white person telling blacks that they were victimize. But the thing that really gets to me is that he backed down from it. He didn't own it. When challenged by JD JJ Reddick. He was weak. He quote was implying something instead of coming out, and just plainly owning it and saying this is what he believes is weak. The Democrats are weak, the left is weak. And commentators who can't own their own opinions are weak, like Kendrick Perkins. Oh, want you to listen to my friend Wesley hunt. Wesley's a freshman Congressman, out of the Houston area. He's a West Point graduate, helicopter pilot, combat veteran and definitely an extremely sharp wired individual. He gave me some great advice when I was kicking off my race for Texas Land Commissioner and I was really lucky to have met his amazing family. And since getting elected to Congress, he's already made just a huge impact. And most importantly, he follows through on his concerns relative principles. I want you to listen to Congressman hunt discuss the southern border crisis. And as a strong black conservative, his take on race. My colleague Mr. Gooden talked about race and using the word racism and racist and, and I've been black for a long time, sir. So I, I get it and I and I've been a minority in this country for a very long time. But this is actually not about race. This is actually an issue of public safety. And if I call this if I call this invasion, sir, I'm not racist. I can assure you I'm not racist. What I can assure you is that I want to make sure that fentanyl doesn't indiscriminately kill any race, religion, color or creed, because fentanyl doesn't care where you're from. Fitness doesn't care about race, fit no kills indiscriminately. This gentleman right here works his tail off every single day to stop that from happening. Now there has been a break in the dam. And that's pretty obvious, because a couple of years ago, of course, we had some problems, but it wasn't amplified to the level that we are seeing every single day. And the reason why we have to be careful with what we call and what we deem racist moving forward in the future is because we stopped we stopped losing, we start to lose focus on what the actual problem is. This administration, a Democrat Party, unfortunately, uses race as a scapegoat for everything. And as somebody that wants to make sure that we do attack racist issues when they do occur. We can't be the boy who cried wolf, and blamed racism all the time. I am here to hold this administration accountable to understand that there are issues of race that need to be addressed. And sir, this ain't one of them. Day Congressman Hunt was in Waco that day. I mean, I could not have said it better myself. When there are true racism issues. We, as a society, need to address them. But Americans are becoming more and more desensitized to those real issues. Because of the approach from the left. We cannot be the boy who cried wolf and blame racism all the time. So Kendrick Perkins, you did your job. You did it. Good on you. You created clickbait, you created waves on the interwebs. Congrats. But seriously, you're only making things worse, not better. And for that, I hope people just go ahead and turn you off and turn off ESPN and just pick up a basketball themselves and go outside and play with their kids. One of the challenges every political party faces, and this includes the Republican Party, for sure, is reconciling the factions within it and reconciling them in order to achieve some kind of sweeping victory victories at the polls. Victories from a public policy standpoint. Let's take the Democrats as an example. For decades, Democrats from the South who were hard and fast on always voting Democrat were they were referred to as Yellow Dog Democrats meaning they'd vote for a yellow dog before they'd vote for a Republican. Then the term Blue Dog Democrat was coined in the 1990s, which described sort of these moderate Democrats. And these would be people who maybe would be pro welfare, pro social security, but also own a gun and be way more pro life than pro abortion. And having grown up in the Catholic Church, I came across tons of Blue Dog Democrats. Well, and now today, you've got people who are more on the extreme side as well people like the Bernie Sanders Democrat socialists, or the crazy commies, which we now call the squad, with Ilhan Omar and AOC and others. And the challenge for the Democrat party at all levels, local, state, federal, is how they bring together those groups to form some kind of strong broad narrative to turn out the voters. And this issue is the same with the the Republican Party as well. We have groups like the Tea Party, which include Ron Paul, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, we have groups like the Freedom Caucus, individuals like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt gates, and many of those individuals. They held out during the last congressional House Speaker election, if you recall, in January, and many of these types, they're very pro Trump. And so of course, you've got groups that are like the liberal Republicans. They essentially were mean they're kind of the moderate super moderate conservatives. So Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was Governor of California, he would been exact an example of that. And then you've got the Never Trump errs, like John McCain, Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, and tons of others. I mean, let's not kid ourselves. There's the Never Trump errs are a massive group of Republicans and a massive voting bloc. And there are millions of registered Republicans who are basically anti Trump, anti Orange Man, anti mean, Tweeter guy. But within the Republican Party, there are subsets of these groups that do more community organizing. They host local meetups and do presentations. They interview candidates and do endorsements. They'll organize events like protests and petitions. And then they'll publish slates of candidates to convince voters as they're walking into the polls on who the right ones are. And those groups we refer to affectionately as grassroots. And they're usually very knowledgeable on the political process, and where and how they can best create an influence. The problem I often have with grassroots is that I'll although they sometimes represent, for sure, some of the finest men and women and minds in our party, they face what can often seem like an insurmountable battle against the establishment. Let me give you an example. In the 2022 election for congressional district two in Texas, there were a bunch of folks who primaried sitting Congressman Dan Crenshaw, and the gist was that Crenshaw had provoked the conservative base with his more moderate stance on guns, global economy, World Economic Forum, open borders, his stance on the vaccines and COVID policies. So he was primary by a bunch of people and one of them named Jamison Ellis is a very strong candidate. He has over 45,000 followers on Twitter, a massive media multi sort of platform audience, videos, radio, a bunch of different things. He he was endorsed by a gubernatorial candidates like Chad Prater. And