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Op-Eds

“Making a Hand” for the American Dream

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BRYAN, August 3, 2017 | comments
By Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)

When my family left Spain for the New World in 1725, they came in search of liberty, opportunity, and security.  Settling near Nacogdoches in present-day Texas, they had no idea if or how those dreams would be achieved.  Nine generations later, I am among the fortunate in my family to have achieved the American Dream.  Now, as a Representative in Congress, I am committed to making sure all Americans have the same opportunities that this country has provided to me.

Growing up in the Texas Panhandle, my early childhood years were shaped by a large family of very modest means.  At the age of nine, I started working cattle with my father and quickly learned the value of hard work that he modeled for my siblings and me.  He would always challenge us to "make a hand", his way of saying that we should add value to our family and our community.  At age 12, I had two paper routes that required my full attention 365 days each year.  Transitioning to my early teenage years, I spent 12 hours a day, six days a week, driving a tractor, building fences and working cattle.  I also became an entrepreneur when my brothers and I formed the Rafter O Cattle Company.  Ultimately growing to a herd of about 500 head, this entity, combined with hard work, careful spending, and prudent saving, allowed me to pay my own way through college.

After graduation from college, I was determined to "make a hand" during my career to ensure that my family endured fewer struggles than I had growing up and to make a difference in our communities.  I started out as a public accountant, working long hours and earning valuable experience in finance, and ultimately earned a CPA license.  That background helped me quickly advance during my private sector career in the energy industry.  Despite hardships and challenges along the way, I learned that teamwork, hard work, fiscal responsibility, and a passion for excellence are key attributes for success in achieving the American Dream.

In late 2009, I retired from a successful career in the private sector to run for Congress because of the damage to the ideals of American opportunity for all and exceptionalism, and the tragic fiscal strategies arising from the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda in Washington.  It seemed to me that the enactment of their flawed agenda during 2009-2010 period was killing the opportunities for our younger generations to experience the same opportunities for achievement that earlier generations of Americans had provided to my generation.  After much prayer and discussion with my wife, we decided to run for office to restore the American Dream for current and future generations of hardworking American families.

Since I joined the 112th Congress in 2011, my Conservative colleagues and I have been working to reverse the "top-down" Washington approach that defined the 111th (Pelosi-Reid) Democrat controlled Congress.  Even though we have faced huge challenges and occasional setbacks along the way, I am proud that the House GOP has been executing our bold "A Better Way" plan to restore American opportunity and exceptionalism.  We have gotten America back on track with a stronger economy resulting from regulatory reform, and with strong initial steps to restore robust national security.  Looking forward, I am excited by our blueprints for health care reform, tax reform, fiscal reform, welfare reform, and 21st-century energy reform.  When it comes to opportunity, there is nothing like a strong economy that creates great jobs to restore confidence for our nation -- these jobs, and the paychecks that come with them, are the single best social program for American families because they provide them with the resources needed for nutrition, housing, education, health care, and strong communities.  No government programs can come close to providing the personal growth and opportunity that comes from those jobs and paychecks.   

The idea that everyone has the opportunity for success, prosperity, and upward mobility is central to the American Dream.  Over the coming months, I look forward to working with my House GOP colleagues to "make a hand" for our country by restoring the American Dream through a focus on Liberty, Opportunity, and Security for all hardworking American families!
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