BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS
GILMER–A representative of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and several candidates for Upshur County elective offices spoke to the recent quarterly meeting of the Upshur County Republican Executive Committee.
About 40 persons attended the Nov. 9 event at the Indian Rock Baptist Church outside Gilmer, said county GOP Chairman Cynthia Ridgeway.
In introducing Daniel Alders, Cruz’s East Texas regional director, Ridgeway said he was present to discuss Cruz’s work in the senate and that he could not address questions about the senator’s Presidential campaign.
Alders said “there’s a divide” between the American people and the “party of Washington,” which he termed a “party cartel” comprised of both Republicans and Democrats who want to grow government.
The speaker said Cruz understands the “right to life. . .belongs to the most vulnerable–the unborn,” and that the senator has fought to defund Planned Parenthood.
Cruz also led the fight against the Obama Administration’s proposed deal with Iran, Alders said. When Iranians say “‘death to America,’. . .we need to believe what they’re saying,” the senator’s representative said.
In addition, Alders said, Cruz moved for unanimous consent to pass “Kate’s Law” (which would have punished illegal immigrants who repeatedly commit crimes.)
While U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) prevented passage on grounds of the expense the law would entail, Cruz says the nation needs to lock up every murderer it can, Alders added.
The speaker said his boss also voted for a measure to nullify an Environmental Protection Agency rule on “waters of the United States.” The measure is unconstitutional, would be costly to farmers and ranchers, and would let government decide what someone can and cannot do on their own property, Alders said.
Asked by a reporter what legislation Cruz had gotten passed, the speaker cited a bill which designated victims of the Fort Hood shooting to receive the Purple Heart. Cruz was the leading legislator on that issue, said Alders..
Sheriff Anthony Betterton, seeking reelection to a fifth term, spent much of his 15-minute presentation fielding questions on the possible incorporation of the Diana community into an actual city. (His two opponents in the GOP primary, Larry Webb and Clint Norman, spoke the same night to a meeting of East Texans for Liberty in Gilmer.)
The sheriff said Diana should incorporate due to its “boom” as it is “growing faster than any community in Upshur County.”
When Pct. 3 County Commissioner Frank Berka said from the audience that he had heard Diana would not form a city police force if the community did incorporate, Betterton responded that East Mountain has a police force, so “Don’t you think Diana would be a nice community?”
The sheriff then said Diana could have a city marshal and that “we’re (the sheriff’s office) gonna cover it (Diana) anyway.” If the community did incorporate and had no police force, Betterton said, Diana would have to negotiate with the county commissioners court.
Before addressing the incorporation issue, Betterton noted he had 34 years in law enforcement, all in Upshur County, counting time he worked in juvenile probation. He said he was pushing for a pay raise for his office’s employees as “that’s a major issue.”
The sheriff said his office has lost good workers and that he would seek a raise for all county employees.
Betterton also said that people “think sometimes I come across a little arrogant,” but that he must make people listen.
In an apparent reference to his opponent Webb’s proposals to form certain groups, Betterton also said that forming a police academy would be “hard to do” and must be paid for, and that forming other groups also must be paid for.
Other candidates in the March 1 primary who addressed the gathering included these incumbents seeking reelection–Sixth Court of Appeals Chief Justice Josh Morriss, Pct. 3 Constable Stanley Jenkins (and his opponent, Jarrod Wilson), Pct. 1 Constable Gene Dolle, Berka (and his opponent, Haskell Dean.)
Also speaking were two candidates for tax assessor-collector, Luana Howell and James Crittenden, and respective representatives of candidates for District 7 state representative Jay Dean and David Watts Jr.