by Molly Noble Bull
Dr. Rey Gonzalez is a medical doctor with a Law degree, and he won the Republican primary in the 34th Congressional District of Texas. I live in that district, and I am endorsing him in his bid for the U.S. Congress in the coming general election in November 2016.
Welcome, Dr. Gonzalez. It is such an honor to have you here.
Thank you, Molly. You know, I figured that running for office would bring many unexpected experiences. One of them has turned out to be my opportunity to meet fellow Texans who love their state and country as much as I do, and who I would otherwise never have had the pleasure to meet had I not decided to run for public office. You’re one such Texan, Molly, and I’m happy to be here.
Like everything in Texas, ours is a big district. You live in Brownsville which is way down at the tip of Texas—as far south as you can get and still be in the state. I live two hours north of you, and northerners need to learn more about you.
So let us begin. Tell us all about Rey Gonzalez, including your early life and family.
My full name is Reynaldo Gonzalesz Jr., although I’ve always gone by just “Rey.” I was born and raised in San Benito, Texas, a small town in the Rio Grande Valley. I was brought up in a pastoral home, being that my parents have been pastors of a church since before I was born. They still pastor. I have one older sister and a younger brother. I was educated in public schools up through and including high school. After high school I attended Baylor University where in 2002 I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and Pre-Med Studies. At the age of 21, I became the youngest adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Brownsville. I taught for one year until I was accepted to medical school. During the year that I taught at the university, I obtained my private pilot license, accomplishing a childhood dream of one day learning how to fly an airplane. I graduated from medical school with an M.D. degree in 2008, which is the same year that I enrolled in law school. I graduated from law school with a J.D. degree in 2010, finishing all three years of law school in exactly 24 months.
I am single, 36 years old and my hobbies include traveling and piloting airplanes. I have taught Sunday school to the youth and young adults at my church for many years. I often plan my trips, both business and personal, around my Sunday schedule in order to be home in time to exercise the privilege of teaching this class.
Professionally, I am a sole practitioner in my law practice in south Texas, utilizing my knowledge of medicine to help my personal injury clients obtain justice. Today, I am a candidate for Congress because no longer can I stand by only complaining about the direction my country is going without taking an active role in demanding a return to reasonableness, to wholesomeness and a respect for our traditional values.
Thanks. As a pro-family—prolife Christian and an issues voter with a love for the U.S. Constitution, I would like to begin with the social issues. Tell your views on abortion, especially later term abortion, gay marriage, unisex bathrooms, etc. (I hope you write a lot here, but answer only what you feel comfortable answering.)
I too am a pro-family, pro-life Christian. Elective abortion, except for the purpose of saving the mother’s life, is the single-most abhorrent practice to the art of medicine and has become a terrible stain on the moral fabric of our country. The world has seen other terrible practices in the past. For example, in some countries, euthanasia (doctor assisted suicide) is legal and doctors help their patients die, violating the most sacred trust society has endowed them with: to preserve life. Another terrible practice which the world has seen is forced-sterilization, justified by those in the eugenics movement. Forced sterilization is the practice of forcing someone deemed to be “inferior” in some personal trait to undergo surgery to permanently prevent them from having children, thereby preventing the passing of their “bad genes” to the next generation. This idea was used by Nazi Germany as a justification for its mass murder as they attempted to create a perfect race. I would place abortion on the same level as those practices except for one key difference: abortion is an injustice committed against the most defenseless among us - the unborn child; and for the mere reason of convenience. Because of those differences, I place abortion a level higher than euthanasia and eugenics on the scale of abhorrent practices.
As a physician, I have taken an oath to preserve life; to do no harm. The Pro-Choice movement’s argument citing a woman’s right to self-determination is invalid because it ignores that the unborn child is a separate person, with its own heart beat and distinct blood type and finger prints – thus, not the woman’s “self.” Late term abortion is no more repulsive than abortion at any other time during the term of the pregnancy because life is precious at all stages, from conception to natural death.