he went, he went everywhere. He was at every rally in that district, every event he could possibly make, and I traveled all over the state at the time, but any time I was in that district, it seemed like Jameson Ellis was there, of course, no, Dan Crenshaw, but Jameson Ellis was there. And he was telling his story about being a fighter for Texas and standing up for conservative values. And because of that, he earned many endorsements, and a bunch of them from strong grassroots groups, some groups with 1000s and 1000s of followers and members, and when you combine them all together, really hundreds of 1000s of members across all these groups. So some examples included to Texas project, the oil and gas Workers Association, taking back Texas, Katie Christian magazine, I mean, montgomery county Freedom Caucus, and tons of others. So, how did it play out? The to guess? Well, Dan Crenshaw won that primary with 74.5% of the vote. It wasn't even close. So how effective are these grassroots really? Do they even have the muscle to sway the voters? Are they are they all bark and no bite? And I mean that as a phrase of endearment. I mean, many of these grassroots organizations bring to the table. Great folks, great ideas. But can they really make things happen in our party? And in the current political system? Is it even possible to drive real reforms with them, let alone without them? All right, well, today we're joined by one of my campaign Road Warrior buddies, Tom Slocum. Tom is just another good Aggie an oilfield entrepreneur, a conservative grassroots in blue are all around good guy. And Tom has been on the frontlines of growing Texas's economy and growing the American Conservative culture for quite some time now. And I've asked him to join me today. So we can spend a little bit of time discussing the grassroots and our overall political landscape. So Tom, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks so much for having me, Ben, it's great to join you, you know, I've met a lot of great people on the campaign trail. And then it was definitely one that stood out as being somebody that was genuine. And, you know, very firm in his beliefs. And I appreciate that, you know, you don't run across too many people like that, that come off in that manner, and that are also able to have those conversations with their constituents, not afraid to speak up. So it's wonderful to be with you today, Ben, thanks for having me. You bet, man. So I've got a ton of ground I want to want to try to cover here. But first, I want to talk about the challenge we're having reconciling our conservative agenda with our GOP, public policy priorities and reconciling those with the grassroots. And the elected officials that ultimately end up in office, it seems like no matter how hard conservatives push, and how much clarity they bring, to the things that are important to them, the establishment just keeps doing what they want to do. That's right, you know, we can we can pass our legislative priorities, you know, there's a top eight. And we're we're always very loud about that, and vocal about, Hey, these are our priorities that are coming from the grassroots. And y'all really need to pay attention to this and service the party here, because without the grass roots, and the party, you know, the leadership positions you have, would not, you know, be possible, we make you possible here in Texas, GOP. And there's a disconnect, because a lot of those people feel like, we don't matter that, you know, they just take us for granted, they don't realize that we're the people that make their positions possible. And that we do have a lot of influence over the state of Texas. And if people are not performing like they should, especially a hearing, or going against, in some cases, our legislative priorities, you know, we're not going to sit here and be silent about it. And I have seen cases where members of the legislature have been caught on tape. Some of them probably don't even care that they were caught on tape, making statements about how they, they don't care about the grassroots. And these are people that hold major positions in our party in the legislature. Right, and they just have a utter disregard for what we want to do. And that's not acceptable, you know, even if they feel like they disagree with us, they should be addressing it. And they should themselves not be afraid to come out and explain to their constituents why they're against one of our legislative priorities, if that's the case, but these people are scared to speak up, and they'll run their own agendas without even addressing our priorities. In many cases. It's fascinating. It's as if in campaign season, they say one thing and then they get elected and do something Totally different. I mean, it's crazy. And it never heard of that before. But, you know, the grassroots is so good at defining objectives, and bringing clarity on what the mission at hand is whether it's the mission for the next two years of the mission for the next four years, but look like this is where we want the conservative alignment to be. And yet the establishment gets in office and says at, we're gonna do whatever it is we want. That's right. That's right. You know, they have their own goals. They would explain this while they're running, you know, you know, the more very moderate members of our party, you know, like Mr. Phelan or date feelin every pronounce his last name from Beaumont has utter disregard in many cases. And also for things like school choice. You know, we've had members of our party fight against school choice. Well, I've got sad news for everybody, because the governor is on board. 100%. So if they want to fight the governor on his agenda now, you know, I guess they're welcome to but that's not a fight I would ever want to be involved in. And it's really, it's that's the one that really blows my mind. You know, once you have Greg Abbott on board. You know, why would you want to go against the state leadership priorities at that point? As a sitting member of the Texas Legislature? Do you think your constituents really feel that way? Or is there something going on here that we don't know about? About you in the reasons why you're lobbying for this particular legislation? You know, I think that there's a lot of money coming in from groups like Texas for lawsuit reform, and others that, you know, people think, Oh, this is a conservative organization. Well, and you know, reality. These people are backing Democrats over Republicans in many cases, they, they backed a Democrat over my friend Rubin file con and out in West Texas, when he ran for state legislature, I found out to you that Texas, Texas for lawsuit reform gave his opponent a Democrat 1000s of dollars in a race which he narrowly lost. Right? Reubens a good day, man. Yeah, you would have done Texas very proud days in the fight, because he That's right. That's right. And that was a very close race, very close race. And so when you look at some of these organizations that will lots of power of the biggest donors in the state of Texas. And many times these donors are in the in the form of organization, so you