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  • Reflecting on the Holiday Season
    Posted in Op-Eds on November 29, 2006 | Preview rr

    As the holiday season approaches, I think about what a joyous time of year it is. As a husband and father, I am reminded of the great memories I have with my family and friends, and the love and sense of communion that holds us together. But let us not forget what makes this time such a special one: giving thanks. One of the most important actions we must partake in is the one of giving thanks. We must not only be grateful for the liberties we have, but also for being able to share them with th... Read more

  • Filling the Donut Hole
    Posted in Op-Eds on September 26, 2006 | Preview rr
    Tags: Health Care

    After battling for months with inaccurate and confusing enrollment information surrounding the Medicare Prescription Drug program, the House Ways and Means Committee is now reporting that 522,856 seniors and disabled workers in Texas-- 86% of newly enrolled Medicare Part D beneficiaries -- are now at risk of falling into the “donut-hole.” The “donut hole” is a flaw in the plan that causes a gap in coverage where beneficiaries continue to pay premiums without receiving financial coverage for med... Read more

  • Honoring the Contributions of Hispanic Americans
    Posted in Op-Eds on September 25, 2006 | Preview rr

    America’s diversity has always been one of our nation’s greatest strengths, and Hispanic-Americans have long played an integral role in America’s rich culture, proud heritage, and the building of this great nation. September 15 through October 15 marks Hispanic Heritage Month, an opportunity to recognize the Hispanic community for the many contributions they continue to make to our great country. The U.S. Census reports that the estimated Hispanic population in the United States exceeds 42 mill... Read more

  • Texas Drought Leaves Crops and Businesses Dry
    Posted in Op-Eds on September 15, 2006 | Preview rr
    Tags: Agriculture

    For the past few months, Texas has endured what some experts have deemed the worst natural disaster in this century: severe drought. American farmers and their families are now facing a tough struggle. The devastating drought and historical heat wave have left the Lone Star State parched and have caused billions of dollars in damage and profit loss to the agricultural sector. The impact of the drought is apparent. As a result of the lack of rainfall, increasingly high winds, and rampant range fi... Read more

  • Higher Minimum Wage Would Benefit Working Families
    Posted in Op-Eds on August 26, 2006 | Preview rr

    Today, hard-working families are struggling more than ever to afford the rising costs of basic necessities such as gas, health care, and education. Gas prices have climbed to over $3 a gallon. The average American family now pays $1,200 more than last year for health insurance, and students are encountering more financial roadblocks to their college education than ever before. Despite the urgent need for relief, the minimum wage is still the lowest it has been in 50 years. Even full-time worker... Read more

  • Diabetes Prevention
    Posted in Op-Eds on August 22, 2006 | Preview rr
    Tags: Health Care

    Today, almost 21 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. In South Texas, especially among Hispanics, diabetes is an urgent health problem threatening the health of nearly 10% of Hispanic Americans aged 20 years and older and their families. Of the millions of persons affected, less than one third know that they have the disease. We need to have more diabetes awareness, prevention, and treatment options available in minority communities. It is important to convey the mess... Read more

  • Ending Hunger
    Posted in Op-Eds on July 3, 2006 | Preview rr

    Every day hundreds of families in South Texas go hungry or don’t know how or where they will get their next meal. Many are hard-working families who have difficulty making ends meet or have fallen on hard times. Those who suffer most from hunger are the children and the elderly, the most vulnerable members of our communities. A recently released study conducted for the San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB) sheds light on this growing problem in South Texas. Last year, SAFB provided 27 million pounds of ... Read more

  • Farmers Fueling America
    Posted in Op-Eds on May 31, 2006 | Preview rr
    Tags: Agriculture

    With the rise in gasoline prices, most Americans are now paying even closer attention to escalating energy prices, but there is one group of Americans that has been especially affected by the negative effects of rising energy costs. Every morning across our nation thousands of farmers and ranchers fuel up and head out to tend their livelihoods, and our nation’s growing dependence on foreign energy sources is crippling their ability to do their jobs. We face a daunting, but not insurmountable, t... Read more

  • Balancing Priorities
    Posted in Op-Eds on May 18, 2006 | Preview rr

    The budget bill recently passed by the United States House of Representatives contains significant cuts to many programs that Americans rely upon. I voted against the FY2007 budget and its deep cuts to education, healthcare, and veterans programs. The budget also adds trillions of dollars to the national deficit over the next ten years and continues a path of mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren. As a member of the House Budget Committee, I appreciate the Administration’s eff... Read more

  • A First Step
    Posted in Op-Eds on May 18, 2006 | Preview rr

    As Americans, we all have the right to express our views freely, but we also have the right to fair and accountable government. I believe HR 4975, the Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, effectively balances those concerns, and at the same time provides a stable foundation for continued reform. After meeting with many of my constituents in the 28th District of Texas who voiced desire for reform of the lobbying practices in Washington, DC, I voted on their behalf to support the... Read more