Congressman Vela has tried to appeal to the conservatives in our district by portraying himself a center-left democrat, opposing some democrat-supported bills. But his occasional opposition to a democrat-supported bill is never one which makes a difference in the outcome of the bill. It only serves him to have something to show his conservative constituents during his re-election bid. If he were truly a conservative, however, he would oppose bills that were of consequence to the conservative movement. For example, when given the opportunity to oppose the funding of Planned Parenthood, even after the revelation of Planned Parenthood’s policy on the sale of aborted fetal tissue, Mr. Vela voted with Nancy Pelosi to fund Planned Parenthood. I would vote to completely defund Planned Parenthood and instead support the funding of other organizations which could use the funds to support all of the other services which Planned Parenthood currently provides which are not related to abortion and which are, admittedly, necessary and of great value to women throughout the district.
On homosexual marriage. I oppose all marriages which are not consistent with God’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I caution conservatives against opposing things with specificity because then you would have to oppose a long list of practices, such as: homosexual marriage, polygamy, marriage to an inanimate object, marriage to your pet, etc. Instead I find it prudent to state what I do support. I support traditional marriage. I support the wholesomeness of the family environment which a traditional marriage creates for children and which a homosexual marriage cannot provide, despite all arguments or anecdotal “evidence” to the contrary. A good rule of thumb that has helped guide me is: If God has defined something, use His definition. God has defined marriage and He has not asked for our help to update its definition.
Americans who are homosexual, transgender, or bi-sexual are, no doubt, Americans with rights worthy of protection. But these Americans do not have special rights which supersede the rights of other Americans. The President’s recent order to require all public places, including public elementary schools, to allow grown men to use girls’ restrooms if they “feel” like a woman would have surprised me years ago, but under the current political environment, it didn’t. There are two points to be made here: First, granting this right to LGBT Americans clearly violates the rights of privacy of little girls (also Americans) to use a restroom outside the presence of a man. Second, this order is a solution to a problem which the LGBT community created in the first place. One cannot kill one’s parents and then reasonably expect to receive sympathy based on one’s new status of orphan. Similarly, the LGBT crusade has created a problem where none existed, then called their creation a civil rights violation, followed by a nonsensical “solution” which only serves to further entrench proponents of either side of the debate. On final analysis, this arbitrary order to correct a fictitious civil rights violation gives rise to a true violation of girls’ rights to privacy. So, to make my stance on the issue clear, I stand with the overwhelming majority of Texans when I state that Texans were never confused about what restroom we should use and I reject the left’s attempt to inject confusion and create a new civil right. We Texans are more than capable of clearing up any confusion on that issue, ourselves, if any confusion about restrooms ever did become a real issue. Until then, we are right to challenge the President’s order and insist that truly consequential issues, such as immigration reform and the threat of terrorism, become the President’s focus.
For several generations, my family have made their home in South Texas, and my father and grandfather were Texas ranch cowboys. I learned at an early age that the people who crossed the river into Texas from Mexico were kind, gentle people and that we were to help them with anything they needed—food, clothing, whatever. But not all those crossing that river today are kind and gentle. Some came from China and the Middle East. Tell your thoughts on the immigration problems Texas faces today. Should we build a wall? If not, what?
If a patient comes into the emergency room complaining of generalized swelling, admitting that she simply did not feel like going to her dialysis appointments in the last week, the solution is pretty easy – get her to dialysis. If, however, she tells the doctor that aside from the swelling, she is bleeding profusely from a gash under her blouse, then the gash becomes the priority. You don’t need to be a doctor to know this. A similar priority-shifting analysis applies to our immigration policy problem. The fact that immigrants are coming illegally to the United States is a problem. That immigration reform is needed is obvious, and many administrations have attempted to fix our immigration policy shortcomings without success. However, the most pressing issue, sticking with the bleeding-patient analogy, is the hemorrhaging occurring right this moment. The porous border is our bleeding gash – it requires attention first. In light of recent intelligence reports in which terrorists have already planned on using the southern border to gain access to the United States, securing the border is not only an immigration issue, but a national security issue of the highest order.
As your question suggested, Americans are a generous people. We give aid after catastrophes anywhere in the world. We defend basic human rights to anyone in the United States, regardless of their immigration status. But when our veterans suffer hunger and are made to wait 6 months before they get seen by a doctor at the VA, but illegal immigrants get concierge service at free clinics and free medicines and groceries, something is terribly wrong.