don't know exactly who it is. And so you do the research on the organization, and then you find out where their money is coming from. And that's, that's when you figure out a lot of their money comes from Democrat attorneys in the state of Texas. Yeah. And it's, it's, it's super frustrating. I don't have a problem with moderates who come from a moderate district. representing their folks, what I have a problem with is moderates who are posers as conservatives, whose district is strong conservative, who puts them in office, and then they don't represent the interests of the people that put them there. That's super frustrating, in fact, but we're seeing a little bit of a trend where conservatives are coming together to try to put an end to this this past week, the Republican Party in Texas censured Congressman Tony Gonzalez. And that's a big deal. I mean, so maybe explain to our listeners, what censure means and what they could kind of expect as a result of that. Right. So instead of Texas, you know, you can be censured in your own party for basically going against your own party. And we have rules within the party that allow us to do that. This isn't somebody just waking up on the wrong side of the bed one day and deciding I don't like this person. And, in fact, in the case of case of Tony Gonzalez, I want to say there was over a dozen GOP groups that voted to censure him. So this isn't something that's done by the virtue of one person or just one organization. It's done through the collective of many different groups. And in this case, I think it was Medina County that led it, but the result is going to be that not only does everybody have to read newspaper articles about Tony Gonzalez being censured and it making headline news actually in America coast to coast that this happened, but it also allows for the party just and money in a primary against him. That's probably the biggest thing about being censured is that your own party can now spend money against you in a primary, which typically never happens at all whatsoever, you know, unless you're being censured. Yeah, that background come in there. That's right. And I will say this, when you are in a more moderate district, you have to take into account that you have a lot more swing voters and the border districts always have been. And I did get to speak to Ruben Farrakhan about this very subject where Spock is speaking better right now about the censorship. And when, when I explained this to Ruben, and we talked about it, he said, you know, Tom, you know, it's very, very interesting districts we have here. And when you realize how many people you have swing back and forth, in you realize how hard it is to play for these groups of people, then you can see how some of these votes may happen. But it's, it's still despite him being censured, I think it's important for people to understand that it is incredibly hard to unseat an incumbent. And it will be almost impossible to defeat him. And I'm trying to remember the name of the Democrat that's up to run against him here. I forgot. I've got him on my phone here. But he's, he was a friend of mine, my buddy from Del Rio, and he's from the area and he'll definitely have a strong Democrat opponent in his general election, but Tony Gonzalez, he is simply going to be one of these Republicans that's not going to vote, hardline Republican, because he's afraid of Democrats using that against him in his race. And he's certainly afraid of losing his next race, it seems. And he's willing to sacrifice that knowing that there's repercussions for his votes. You know, he's he's decided early on, that he will vote the way he and what he believes his district wants. And ultimately, you know, the constituents of that district will let us know in the lesson next election, whether or not that was acceptable or not. And people might be surprised if he wins, they may not be surprised if he wins. But it is important to hold people accountable in our party, we have these priorities for a reason. And, you know, we cannot let stuff like this go without being mentioned. And it is important to censure people in the party, especially if you're a sitting congressman, or sitting senator in the federal office making these decisions. You represent a huge portion of the state of Texas, if you're a congressman, in Washington, DC, and this is some small little, you know, Texas Legislative District we're speaking about here, this is a major congressional US Congressional District. And we've got to treat it seriously. Because it is. So one of the one of the challenges that I think exists with the grassroots and our party is that they sometimes can be very loud and vocal, at least in political and Twitter, spheres and political circles. And sometimes they can mobilize enough to make somebody you know, I mean, the the Tea Party movement and how that catapulted Ted Cruz. The grassroots that ride around, Chip Roy continue to rally around him and the Freedom Caucus members. But sometimes, no matter how loud and organized, the grassroots gets it gut, it's very difficult to do what you just said, and that is removed an incumbent or break the broken part of of the party, get them out of the way and get somebody else in there. It's very difficult to do. I mean, we've seen it in, in congressional district too, with with Crenshaw and others, really around the country. When the grassroots gets organized, sometimes they still don't have enough movement in order to really get the the the polls to turn out for conservatives to really move the needle. Right. Yeah, you know, it's, it's interesting, I would say that, you know, there are instances where the grassroots candidate does win. And and you know, this because when they get elected, they don't have any help from anyone. And that's, and I'd say, Marjorie Taylor Greene is a great example of that fact. And it's taken her a while to get organized and actually come around. She had no help from the establishment at all if you're a real challenger. are a real grassroots candidate, they're not going to be on your side because they do have somebody else. So they rather have their besides you. It's always the case, it's always the case. And so we have seen a lot of organization amongst the grassroots with the Tea Party movement. And defeating David du Hurst that we people need to realize who Ted Cruz was running against a lot of people, they realize who Ted Cruz is, when they realized the Tea Party helped him get there, but they don't understand the background behind it. They knew we had to defeat to get there. And how that was a major blow, actually, to the bush machine in the state of Texas, when they lost control that said, See, the other pic did not win. And this is somebody that actually worked in the Bush administration, Ted, Ted worked there early on, it's where he met his wife. So this is somebody from inside the bush machine that went against the bush machine and one, and he had to hire a bulldog, Jeff Roe, I believe is his name to in order to make that possible. And so it's a it's not an easy feat to overcome the machine, you have to be well funded. And Ted was able to do