Reader Responses, March 2, 2014

Published on Saturday, 1 March 2014 20:56 - Written by

There are three reasons Matt Schaefer should be sent back to Austin as our state representative.

First, Matt Schaefer is a man of faith. That strong faith is the guiding force behind everything Matt says or does.

Second, Matt Schaefer is a man of service. Matt served our country honorably in Afghanistan, so when he talks about protecting our borders, Matt knows what it means to put on the uniform and have boots on the ground.

Third, Matt Schaefer is a man of principle. Despite opposition from powerful, well-funded lobby groups such as the Texas Medical Association, Matt fought tirelessly to keep Obamacare expansion out of Texas and to pass historic pro-life legislation. Matt is committed to doing the right thing, even when it is not popular or expedient to do so.

Matt Schaefer is my kind of Representative.

Our government needs more men like him.

Doug Flanders, MD




I have publically supported Skip Ogle in his bid for the Texas House of Representatives. Several other physicians have gotten involved and supported the incumbent Matt Shaffer. I applaud their getting involved. Having more of my colleagues involved is good for the process.

Our current representative stands on “his principles,” and I applaud him for that. I am sure he believes strongly that he is right. However, he is still our representative — all of us, whether he agrees with our point of view or not. Our current representative in Austin has repeatedly refused to meet with several of my colleagues, and has admitted to me personally that he voted against some bills that he “didn’t really understand.” First he should seek to understand legislation, by listening to his constituents, instead of voting how he has been directed by a few supporters.

Texas is the most “red” state in the union. We have the most conservative legislature in the country and arguably the best economy in the country because of our conservative pro business principles. Yet our representative has alienated the rest of the Legislature. He cannot get people to work with him for Tyler. Why? I cannot answer this question, but it concerns me.

At this time in our history, we need statesman — someone who stands on principles but doesn’t alienate the leadership and isolate our community. I do not doubt Matt Schaefer’s passion or his conservative principles. They align well with mine! I doubt his effectiveness. I believe that Skip Ogle will be a more effective leader, and is the right person at the right time.

Mike Russell, MD



I have been following with great interest the election contest between Mr. Skip Ogle and Rep. Matt Schaeffer. I find “politics as usual” is being employed by the supporters of Mr. Schaeffer. By “politics as usual,” I mean a disingenuous regurgitation of distorted “facts.” I feel a need to set the record straight.

Let’s begin by looking at Skip’s background:

Skip has a long history of involvement in our community as well as experience building strategic coalitions to help the people of Tyler and East Texas.

He serves on boards such as: Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, United Way, University of Texas Health Northeast, and Tyler Independent School District’s new Career & Technical Education Center.

Skip has 15 years’ experience working in community and government relations at the state level. This means he knows how to effectively work with people and not be a lightning rod for divisive concepts.

Skip graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in Architecture and a Masters in City and Regional Planning. What could be a better background for an effective representative?

Skip is a local businessman (he owns and operates a small residential construction business and manages the family farm located near Tyler) and is Director of Community Relations for Suddenlink.

With this background and the clear reason he is running in order to “Represent Smith County in Austin,” I can happily cast my vote for Skip and look forward to a new era in Austin.

Finally, I know he and Senator Eltife (and all the representatives and senators in East Texas) will work together to improve the state.

Charles W. Alworth




I write in support of Jim Huggler as the best candidate for judge of the County Court at Law in the coming Republican primary. I served on a grand jury headed by Jim as assistant district attorney several years ago and was very impressed with his legal skills and knowledge. He was always well-prepared and moved us rapidly and accurately through the cases to be heard. He was efficient, thorough and professional - plus he has a great sense of humor, which is needed occasionally during such a serious task. His outstanding legal achievements and credentials have been widely reported in this paper, and they are top-notch.

I also know him as a fellow parishioner at Christ Episcopal Church, where he is a faithful and very active member. I believe he is the most outstanding candidate for this position. He has the judicial temperament plus all the other requirements to be an effective and outstanding judge. He has my confidence and my vote. Please vote for Jim Huggler as Judge for the County Court at Law.

Carolyn Waters




In his most recent radio ad, Skip Ogle complains about all the lies and distortion being used in this campaign. From the research that I have done, this claim can be made against Mr. Ogle himself. I guess it’s true “the guilty dog barks loudest.” There are many examples of Mr. Ogle’s lack of candor. One in particular is an attack on Matt Schaefer for voting against a bill that would place term limits on politicians. This bill, SJR 13, exempted state senators and representatives. It also would limit statewide executive office holders to two terms except state judges and current office holders. It was a bad bill. Matt said passing a bill that applied to others but not the Legislature would be hypocritical.

