In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to write a piece about the man who has shaped the person I am today. If it was not for my dad, I would not be here today. He fought for me when I needed it most, and he passed that same persistence on to me so that I could overcome the struggles in my life.
I was born on September 17th, 1978, weighing 2 pounds, 3 ounces. I was three months premature, and doctors did not think I would live through the night. I survived the night, but had to be flown from Vernal, Utah to Salt Lake City for better medical services. The doctors again said I would not survive the trip. I landed in Salt Lake City, alive, where my weight had dropped to 1 pound, 4 ounces. This time, my family was told I would not live another week. But as my father has told me time and time again, “God had a different plan”.
I spent months in the NICU, in an incubator, where doctors fought to save my life and my family stood by, praying and believing that I would survive. Although I made it through this touch and go period, the doctors were still adamant I would not survive to my teen years, and I would suffer from numerous health problems until then.
My parents loved each other, but this period put a lot of stress on them. They felt the constant pressure of worrying about whether or not I would survive, and even if I did, what the state of my health would be. It had a profound impact on them, and my mom was not able to handle that amount of stress. My father told her he understood, but that he could not give up on me, and that he would care for me even if she was not able to go on doing so.
I ended up growing to 6 pounds 5 ounces and the doctors allowed me to go home. My dad took me straight home to Texas so I could be around a bigger support network of family and friends. They took care of me while I continued to grow. I still had numerous health issues, but I was more stable.
My dad took sole custody of me after returning of Texas. It speaks volumes about my father’s character that a judge entrusted a twenty-three year old man to independently care for his child. My dad never lost faith that I would survive. He constantly prayed and knew that if he fought for me, I would fight for myself. The judge saw how much he cared about me, and how hard he would fight to ensure I would continue to grow and get healthier. He did exactly that, pushing me into athletics early, and putting me to work on our family ranch, believing it would make my heart and body stronger.
He always had a belief that one should serve their community and their country. He instilled this set of values in me that I should always dedicate myself wholly to everything I do, and I should serve others before I serve myself. It was with his guidance and unwavering belief that I was able to overcome the health issues of my youth, enlisting in the Navy after high school and going on to persevere through some of the Military’s most difficult schools. These values were the wind at my back when I deployed overseas to fight terrorism as a member of the intelligence community, and it was again because of these values that I committed to continue fighting for my community when I returned home.
When I decided to run to represent District 45 in the Texas House of Representatives, I knew I had to do it the right way. I had to run using these values my father had taught me, and I had to fight for my principles.
My dad did not give up on me even when doctors said I would never survive. Thankfully, those doctors still worked hard to save me. However, what if they had not done everything they could? We see countless other examples in our society of children defying the odds, and surviving similar circumstances. Not only surviving but going on to live successful, prosperous lives. I was not a survivor of abortion, but I was in a position where I was not expected to live. What if those doctors had considered me a lost cause and left it at that? Would it be fair for those doctors to go on unpunished? Unfortunately, we now live in a world where these possibilities could become realities.
Recently, the left has pushed aggressive policies championing infanticide and working to prevent doctors from being punished by law for not doing everything they can to save a baby who survives an abortion. Our elected officials truly believe we should be allowed to abort a child who would survive outside of the womb, and not only that, but we should not punish doctors for not working to save a baby that survives such a horrific procedure.
I cannot understand why our Legislature did not do more to combat this current trend. We could have ended late-term abortions here in Texas and we could have prevented abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Our current leadership waffled on meaningful legislation and compromised their values in an effort to protect their power, but in doing so, also empowered an increasingly reckless left. Instead of leading the charge, we took a back seat and allowed other states to act as the spearhead on true pro-life legislation. That is not the Texan way. We’re supposed to be the ones who lead from the front and don’t crumble at the first sight of a challenge.
We need principled representatives who won’t give up on their values and who will fight for their own. I am lucky to have been influenced by a man such as my father, and it is because of him that I decided to go to bat for my community and bring true conservative leadership to the Texas Legislature.
So to my dad, thank you. Thank you for never giving up on me and teaching me to be tough and to fight for my beliefs. I owe everything to you. I am who I am today because of your leadership.
And to our legislators, do better. We are losing our values as a state because you aren’t fighting for true conservative beliefs. When I am elected to the State House, I fully intend to hold you accountable for these malfeasances. Our state is at risk today because of your leadership.