that. And without being very well funded. It's going to be incredibly, incredibly hard. Some people do manage to get by in congressional races. But as soon as See, there's no way unless you've got major money. And ascendancy is, on the same level as a statewide elected official, we'd write national attention and national dollars coming international dollars, you know, being being funneled towards influencing those elections. Yeah. And so when you're on that level, you know, you're already in a serious territory of having major influence, but the US senators, arguably, you know, more competitive, and there's more prestige to it, than even our statewide level seats. So people I don't think really understand how big of a deal Ted Cruz winning was. And, and it's not really mentioned in in the party, objectively, understanding what actually occurred, you know, take Ted Cruz's name out of it, put anyone's name in there that was able to defeat the machine like that. And then you'll understand and look at the actual amount of money that he was able to raise, as a challenger with no Office experience, you know, he had worked as a police, Solicitor General, I believe, in Austin before that. So he did have some name ID and party recognition. And, of course, people know Ted very well, no, he's a very conservative person. So that helped when he went to run, but this isn't something that's done easily. And but it is something that does need to be done. And for a state like Texas, which is solid red, there's absolutely no excuse for not having someone like Ted Cruz represent us in the Senate. And there's many, many such cases, Kentucky, you know, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, right? Or how does that even happen? Well, Texas, you know, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, and it's a fight against the establishment. And that's what happens when the establishment loses when I actually get a conservative. One of the sort of winning attributes that I've identified with, with sort of these groundbreaking, disruptive individuals who get elected, has been that they identify at least one anchor message in their platform that resonates wholeheartedly with the grassroots. You could take Trump in 2016. With security, right, it was about as about the border wall. It was about defeating ISIS and security was this thing. You could take Younkin in Virginia, and is focused on parental rights and elevating the role of families in society. What what do you foresee in the next year or two, whether it's in the state scene in Texas or nationally? What do you foresee as being that that one or two sort of threads that if candidates can latch on to it, it can move the needle for them because it would resonate with the grassroots? Yeah, I do think families are very important. And Glenn, you can, you know, hit the nail on the head for Virginia. I think it worked very well. I do think that if you're you're running a local race, in almost all races are local unless you're running for president. You know, you do have to fine tune it to your state. But I believe in Virginia, that was the perfect, perfect message to go for. And I think when you're talking about swing states, like Virginia, I think it's the correct message to run on. And I think that because it was so successful with him, I think, you know, there's no reason why every GOP candidate running should not be mentioning it. It's just a matter of which you're going to lead, what are you going to lead with? And how much time do you want to spend discussing it? And does your state need it? Or have you already been successful? And Arizona, they have school choice, they've had school choice for years, Arizona actually has Democrats now in charge of it, and they have school choice, you know, and so, the, it depends on what the issue is, you know, we're still fighting for it here in Texas, why, you know, we shouldn't even have to be worried about that. So clearing the slate and pushing some of these items, you know, getting them pushed into law in your state and pushing them off to the side, then you're you've got your state taken care of if it's a national problem. And it's something that actually needs federal policy, which is Republicans and conservatives, we really try to handle things at the local level, and then at the state level, and lead the federal government out of it. But you know, as far as federal policy goes, you know, it's important to be careful which federal policies you plan to promote, or go against when you're running for federal office. And there are great topics to discuss. Ted Cruz has been hammering ESG very hard lately. And I agree with him wholeheartedly on that. If you look at President Biden's last big spending bill that he pushed through in Congress, I believe it was in August or September, and it was basically climate change bill. And it was very heavy on, you know, subsidies and rules. And it's, it's things like that, that get thrown into an omnibus and you have no idea what really happened here. So the Democrats are constantly trying to do everything they can throw in an omnibus bill, and have, you know, one vote for one bill. And, you know, you'll be damned if you don't vote for that one bill, because you're voting against funding everything else. And they use that to get their way. I'll say I have one prime example of that. Okay. When I ran for office, what am I good close friends, fraternity brothers from Texas a&m. Father was a Marine Corps pilot, career Marine Corps pilot, himself, he wanted to be a pilot, he ended up flying in the Navy, and becoming a naval flight instructor. And he was instructing people on the biggest helicopter they have in the Navy. And it's a CH 65, that goes out and does search and rescue missions for the Navy and the Marines. And so he called me during my campaign, and he said, Tom, you know, they're gonna kick me out of the military, because I'm not going to take this vaccine. Can you believe that? So this is insane, man, you're probably one of the best pilots in the Navy. And you've got millions of dollars pumped into you. And this flight time and training, You're irreplaceable to the United States military right now. And they're gonna kick you out because they want you to take a shot. You know, I was incredibly mad. This is personal. And so yeah, I call a congressman Crenshaw 's office numerous times, because he's my congressman, at the time, and I said, Hey, Dan, you know, what's going on here? Why aren't you fighting for this? You should not be voting for anything in Congress until this is reversed, you know, damn, well, it's wrong, and it's gonna get reversed anyways, which it is now. Right. Right. And you and I both, but no, at the time, these Republicans were absolutely spineless because they gave in to Democrat demands of an omnibus bill. Right. That's unacceptable. That's absolutely unacceptable from somebody that was in the Navy, you know, and served our country and knows damn well, what it means to kick that many people out of the military, when arguably, you know, we're fighting in foreign wars right now. Just you know, in conflicts with we could be