West Fort Worth-area US House candidates focus on border security, drugs, economy

dfwnewsa | February 18, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

West Fort Worth-area US House candidates focus on border security, drugs, economy

Rep. Roger Williams, left, and Matthew Lucci, right, are candidates for the Republican nomination for Texas’ 25th Congressional District ahead of the March primaries. (Courtesy photos | Roger Williams, Matthew Lucci)
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Texas’ 25th Congressional District has two Republican candidates vying for the seat — incumbent Roger Williams and newcomer Matthew Lucci. 

The district covers parts of Tarrant, Parker and Johnson counties, as well as Callahan, Comanche, Erath, Hood, Jack, Palo Pinto, Somervell, Stephens and Young counties. 

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Primaries will be held March 5, with early voting starting Feb. 20. The general election is Nov. 5.

Members of Congress earn $174,000 per year. 

Ahead of the elections, the Fort Worth Report compiled candidate surveys for relevant Tarrant County races. 

Answers may have been edited for grammar, length and clarity. The Report has not independently verified the accuracy of the statements made below. 

Roger Williams

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams is running for reelection in the 2024 Republican Primary for U.S. House District 25. (Photo courtesy | Roger Williams)

Age: 74

Occupation: Car dealer, new and used

What are your qualifications to serve on this seat?

I am one of the only people in Congress who still owns and operates a business. I must live with the impacts of what happens in Congress and the debilitating regulations handed down by the Biden administration. I’m proud to be your chairman of the House Small Business Committee, where we are pushing back on this. Under Joe Biden, our American economy has become woke and broke. We need to put America back on track. I authored legislation that began right here in North Texas called the Jumpstart America Plan. Under President Trump, we were able to put that plan in the comprehensive tax reform package that Biden is bound and determined to destroy. I am proud to have a lifetime America Conservative Union (CPAC) rating of over 90% and honored to once again be endorsed by President Donald Trump.

If reelected, what are your top three priorities?

We must secure the border, make the tax cuts permanent and end the senseless regulations that are choking main street America.

What is the single biggest issue facing your district right now?

Right here in the greatest country in the world, you see open borders flooding our towns with drugs and illegal immigrants who all too often are here for bad reasons. In my short time of serving you, I have fought tooth and nail to secure our border. Each and every day, I am pushing back on attempts by Biden to tear down the wall, permanently opening our borders and giving amnesty to millions and millions of illegals. 

From my first day in Congress, I have fought to protect Americans from illegal immigration, starting by opposing the Obama-era amnesty program and then voting to provide over $5 billion to build a border wall. I have led seven bills this Congress to support border security, restrict asylum and protect Texas from the migrant crisis. I am the author of the Remain in Mexico bill that would make permanent the Trump-era policy requiring asylum seekers to wait for their court date in Mexico. 

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I am co-author of the most comprehensive and consequential border plan in our nation’s history, H.R. 2, the Secure Our Border Act, which has passed the House and would restart the border wall construction, end the dangerous catch and release, and include my Remain in Mexico bill. I recently introduced the STOP Act, which gives Texas the authority to secure our borders, protect the lives of Texans and reimburses Texas for any state tax dollars spent on border security. The federal government can either take responsibility for the crisis at our southern border or get out of the way.

How will you balance the needs of your constituents in the more rural parts of your district with the needs of those in the denser, more urban portions?

Biden’s open borders, desire to raise your taxes and job-killing regulations on small businesses are impacting every single community in the district, state and across our country. We need an American economy that is booming. We need to make the Trump tax cuts permanent. We need to get rid of Joe Biden’s woke, job-killing regulations. We need to secure our borders and reclaim our national sovereignty. We need to be energy-independent. We need to restore law and order. We need a military focused on winning battles and not woke recruiting. We need a president who ends wars and does not drag us into endless wars.

This past Congress was considered the least productive in decades. If elected, how will you work with your fellow Congressmen to get things done?

We must elect a new president in 2024. Under the Biden administration, we have consistently seen record-high illegal border crossings, record-high inflation and an economy that is sputtering. Under our Republican House of Representatives, we have passed H.R. 2, the most consequential border security bill in our nation’s history, we have voted to cut spending levels, pulled back wasted and fraudulent COVID spending, lowered tax burdens on Main Street America and job creators, and put forward the support that is needed by our most important ally, Israel, as they battle terrorist who are attempting to destroy them. The Senate, led by Chuck Schumer and directed by Biden, refuses to move on these vital issues, willfully pushing America in a dangerous direction and weakening who we are as a country. In 2024, we must put America back on track.

Matthew Lucci

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Matthew Lucci of Arlington is running for U.S. House District 25. (Photo courtesy | Matthew Lucci)

Age: 25

Occupation: Engineer and entrepreneur. Lucci runs a medical device company called Runatek.

What are your qualifications to serve on this seat?

I am an entrepreneur. I’ve built my own company from the ground up. In fact, when I started that company, I took everything I had and put it in the company. I ended up living in my car for the first two years so that every spare dollar could go toward building that company. 