I will not pretend to know what the solution is – whether it is building a wall or some other mechanism. I have learned throughout the years that one of the most valuable tools in the toolbox of a problem-solver is the ability to say, “I don’t know.” There are professional men and women in the border security world who could best advise Congress and The President as to how to best secure the border. Instead of declaring the solution off the cuff, I advocate for listening to those experienced professionals and implement their suggestions.
National defense is a very important issue to the people I know, and our military has been gutted. Bases have closed or are closing; the Grid is unreliable, and though our military is still filled with good honest people, it is becoming more of a social action group than defenders of our freedom. How do you feel about this issue, and what do you hope to do to fix this problem?
I agree that our military’s preparedness is at its lowest state it has ever been, not to mention the deplorable state of moral among those serving. The size of our military is dangerously small and I question the wisdom of letting politicians determine the needs of our armed forces instead of military leaders. Here, too, where there are experts I advocate for conferring with those experts to fix problems in ways which they suggest are advisable.
The President’s answer to a debate question four years ago demonstrates his thinking on this issue. He was asked about the size of our navy and the concern for the dwindling number of ships in our fleet. Instead of acknowledging the danger the low number actually poses to our security and influence around the world and offer a pledge to strengthen the navy, he mocked the questioner by referring to “these really big ships – we call them aircraft carriers.” “We don’t need many small ships,” he went on, “when we now have these big ones.” I believe that we should open military bases and encourage young recruits to join the ranks, not be closing bases under the pretext of exchanging quality for quantity.
A congressman can support the armed forces with his vote on all legislation which will buttress a stronger military. But, if he can get on a committee which deals with military preparedness, he can exert even more influence on this issue. If elected, I will pursue an appointment onto such a committee or subcommittee in order to influence an awakening in our national dialogue about the need for a strong, robust and proud military.
Texas was once known as the place to be, and jobs were aplenty, not so much anymore. Jobs and the economy are important to South Texans. What can be done to keep the jobs already here in Texas and stop companies from relocating overseas?
While the current economic down turn has affected many Texans with lost jobs, Texans are not alone in this situation. In fact, Texans have been blessed to have suffered among the least in terms of jobs lost and wages cut when compared to the effects the economic recession has had nationwide. As the economy recovers, Texas’ economy, as reflected all the way down to the kitchen table, is poised to be among the first to feel the return to a state of prosperity like the one you cited in your question. Why? Because Texas already gives excellent tax incentives to foreign companies to relocate to Texas. Texans enjoy not having a state income tax. Property taxes are among the lowest in the country. And Texans are resilient. We know how to take care of our neighbor in a time of need – getting through rough times with grace.
On a national scale, the rest of America can stand to learn a lesson from our great state. Texans should lead the country in demonstrating the best practices in creating an environment where companies want to remain in the United States. For those companies which insist on taking their business to foreign countries though, strict penalties in the form of taxes, should follow. If they cannot be encouraged to stay, then they must be discouraged from leaving.
Jobs and economic development in the 34th Congressional District of Texas will be my priority as your member of Congress – with one major difference from that of our current congressman – I will focus on this priority while always remaining conscious of our traditional values. We will not sell ourselves for 30 pieces of silver.
Nobody talks much about the national debt these days, and it just keeps growing and growing. What are your ideas as to how we can pay-off the huge national debt?
I suggest that the national debt can be paid off in the same way my family and yours pays off debt – spend less, save more. This should not be a difficult concept. Any operation which depends on a budget – whether you’re talking about a family of four or a Fortune 20 company – knows that spending more than you take in leads, inevitably, to a state of unsustainability. The federal government is no different – except that unlike you and me, it can print money, so it does. The Constitution is a historic document which has been the legal basis of our advancement in America as a society and as a force for good world-wide, so I understand the justified reluctance to amend it. However, I believe that if a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution were passed, legislators would quickly identify those federal programs which can be eliminated in order to balance the budget and get our financial house in order. I support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Our congressman, instead of standing with the rest of his district to protest the growing debt, stood with his party to vote to increase the debt ceiling. With this maneuver, Congress gave itself permission to spend more than it can afford and send the country deeper into debt. The next generation of Americans will have to find a way to deal with all of this debt. I submit that the next generation is here. The next generation says, “enough.” A vote for Filemon Vela is a vote for Nancy Pelosi and her runaway spending. A vote for Rey Gonzalez is a fresh start with a new generational perspective demanding change to the status quo.