involved in very quickly, lots of foreign aggression. We need a strong military ran out. We're funding all this battles around the world. Why would you want to weaken our military, that somebody that was a commander or lieutenant commander in the military, I've got lots of questions for you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your service, but this is very questionable. There's somebody who has a lot of friends in the military, why you'd want to kick them out over a shot. That to me, was unacceptable. And I made many phone calls. And now Dan Crenshaw likes to parade around like he had a lot to do with with getting that stopped. But let me tell you for months on end, he told me that I was against the military. And I was against America, if I would vote no on that, he said, Are you against the millet? Are you against America? Is that what it is, and he would his people in his office would speak to me in that matter in that tone, and act like this wasn't a big deal to have a shot. And it wasn't a big deal to kick somebody out of the military. That's unacceptable. And it's, it's a great example on how important it is, as a voter to understand if you're electing a principle, lead, individual or not, and sort of assessing during the campaign season, where is their red line, and we know in in all jobs and careers, and especially in politics, there are there are trade offs. But you want to know in circumstances that when push comes to shove, where this individual is going to lie. And in this example, it's a great example, where it was a matter of, you know, siding with the Democrats pushing all these things buried in that bill forward, or say, I'm going to put an individual verse I'm going to put the health and safety and security of the individual, which adds up to hundreds of 1000s of servicemen and women, I'm going to put them first in order to do right by this country. It's very telling, isn't it very telling about urging the military, okay, and say what you want, but that's exactly what it was they purged the military of all these people. And if they don't pass a bill to rehire those people and give them their jobs back in the next year, I'm going to be incredibly Yeah. And they did it for for their outcomes for what they're wanting to do. They didn't do it, because it benefited those individuals. That didn't do it, because it benefited the overall ranks and strength of the military. That didn't do it because it benefits the security policy for you and me and our interests around the globe. They did it for their own self interest. And that that's where I believe the majority of voters would absolutely draw the line. And but it's the grassroots who are trying to highlight it, we just need everybody else, to listen to what's happening at the grassroot level, so that they can be informed voters when they go to school. They gotta understand that there's a real disconnect between the way a lot of these congressmen and senators vote in DC. And, you know, I don't care what you say, if you took a poll of CD two. At the time, when it was a major issue back in June and July, or now, that poll is going to be the same, those constituents would not want military members being forced to take that vaccination. And, you know, those constituents need to understand that there's people they don't have to settle for someone that doesn't vote the way their district votes, if they're in a red district, and they know damn well. However, the voters in that district feel about these issues, they should be represented not correctly, I mean, Tom, you're spot on, if there is one call to action that our listeners need to take away from this. It is before you go vote, look up the history of your current elected officials and what they voted on, and see if that aligns with, with where your values are at and what you would expect to them. Because often, that's not the case. And you you go about your day, or people go about their day, feeling like their representatives are representing them. But they might not be they might be casting their end. And there could be reasons, I'm sure there are reasons, and you could do exactly what you just did. You could pick up the phone, you could email mail them, you could tweet that you do whatever, like go find out why they voted the way they did. They'll give you an excuse every time. The question is, you know, do you buy their excuse for not valid right. Tony Gonzalez will give you excuses on the reason he voted the way he did. And listen, you know, his district isn't solid read, you know, that is, you know, up to him to decide at the end of the day, and he will you know, have to deal with it come election time. And you may be surprised he easily wins reelection but and districts where we know we've got solid red constituents which there are several love around the Houston area alone. And you know, we just we don't have have to settle for that. Because we know how the voters feel we know who the constituents are. We know how deep red these areas are, you know, very arguably for Harris County, I would say that a lot of people have moved out of Harris County and into montgomery county and then the surrounding counties to escape. The communism has taken over, you know, Harris County with Lena Hidalgo and all the ARPA money that's being flooded into these democratic organizations, and you're seeing just complete Democrat takeover in the county at the county level. So it's, it's it's changing these districts makeups. And we have redistricting now, right? All these lines have been redrawn. Things are not the same as they were four years ago. People have to understand really how all of this is impacted by redistricting. And really, if we want to grow these districts, and add more voters to the voter rolls, which is what I would like to do here in Harris County, as fast as possible, try to win this county back. But we've got to actually lead on these issues, and show them that we're not scared to get involved. If you want to draw voters into the conversation. They want people with spines, they want people without bones. And look, I think most voters do, I think a very high percentage say they want people who have principles who govern with their heart and their mind to follow through on their promises, that that's what people want. It's just a matter of whether or not they're getting it on the back end. Well, look, I want to shift gears here a little bit. You brought up, you brought up your race. I was very grateful to run the race I did to see all different parts of Texas. But by far, one of the most fascinating parts of my race was running it alongside the Texas Railroad Commission race. Y'all had a wild primer primary. So many things happened in that in that primary what what was it like being in that race? It was without a doubt the wildest thing I've ever experienced in my life. I had people come at me to try to destroy my campaign, which I did not suspect we would happen to be honest, I thought I would be a relatively nobody on the radar. And the next thing you know, I'm like, well, I should start recording this so I can sell the script to Hollywood. And