If there’s anything we can appreciate about freshman U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, it is a streak of pragmatism we saw during his visit to Kerrville this week.
While it’s easy to argue that Roy is aligned closely with President Donald Trump on many things, there’s also an argument to be made that Roy’s reasonable approach on health care, border security, the budget and the military are a contrast to the president’s sometimes harsher rhetoric.
That voice of reason is welcome in a diverse district that appears to be changing. Roy’s path to success will continue to require balancing conservative values with the changing demographics of a district where 168,000 people voted for his opponent.
During an hour-long interview with members of The Daily Times Editorial Board, Roy covered many of his signature topics and earned our interest in his take on health care.
Roy’s take is simple: improve access to a marketplace, where people have multiple providers and receive direct care managed by their doctors rather than by insurance companies, who control that access.
He’s opposed to a single-payer plan but believes the correct plan is to allow people to save more in health savings accounts — currently capped by federal law — which would encourage saving for the consumer and a more competitive marketplace.
As a small employer, we certainly think there is an opportunity to improve the health care landscape by lowering cost through added competition and broadening the choices that our employees have, without placing that burden on the business.
We also found ourselves in agreement on border security issues, and strengthening protecting the country from those seeking to exploit American generosity and care. Considering Roy’s numerous trips to the border, it’s hard to argue with his expertise. He’s also careful to provide solutions that include a guest-worker program — recognizing that some in his own party have looked to take advantage of immigrant labor — but also realizing there is a limit to how many people we can take in.
Roy is wise to suggest that the successful passage of immigration reform won’t be effective through comprehensive legislation. These attempts fail every time. We must first start with security, slow the flow, then one-by-one handle the many complex and diverse issues involved with immigration.
During a question and answer session with members of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce, Roy was asked how to manage the burdens immigration places on various services, including local schools and hospitals. Roy offered a pragmatic answer.
Interestingly, Roy said he’s not completely convinced that those who are working here illegally are not putting back more into the services than what they take out, but he wasn’t absolute in that belief because he’s never seen great data to prove it one way or the other. However, what impressed this board is that he’s at least willing to consider the positive impact immigrants make on our society.
Finally, he touched on the importance of the U.S. military and readiness. While he blamed the lack of focus of U.S. policy on former President Barack Obama, Roy stood up and said military spending couldn’t just be a blank check, and the mission of the military must be clear and focused. The American public needs to understand the mission and what they are getting behind.
We appreciate that — clear and focused. We all could use that in our lives, but it’s refreshing to hear that from a political leader who is looking to work for the best interests of his constituency — and not partisans.