In addition to that, I’ve been very active in the Johnson County Republican volunteers for several years, door-knocking for candidates at all levels, from Ted Cruz in the Senate, all the way down to local candidates for city council out in Granbury or Arlington. And on top of all of that, what we’ve really found is folks in this district wanting someone who will actually step out and fight for them and have the ability to do that, knowing how not to back down. 

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My experience as a three-time national debate champion, former debate coach, as well as college professor has really taught me those skills and it’s enabled me even at my young age to have a unique set of qualifications to represent the district that I grew up in, the district that I’m proud to call home.

If elected, what are your top three priorities?

My biggest priority is going to be securing our border, wrapped up in that is fighting the drug crisis — the opioid epidemic — that’s very pervasive in this district, as well as human trafficking. 

Those three things — border security, drug trafficking and human trafficking — are inseparable. You have to address all of them, or they’re all going to continue to get worse. 

In this district alone, there are over 2,000 children trafficked for sex every single week. That’s why I stepped up and authored the congressional pledge to fight human trafficking that’s been signed by dozens of candidates all across this country. We also see in this district Young County, the county in Texas with the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths anywhere and was for over two decades. So I believe that we do need to be addressing opioids, in particular fentanyl — getting into our schools, our kids’ hands. And we need to make sure that we’re fighting back against human trafficking. 

Both of those things are going on here in our district, and specifically in Tarrant County. Teachers from Arlington ISD come up to me almost on a weekly basis, telling me stories of how drug cartels are using children to sell drugs to other children. These are drugs laced with fentanyl in middle schools, and so this is clearly something that needs to be addressed.

What is the single biggest issue facing your district right now?

I think the single biggest issue is border security, and what the lack of border security brings. The lack of border security does bring drugs into our communities, brings crime to our communities, and brings human trafficking into our communities. 

How will you balance the needs of your constituents in the more rural parts of your district with the needs of those in the denser, more urban portions?

The biggest thing is to be there. I grew up in a rural town called Venus. It’s grown to 4,000 people. They had a second stoplight recently. Now I live in Arlington, and there’s a big difference between those. 

I’ve stayed very connected in some of the more rural areas in our district, as well as in some of our more urban areas. Whether it’s going out knocking on doors constantly in Graham, or Jacksboro or Cleburne or Arlington or south Fort Worth, the plan is to make sure that we’re always out there. We’re always serving the community. We’re always hearing from the community and that not a single one of those 13 counties goes unrepresented because there’s a huge portion of this district that has really been ignored for the last 12 years.

I would say the biggest thing that we want to do is make our office and our staff, as well as myself, a lot more accessible than the incumbent has been for the last 12 years. We want to move our Arlington district office out of Ranger Stadium, where it is right now is very hard to get to, and move it to a more accessible place in Arlington. From there, we want to make sure that our offices are actually staffed and have open offices four days a week. The fifth day would be what we all call mobile office hours. Because we have two district offices and 13 counties that we need to cover, we want to make sure that some of our more rural areas also have the ability to come speak with us, bring their concerns to us and talk to us in person.

This past Congress was considered the least productive in decades. If elected, how will you work with your fellow Congressmen to get things done?

There’s two things that we’re going to do. One, we’re going to fight for everything on our platform. What we tell all of our volunteers is hold me to everything that I say that I’m going to fight for. If I don’t fight for everything that I say I’m going to fight for or if I don’t do everything that I say that I’m going to do, then go back to those same voters in two years and tell them ‘Look, this guy failed us like our last congressman did. This guy lied to us like our last congressman.’ So that’s step one, being held accountable. 

Step two is a lot of the work that we’re doing right now. When I was talking about the fact that I’m the author of the congressional pledge to fight human trafficking, we’ve gone out to hundreds of candidates across the country and gotten this in front of hundreds of candidates. We got many of them to sign on to it and they have talked with folks at the county level, the city level, all the way up to the national level, in different places around the country. So what we’ve been able to do is kind of catalog what each member of Congress and what each candidate for Congress really cares about. That way I know that I can go to some congressman in Pennsylvania, for example, if I want to work on legislation to stop inflation, or I can go to a separate person in Wyoming, for my legislation surrounding protecting innocent life by being able to do that. 

Building those relationships early, and figuring out what you can and can’t work with certain people early on will help me and my staff to be much more effective when we get elected here in March than someone who just goes into it in full campaign mode. Because there are frankly a lot of folks who are going to be running the campaign promises and just want something to run on at the end of the day but don’t care if the problem actually gets fixed. In fact, if the problem is not fixed, it gives them something else they can run on two years in the future. That’s not working for us in District 25. That’s not working for us in Texas. We need to figure out how we can work together, when we can work together, not compromise our principles, and make sure that we’re held accountable by our constituents, instead of being paid off by high-dollar donors out of Washington, D.C., and New York City.

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