after this December, this is insane. But it's it's pretty crazy. You know, these people come out of the woodwork. Sometimes they have their own agenda. You know, there, I have a feeling there were people in West Texas that did not like the fact that I decided to run. And, and they were, you know, adamant to do anything they could to take me out. And, you know, I had text messages saying drop out now or we're going to the press and my reply back to those people were, I'll be happy to call the Texas Rangers right now. But, you know, I'm not going anywhere. And I ended up having to call the Texas Rangers. I mean, that's just, that's a distraction to your campaign, when you don't have campaign manager to handle that for you. You know, it's, it's a big, it's these people come in to disrupt what you're doing for a reason. They want to shut you down. They want to try to get you thrown out of the race. And so and then you have people like Sir Stogner, you know, practically getting naked and you know, running as a Republican. Well, that's, that's great. So, I was I was driving. So I was running against at the time Senator Don Buckingham, and several others for the Texas Land Commissioner. And I was driving into Austin to go to a Republican women's event at the country club where Don Buckingham and her take her mom are members and so sort of going into the lion's den, and I'm driving there, and I talked with my campaign manager, and he says, Did you Did you see what just came out from the lady running in the railroad Commissioner's race, which I said, I said, No, he goes, Well, I'll send it to you. You'll have to look at it at some point because I was driving. I said, All right. So I get I get there to this luncheon. And now Commissioner Buckingham, she was very cordial and pleasant. And we are catching up in the back of this room, this room full of you know, older folks who were there for this event? And she leans over to me and says, What about that railroad commission race? I said, yeah, a lot going on. She goes, Did you see the video from Sarah? And I said, I said, No. And I go to grab my phone. And I sent my, my campaign manager just sent it to me. And she put her hand up on my phone and said, now's not the time, but you'll have to, you'll have to look at it later. It's like, All right, so I go through go through the event, but now I'm dying, right, because I'm super curious. And I get back in in my jeep later on, and I watched the video. And so for those of you that don't know, she essentially put out this Tik Tok video of her naked riding a pump jack talking about her assets. I was stunned. But you know, the money started coming in from out of state into her race, when the interest was, was crazy. This got picked up by you know, New York Post and a bunch of publications or a lot of free press out of it, she got easily over a million dollars with the free press out of it. And she beat me in the runoff by or excuse me in the race, I didn't make it through her off, she did. She beat me to get into the runoff by 10,000 votes, and arguably with weigh over a million dollars more in in free press to get there. And I would say without her circus stunt, that, you know, maybe she would not have made it to the that runoff. But I would also note quickly that she has left the Republican Party according to her social media posts lately, and she has joined the Foreign party. And, you know, I told everyone around me at the time when she was running in that race against me that I don't believe she's a true Republican. Those are my personal beliefs. And I think she's being very opportunistic, and take it for what you will if you want to support her, and by all means it's your decision. But I've been involved with the party for decades now. And so you can vote for a Republican if that's the way you feel. And look, this is a primary right. And you know, well, as I've been, most people to vote in primaries are party loyal, true. And, and so I would say that a lot of people that they got decided to vote for her are likely Democrats, actually, those were a lot of Democrats that voted for her. And one of the first phone calls I got after this election was from cat parks. Okay, the Vice Chair. And one of the only things we talked about on that phone call was Sarah Stogner. She wanted to know what I thought about that in what I thought about the election. And I said, I believe we need closed primaries in the state of Texas. Yeah, personally, and sit down. You probably don't agree with me on that. And you might have an argument as to why not? And she told me that, you know, it's it's terrible in New Mexico, where she's from, because people figure out what party you're registered to. And then they don't give you permits to do things and they won't let you conduct business or transact in New Mexico, if you're a Republican, which I kind of find that hard to believe. But also, you know, question turned civil, what do you think our Republican attorney general would feel about that if that happened in the state of Texas as a result of having closed primaries? Yeah, I mean, we he said, Well, we have controls in place, right? Or we can continue to put some controls in place. People People know what primary voted for in voted in, in Texas, usually half the time anyways, where you can get all this information. So it's not really a secret. I got news for everybody. Like, you know, Ben, and I can find out if you voted in a Republican primary. So what's the difference between finding out after the fact or being registered ahead of the fact? Well, the difference is, you know, 100,000, people don't cross over and vote for Sara Stogner. In the Republican primary. Yeah. When you when you have these elections. And even in the state of Texas, you have these elections that are swung one way or the other by a few 1000 votes or 10,000 votes in a state with almost 30 million people. That that can be a big deal. It can absolutely be a big deal at all levels, including statewide races and you know, and then in that race, for those of you that don't know, there was a another gentleman who was in the race, who in the middle of the campaign passed away. And he was void, just a salt of the earth kind of guy who is you know, eight years old. As of of being in the in the oil field, I think there's all Field Services which primarily were where he operated in, but, man, he was just wanting to give back. Great, great guy. Sarge was his nickname too, right? Yeah, Marvin Sarge summers. And yeah, I mean, he was a great man, you know, I, I was equally aggressive when I ran. And I wanted everybody to debate. I thought that was a healthy thing to do. No, I wanted to bet on what a wing Christian to debate. You know, and I, the one thing I managed to get out of Sarah was for her to agree to debate early on, because she was aggressive as well. Everybody's got their different campaign styles, he had his and God bless him. I mean, he got a lot of votes in the state of Texas, you know, in the long run, and so he did have an impact on this race. And I never got to truly ask him, and I never understood exactly why he chose to get into the race and run