Matt was elected to be a conservative voice in Austin, and that is what he has been. I support Matt Schaefer because I know he will stand up and vote his conservative values. I encourage everyone who is a true conservative and values the truth to vote for Matt.

Philip Matthews




Rep. Matt Schaefer continues to criticize Skip Ogle for being a lobbyist. Matt makes the job sound almost sinister in his recent mail-out.

Now we see Matt proudly publicizing the endorsement of his campaign by former Sen. Phil Gramm. I wonder if Matt is aware Sen. Gramm served as a registered lobbyist in Washington after his retirement?

The criticism of Skip Ogle’s lobbyist career is nothing more than a ploy to associate a negative perception with his ability to represent Texas House District 6.

Skip currently works for one of our large companies here in Tyler. They’ve had a huge impact on our community by providing a much-needed service and providing over 1,400 jobs.

The reality is Skip’s occupation as a lobbyist has not been in the traditional sense of the word. Skip’s experience has included representing various local businesses, education groups, and medical interests for 15 years. He now wants to use his experience to represent our district with the same dedication and professionalism he demonstrated when working for his former employers.

Just as a company hires someone with contacts in their same industry, Skip can use the relationships he has established, his gift for building new relationships, and his persuasive skills to be an effective voice in Austin.

It takes an individual with self-dedication to make the decision to change their career from lobbyist to legislator. The door usually revolves the opposite way as in Sen. Gramm’s case: legislator to lobbyist. As a legislator, Skip Ogle would bring a business career and the public relations skills to champion for the best interests of District 6 and our state.

Cary Byrd




After voting for Matt Schaefer in the last election, I was disappointed at his inability to establish coalitions among his peers in Austin. It will be extremely important that East Texans have a strong voice in the decisions concerning energy, water and transportation. Our future depends upon the decisions that are made now. For these reasons, I have cast an early vote for Skip Ogle, who is a Republican candidate for Texas House of Representatives District 6 in the upcoming March 4 election. Skip Ogle is a leader who believes in community first.

Ron Shaffer




Skip Ogle’s positive “Community First” message is getting extraordinary support. It’s no wonder Rep. Matt Schaefer has resorted to mud-slinging.

With only three more terms (just six more years), Matt qualifies for a state pension that will pay him $32,000 a year with added benefits.

Faced with what’s at stake, what’s an incumbent to do? But contrary to Matt’s efforts, we see what’s behind the negative attacks on Skip.

The truth is that Matt cannot run on his record. He made such a fuss in Austin that anything he proposes will go nowhere.

We need someone who can represent our district with dignity and good judgment. That person is Skip Ogle. Skip has a proven record of working with people to bring about progress. He has served on numerous local boards for years giving back to our community. Let’s send a message to the mud-slinger — vote for Skip Ogle.

Terry Miller




I live in Palestine, represented at the state level by Byron Cook. Oh, how I wish I could cast a vote for Matt Schaefer. He represents things I believe in and stand for- protecting life, cutting government regulation and duplication, stopping illegal border crossings, encouraging vocational education, and promoting responsible state spending; Matt Schaefer vowed he would continue to uphold those principles.

According to the story in the Tyler paper, Skip Ogle is a former lobbyist, and another lobbyist is one thing we do not need in Austin. Also I am puzzled by Skip Ogle running as a Republican, if he has indeed supported Democrats financially. The two parties stand far apart on most issues, so I don’t see how that can work.

Finally, my blood ran cold when I read Skip Ogle’s quote that we have to build more lakes and reservoirs, and work with I-35 corridor cities; that sounds like Skip Ogle wants to be their representative.

Vickey Quarles




I just received the “Facts About Skip Ogle” flyer, compliments of Rep. Matt Schaefer. It is obvious; Matt does not know the facts.

Where I was raised, if you didn’t tell the whole truth, it was considered misleading.

The flyer stated, “Skip helped liberal Democrat Mark Homer defeat conservative Kirby Hollingsworth.” That is NOT true.

Hollingsworth had already been defeated in the 2004 general election. Skip donated to Homer in June 2005 after he fought for a fair and level playing field for all telecommunication businesses during the session. There were no candidates seeking this position at that time — filing did not begin until December in 2005. Interestingly, Homer served as vice chair of the Texas Conservative Coalition and was a board member of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute.

It’s clear Skip Ogle has our community’s support. Most of Skip’s contributions came from individuals from all walks of life here in Smith County.

Frankly, I consider Skip’s background as a lobbyist to be an extremely positive advantage. Skip has exceptional diplomatic skills, which he learned while working 15 years in government relations. He knows how to advance legislation for the good of our district. I’m backing Skip Ogle.

John Soules Jr.