Congressman John Carter has been serving and leading in Central Texas for more than 35 years. From 1981 to 2002 he was Judge of the 277th District Court and admits, at that time, he had no desire to run for Congress.
On September 11, 2001, he decided to leave a job that he loved for one of the toughest in the country. After witnessing what he believed to be the most blatant criminal act on United States soil since Pearl Harbor, he decided the victims—and America—should have someone on Capitol Hill who knows how to deal with criminal activity and hold people accountable.
With 20 years’ service, including many high profile cases, Carter believed he was up to the job, “I always thought when you elect someone to go 2000 miles away and cast a vote on your behalf, you should know what he’s done and the promises he has kept before you send him there.”
Now running for his eighth term, John Carter is keeping his promise to be a good leader, work hard in the best interests of his district, and take care of the country at the same time.
To make the most of the trust his district put in him, Carter wasted no time becoming a principal among leaders, and has moved into ever-greater leadership roles since he arrived in Washington.
While in his freshman term, and on the advice of long-time representatives, he ran for and was voted onto the Steering Committee that determines in which committees the majority members will serve and who will chair. “The big job was to find a place where all 26 freshman members could serve effectively and also satisfy their desire to achieve. I was able to get everything my class wanted, so in my sophomore term I was rewarded with a bump to the Appropriations Committee; a post most people wait ten years or more to reach.”
In his sophomore term, Carter was also elected Secretary of house/majority leadership; “In that role, I worked on big projects I felt were priorities and was able to attack and change the attitudes of bureaucrats, including forcing [Democrat] Charles Rangel to pay his income taxes.”
Today, Rep. Carter is in his sixth term as Chair of Homeland Security Appropriations, which gives the 31st District a stronger voice than most; “All members of Congress are respected but, as leaders, we get the inside story; more access and responsibility. I am lucky and have been diligent, right from the start, about staying in leadership roles for that purpose.”
All of the Committees he serves on are high priority subject matter in District 31. As Chair of Homeland Security Appropriations, he is able to lead with respect to border security and immigration control; two things, he says, rate high in voter concerns. “I will continue to fight for Texans, defend our border and fix our immigration system. I was part of a bipartisan—and secret—‘miracle’ committee for two years that created a comprehensive reform plan. Twenty Republicans and Democrats met to see if we couldn’t fix it without killing each other and we got it done. The House wasn’t ready for it at the time; it was not the will of the Hill. But it is a good plan, it has strength for law enforcement and compassion for the people, and ultimately, I believe when the time comes, we will be able to implement it.”
Outside of defense, the Congressman has a background in commerce, justice and science. He went to bat in Salado when highway construction put a halt to so much business, and state representatives were in and out of office; i.e., unable to get anything finished.
He also forced a policy change that allows the VA to pay for civilian organ donation to Veteran recipients. “I met a soldier whose son was a match for his transplant, but the VA would not pay for his son’s operation. It was unreasonable to force a Veteran to rely on a 1 percent chance of finding a match within the Veteran ranks, and, further, that it would be within the prescribed distance to be viable.”
Currently, Carter is working on a program that will provide private sector certification based on military training that will enable veterans to get jobs upon discharge without going through redundant or expensive re-training. Alternatively, troops will have the flexibility to get specialty civilian training while still on active duty, to shorten the time before they can be hired in the private sector. “An easy example,” he explains, “our medics are qualified to be EMTs the day they get out and we should allow them to do so without a lag in training or pay. We don’t want to see any of our talent going to waste, even for a short time.”
He is also working on security in the virtual world. “In the aggregate, the three subcommittees I am on do about 80 percent of the work on this nation’s cybersecurity. As leaders, we are obligated to know a little about a lot and have the resources to hire and manage the best experts in the field. Just like when I was a judge, I wasn’t a doctor, but I heard from the best in the field when we needed medical testimony.”
Congressman Carter’s list of accomplishments is long, and AdvocateNewsTX.com will share his plans and platform issues over the next six months so voters may get to know how important it is for us to have consistency and experience casting those votes on our behalf.
And, while clearly influential at the Capitol, he remains present here in the home District because that is his first priority. “I am not an absentee congressman. In 16 years, I have spent only five weekends away from home because I love my wife, my family and my Texas. I want to be in touch with the places and the people I represent.”
Learn more at Carter.House.Gov.
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