~ submitted by Brad Bennett
This week we return to the polls and choose who we want to represent District 60 in Austin—Glenn Rogers or Jon Francis. Voting for a candidate is about a matter of trust, so who can you trust?
Jon Francis rails that “Glenn Rogers is the choice of the Austin lobby!” Yes, some Austin-based groups have put their support behind Glenn Rogers. However, when you look at who these groups are, you will see a pattern: the Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND, made up of Texas farmers and ranchers; Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, made up of Texas law enforcement officers; and the Texas Retired Teachers Association, made up of retired Texas teachers. These groups have memberships that consist of Texans like you and me.
What Jon Francis ISN’T telling you, however, is that Glenn Rogers has been endorsed and supported by almost 50 local and county officials from around District 60. These men and women include every single sheriff in the district, five mayors, 14 county commissioners, and numerous city council members and county and district attorneys. Former Governor Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in state history, and U.S. Representative Mike Conaway, the long-time representative of Texas’ 11th Congressional District, have also publicly endorsed and supported Glenn Rogers.
In other words, when those we trust are asked who they want to represent District 60, they choose Glenn Rogers.
Now let’s consider Jon Francis and his list of supporters. You can see a common theme there, too: his in-laws have donated millions to many of the people that endorse Francis. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz endorsed Francis, after receiving $15 million for his presidential campaign from the Wilks’. Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Miller endorsed Francis, after receiving $72,500 from the Wilks’ and their inner circle of donors. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton endorsed Francis after receiving more than $375,000 from Farris Wilks.
The list of endorsements from people and groups that received money from the Wilks’ or their associates goes on: James Dobson ($1.5 million), Young Conservatives of Texas ($66,000), Texas Homeschool Coalition ($185,000), Cullen Crisp ($82,500), Charles Perry ($75,000+), Texas Right to Life ($2.4 million+), and Empower Texans, a.k.a. Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, a.k.a. Texas Scorecard ($1.8 million+). The list continues but I’ll add he has been endorsed by the other two primary challengers who were both backed by the aforementioned Empower Texans.
Francis says he won’t accept a single penny from political action groups. As someone with years of experience in politics, I can confirm the size of the check makes a greater difference than what name is printed on it, no matter if it’s an individual or a PAC. His in-laws, Farris & JoAnn Wilks, have their own personal PACs and the money flows freely from both personal and political accounts. Oh, in case he forgot to tell you, Francis directed a PAC in the last presidential election but that was before he was against PACs.
We should have a representative who is one of us. Glenn Rogers knows us and we know him. He doesn’t need to buy a pair of boots to work a field. His pair are already broken in. He wants what we want for this rural district.
Jon Francis, well, he is ALL hat and NO cattle, tags still on the newly purchased Wranglers ready for his photo op. If Francis were elected we would be left wanting because he will promote his policy interests not ours. He would leave us the constituents without adequate representation.
On July 14, when you return to the polls to cast your vote, please ask yourself: do you trust those you have elected before, or those whose support have been bought by Wilks family money?
Trust those you have elected before when you vote. I will vote for Glenn Rogers and strongly urge you to do the same.
(Brad Bennett, a resident of Mineral Wells, is a public affairs executive who has more than two decades of experience advising federal and state government officials and business leaders)