Climate change and the green issues are big topics for the democrats, and to a degree, it is a problem for all of us. What are your thoughts on Green Energy and organic foods/ regulations?
This issue is also one which I think I approach differently than the typical politician because of the generational difference between me and those of the previous generations. I also approach this issue differently because I am a man of faith and science. I believe that as technology advances, truths which were always there, are simply being revealed to us. What we do with those truths is entirely up to us. But if we recognize that what is discovery to us is familiar to God, then we might begin to appreciate that man’s scientific research is one of God’s methods for revealing truths. If this is the case, then the result of research is a revelation which God intends for us to know at this time in our history for some purpose. But what purpose? Should we relegate truth to a prominent place on a prestigious journal only to place it among other journals in lofty libraries of the world, or does God intend for us to actually modify our lives as He reveals truths? I submit that the latter makes more sense.
Scientific advancements have revealed that our climate is changing. This is a fact and it does no help to our cause in denying what is observational truth. As you correctly state in your question, this is a problem for all of us. Human activity on Earth during the last century has undoubtedly contributed to the change in our climate. This is also a fact. What we do with these facts is also entirely up to us.
Regulations are useful. Unnecessary, run-away regulating by overzealous legislators is not – all the contrary. I believe that in the same way that we must take a step back from political correctness without going to the extreme of abandoning basic social norms of courtesy and respect for others, we should seek to stand against unnecessary regulations which unduly burden industry and innovation, without abandoning altogether our responsibility to protect the climate for future generations through sensible regulations.
Should we drill for oil? Yes, safely. An oil spill isn’t disastrous because the oil wasted affects our pocketbook. It is disastrous because it destroys the environment which the next generation is counting on us to care for. Should we drill for natural gas? Absolutely. Should we embrace green energy as additional sources of energy which may someday provide so much energy for humanity that our dependence on oil and natural gas is eliminated? Of course!
Many South Texans, perhaps most, are Christian believers who consider God and family of the utmost importance. Share as much as you will about your personal relationship with God and his only begotten son, Jesus.
I began to play the piano at my church at age 10. One day, at the age of 12, while I sat at the piano ready to play a song for the alter call, my pastor, who is also my mother, asked a question which resonated in the ear of that 12 year old. She described church-goers and people who liked church enough to attend regularly and who, by all accounts, behave like Christians, but who have never accepted Christ as their Savior. Then she explained that Jesus came to save those folks, too. She asked, “You are already playing the part. You know the songs. You come to church. If you’re not saved, what are you waiting for?” At that moment, I understood that Jesus died not to turn “bad” people into “good” people – because there are already fine folks who live without Him - but rather to make dead people, alive. That evening, I closed the piano keyboard lid, bowed my head, and accepted Christ as my savior.
I do not have a sensational conversion story to tell - just that of me as a 12 year old understanding my need for a Savior. I have walked with Him ever since. I seek to honor God with my life and credit Him for all my accomplishments, personal and professional. If the Lord gives me the privilege of having a wife and children someday, I hope to tell my children at my death bed, that I was faithful to their mother and to the Lord.
We covered a lot of topics in this interview. Now please share whatever you would like to say to those living in District 34.
I would like to motivate those in District 34 who are tired of simply complaining about the direction in which our country is going to become active in three ways:
First, I encourage believers to fervently pray that God would bring about an awakening of sorts that would turn our nation toward Him. We should pray for intelligent, well-educated God-fearing men and women to take the courageous step of seeking elected office. We should pray that when elected, that they remain true to their calling, seeking to honor God above all other interests. We should pray that conservative voters truly inspect their candidates and vote according to their conscience, not party loyalty.
Second, I encourage voters to motivate everyone in their circle of influence to vote. This seems like the easy part, but conservatives have been so discouraged in recent years, feeling outnumbered, that they don’t even bother to vote anymore. Let us work to combat this idea and get folks to the polls during early voting.
Finally, I encourage all those who want to see me elected to contribute financially to the campaign. All donations are helpful. Please go to reygonzalez.org to donate online, or send a check or money order to P.O. Box 2207, San Benito, TX 78586. Together, we can make a difference in Washington.
Thanks Dr. Rey Gonzalez for this inspiring interview. May you soon be known as United States Congressman Rey Gonzalez from the 34th District of Texas.