against Wayne Christian. But, you know, anytime anyone decides to challenge an incumbent, good for them, because there's usually a reason why, whether they'll speak about it or not. And it's one of the hardest things you'll ever do. It's definitely not an easy race. This is not a cakewalk. This isn't an open sea. You know, we had many open congressional seats, this last go around, you know, where you can come in as a big name and just take it and run, know, you know, running against an incumbent. That's not only an incumbent, but a statewide elected incumbent who said the Legislature for years before they became a statewide elected incumbent. Yeah, so anyone that's got the chutzpah, or the Kona has to do that, you know, gets my respect. And especially, they're taking their campaign seriously and driving across the state. And they don't have a campaign manager. They're doing everything themselves. It's extremely hard on a person. And I feel like I aged three or four years, because I did everything I could, when I ran, I put everything into it. 100% I wasn't, I wasn't going to stop until it was over with. And I'm glad I did. And so I shared that. I started selling though my jeep age three or four years, but the guy down the street and does the some of my maintenance and oil changes. He was happy. He was good with that. But it's so so given given your background in oil and gas, I want to ask you a question about some energy policy, we continue to hear more broadly about energy transit transition, we continue to hear about renewables, non renewables. I think, for the the folks that aren't in oil and gas, that aren't policy hawks and read every little blog, and thing that comes with things that come out like you and I probably do, it's hard to decipher whether or not things like energy transition are just liberal mumbo jumbo, whether it's sort of long range will eventually need to get there. If it's sort of somewhere in the middle, what's your take on energy transition and the energy policy that is currently in place here in Texas and what you think's going to happen over the next handful years? Yeah, I really don't like the terminology transition, because it implies that we're eliminating something and that's wrong. Logically, just for the sake of eliminating, right, yeah, you're just eliminating something. And that's number one. That's not what is happening here. Number one, it's factually incorrect. And number two, that's never going to happen on my lifetime. Are you going to eliminate oil and gas from the equation? There's no way Yeah. And so to me, that's just promoting something that's not true. Simple. I prefer to use the terminology, energy addition, abundance, flood zone, whatever you want to call it. Some people like to use the term all the above. Yeah. I mean, I like the free, free market. Like, I like options. I like plans. I like different scenarios, contingencies. Yeah, anything that casts a wider net, to make it more efficient, more cost effective, more system more sustainable for protections, the better, right? And let's write free market policies. Yeah, we need that market to take place as much as possible because we want the cheapest electricity the end of the day, the cheapest gasoline, the cheapest fuel. And you only get that in a competitive market place. And right now there's actually big discussion about ERCOT, the PUC and potential credit system. Now, there were there was a study that was conducted by ERCOT. This past year, and they were to give a recommendation to the PUC, which they did. And it strangely was the form of a credit system that would benefit new additional energy, thermal energy. But indeed, it was the subsidization of energy in the state of Texas using Texas dollars to the tune of billions, perhaps somewhere around 5 billion to $6 billion a year. Really? That's Yes, sir. That was a ripoff proposal. And if you check the Twitter feeds of Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick, they didn't necessarily disagree with them. But Senator Schwertner, disagreed. And he said, Absolutely not. We're not going to allow this to happen without the legislature's approval for the PUC to adopt these new ERCOT rules in this plan for this, this new market, what they call a capacity market. And so, the legislature has now rolled out nine different versions of a bill to address this, which supposedly none of which are a credit system. And then I don't I have not had the the pleasure to read these yet. I want to read them and understand them how they work frontwards and backwards. But from what I understand there are hundreds of lobbyist right now in Austin, I believe that, and these, these lobbyists are lobbying for or against these rules one way or another. But most of these lobbyists, they make money off of a credit system, they want guaranteed income for producing new thermal energy that meets federal guidelines. So they're actually saying, Let's speed up EPA regulations that are being enforced in Texas, and do away with all these older power plants that have historically existed. And let's speed up their removal and introduce new thermal that meets federal guidelines. And here Warren Buffett, you know, we'll subsidize it for you, or Calpine, or whoever wants to come in and build these, but there are Calpine lobbyists, there are Warren Buffett's lobbyists, there are a lot of lobbyists right now, in Austin, all vying for these project dollars. They want their companies which have billions and can come in and do this quickly, to benefit the most. So they're going to spend millions, which they are right now on lobbying to try to get these bills whether they get them or not. And so that's the state of electricity in Texas right now. We'll see what Senator shortener does. He's the chairman of the committee, I believe, that's that's overseeing this, I hope that we get good legislation, I will always lobby against the subsidization of energy, whether it's at the federal level, or at the state level, Texas should not be in the business of doing that I speak that way, as a conservative, those are my principles and my values. But I'm also speaking from the position of someone that's trying to start a power plant in the state of Texas. And even though I could benefit from such bill, right, I don't believe it's correct to do that. Just like I can benefit from federal regulations to give me subsidies for solar, right. I don't believe that's the policy we should have. Unfortunately, in a marketplace, it's not totally free, because you are regulated. And at the end of the day, you have to make a decision whether or not you're going to go along with the current government regulation. So you can either take advantage of those regulations and make money despite whether you agree with them or not. You can use those profits to then lobby for the correct regulations. And I believe that's what Texas should do here. And I believe Texans have done it. I believe there are a lot of Texans that have solar farms and some of them that wind I don't like the wind personally at all. I think it's a terrible idea. Solar is a little bit different. argument there. You can