Headline News
Go Back

Mr. Smith’s latest swing through Bandera County

By Judith Pannebaker

Congressman Lamar Smith stopped by the office of the Bandera County Courier on Monday, Jan. 4, during a whirlwind mini-tour of the Hill County counties in United States District 21.

“You’re actually the first stop of the week,” he said, ticking off the rest of the week’s “if-it’s-Tuesday-this-must-be-Austin” itinerary. On Wednesday and Thursday, he blitzed through Kendall, Comal and Kerr counties.

However, after re-considering his previous statement, Smith recalled traveling through Bandera on Christmas Eve during a purely apolitical trip to Medina.

“I was delivering a dog to Kinky Friedman’s Utopia Animal Rescue,” he explained. After rescuing a stray dog from the mean streets of San Antonio, Smith’s daughter had underwritten its medical care. However, a projected move to California precluded her from keeping the animal permanently.

“She talked Kinky into accepting the dog and I volunteered to transport it - along with a 50-pound bag of dog food, five pounds of rawhide bones and a donation check - to the rescue organization on Christmas Eve,” Smith said. In honor of the dog’s rescuer, Nell Smith, the Kinkster renamed the pooch, “Nellie Belle.”

On a second swing through the Cowboy Capital, Smith introduced his new campaign manager, Mia L. Garza, who’s in charge of Smith’s San Antonio office.

On Monday, Dec. 11, Smith held a press conference at the San Antonio International Airport to discuss stepping up security measures for air travel. Interestingly, the news conference was held at Terminal 1, ticketing and departure level by Frontier Airlines. Appearing with Smith was San Antonio Aviation Director Frank Miller.

However, at the time of his visit, the proposed healthcare bill was front and center in Smith’s mind. Clearly exasperated with the process so far, he anticipated Democrats in Congress would attempt to get the bill to a vote by late January.

“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, as well as the dean of Harvard Medical School, have gone on record as saying that the bill will increase healthcare costs, increase premiums, increase taxes and decrease benefits. Why are the Democrats pushing this through to insure only 10 to 11 million uninsured people?” Smith asked.

“They’re trying to cover everyone, and intend to force young people, who don’t really want - or need - healthcare coverage, to purchase insurance,” he continued.

Assessing Republican chances to regain control of Congress in this year’s mid-term election, Smith noted that Republicans would need to pick up 40 seats in the House of Representatives and 10 seats in the Senate.

“I’ll probably get (chastised) for this, but I don’t think we’ll take back enough seats this time. It’ll be a two-step process, half now and half in 2012,” he predicted.

Right now, however, Smith is gearing up to retain his own seat in Congress, anticipating a Republican challenger in the March primary and running against Democrat and Independent candidates in November.