argue about where the point of origin for the materials are. Of course, it's a big problem right now. Most of this stuff does not come from America that has to change but the overlying at aspect of this conversation is we need as much energy as we can get with as least amount of government involvement. Certainly, with the least amount of taxpayer money being spent in the process, it needs to pay for itself. It does not need the help from the state of Texas for rehab. That's the way it's got to be right. I don't want to pay people to produce something that I'm going to then buy again later. But we haven't such energy in Texas for years, why start now? isn't necessary? No, it's not necessary. And, and I'm in complete agreement with you so. B, before I let you go, I gotta ask you, are you thinking about throwing your hat into into the ring at some point or any particular race? Definitely, I'm always thinking Ben and if I if I didn't get two or three phone calls a week, asking me to run you know, you know, I maybe I wouldn't think that way but I literally have been getting phone calls ever since the race is over. I think I've spoken to everybody from cat parks to call rove I mean, there's there's not too many people I haven't spoken to the want to know what I'm doing. And I think a lot of them want to know what I'm doing so they can plan to run a plan to run against me or or come up with a plan to keep keep their tabs on me. I know. Crenshaw was a PR guy, Danny Wald, and he followed me on on Twitter and and I went to check out his LinkedIn page. And I found out who who you've worked for before and that's interesting were for Sarah Davis. But then I went to his LinkedIn page again, and he bought me so I don't know, man. So I think Crenshaw was people are keeping their eyes on me and maybe they should you know, I'm, I'm eyeballing some property from McHenry County. I like a lot. All right. I know. I'm always here to help help out people in Harris County. But I may have to move up there. Just because this property is such a good offer. Kind of be silly to pass it up. But you never know. I've been a constituent of CD two for quite some time. And I like CD to always have because even though it's split right down in the middle of Houston, where I live, a lot of it was real conservatives McHenry County, in in humble Texas, where my family's from and they drilled oil wells down there back before World War Two. Right. So I've got a long history in McHenry County. And they also scored me almost even blank Christian when I interviewed with the McHenry County Tea Party, they scored me one point less against a sitting incumbent. Yeah, I'm not. That's montgomery county. Montgomery county, I guess it's not really a secret anymore, but they're good. They're good people. Good conservatives, beautiful countryside. And if you moved there, no one would blame you for sure. But yeah, a lot of people were just, you know, that's what the phone call was, you know, wondering you move in Tom, what's going on, you know, and I, I know I've got a lot of support, if I do want to run again. And I know it's in, there's people that want me to run for other districts do as well. And, you know, I would like to see John Harvey Slocum in College Station, get elected to the state legislature, I'll tell you, if there's anything I work hard on in this next few years, more than anything I want to make sure John Harvey gets gets to Austin. And he wouldn't be a great addition to the legislature. So I'm going to continue to try to put some some other people ahead of my own aspirations for now. But I will never take it off the table. And I will continue to be extremely active in the party here in Houston Harris County, and as well as visiting other other party organizations around the state that I've developed relationships with great people out in Odessa and ector. County, in people up north as well all over the state man, it's that's the best part about running statewide is you get to meet so many great people. And that invigorates me and drives me forward and makes me realize that, you know, we don't have to settle for second tear. We have the support in the state to elect any conservative in any conservative district we do, we can rally to stay behind these people and make it happen. These aren't battles that, that we can't fight or shouldn't fight. These are battles that we absolutely must fight and we must win. And I'm glad to, you know, help anyone out and that deserves it and where we can make the biggest impacts. You know, I want to be there. And I'm glad to talk with you Ben about that. And, you know, we can talk to talk about your aspirations here maybe in and hopefully we can get you running out I have the same position here one of these days and headed in the right direction. I think you are, I think you've got what it takes. You definitely got the messaging and you've got a lot of strong support yourself. So, you know, it's important for people to remain involved. And then you're one of the few people that I know, that ran a statewide race that is still very involved. Why myself, so I'm happy to call you my friend. And thank you for allowing me to come on your podcast Hey, I appreciate it. Of course, we wish nothing but the best for you as you navigate whatever comes next. But you got to come back on again. We got we got some stuff that that you know, it's going to be coming through the legislature here in the next couple of months, we should do a bit of a debrief and talk about the good, the bad, the ugly and what what we need to do heading into the to the summer to continue to hold these officials accountable as they come back to our district. So if you're definitely down for it, we'll get you on again. Yeah, definitely. I would love to do a Texas update with you as often as you'd like, you know, we got so much material that we didn't even have a chance to touch on today when it comes to schools and and everything else, my friend Jared Patterson in Frisco you know, he's got his hands full up there up to his neck and and and there's a lot going on at the state level that people need to really understand how this works and what, what they can do to help out and make a difference. So I look forward to seeing you again. We'll do it, man. Appreciate it. Tom, take care. Take it easy. Thank you so much for listening. As always, you can email me your thoughts to Ben at Ben armenta.com. I cannot thank Tom enough for his candor and his patriotism. When he's not in Twitter jail. You can follow him there at Slocum for Texas. Next time on the answer with Ben Armenta. We're going to spend some time discussing states rights and what's happening right now with the Texas nationalist movement. Until next time, thank you again. God bless you the answer with Ben Armenta is sponsored by the kickin crab, the latest and greatest Cajun concept to hit the southwest. They offer down home flavors and it's one of those places where you're gonna want to take the kids, no plates just good times brought to you by folks that have strong conservative values. Like you and me. Visit them off of Highway six in Houston or at the kicking crab.com