WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Roger Williams (R – Austin), released the following statement after the House voted to pass H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act:
“This afternoon, I voted ‘yes’ on behalf of Texas farmers and ranchers who are the foundation of our agricultural system in the United States, and around the world. Though I recognize the importance of this legislation for our country, this is a missed opportunity. The well-being of our farmers should not be hitched to a welfare program that has grown unchecked for far too long. The entitlement reforms authorized in this bill are a good start, but we must continue to address cost-laden programs that discourage putting Americans back to work.”
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WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Roger Williams (R-Austin), released the following statement Wednesday, the 6-month anniversary of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
“As a small businesses owner for my entire working life, I spent the past three terms in Congress fighting for tax cuts that would allow for Main Street to begin breathing again,” said Rep. Williams. “In the last six months since Republicans in Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it is evident that American families and businesses are feeling its impact on every street corner.
“Small business optimism is at an all-time high across Texas’ 25th District, and around the nation, due to employers increasing their workforce, reinvesting into their operations, and raising wages. As a result, over one million jobs have been created, which has brought unemployment down to 3.8 percent – the lowest in years.
“All of this is great, but we’re not done yet. I am continuing to work to strengthen the economy and make tax cuts permanent for families and workers. We will fight year after year to make America more competitive, and to keep our tax code simpler, flatter, and fairer. “
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As many of you know, last Thursday was the Annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. This game was very special to my teammates and me, as it marked one year since the horrific attack that forever changed who we are on and off the field. My family and I remain grateful for Capitol Police Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey. They are heroes and they serve as a constant reminder that God is in control.
In case you missed, my staffer, Zack Barth, and I joined Fox News Channels' Fox and Friends the morning of the game. Click here to watch.
North Korea Summit
President Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-un was a step in the right direction for America and for the world. However, let me be clear, while these negotiations are a work in progress, the only acceptable option is a complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization. Until that happens, we will continue our maximum pressure campaign to ensure the North Korean Regime is held accountable. I am confident that the President and Department of State Secretary Mike Pompeo will do what is right for America.
Tax Reform Update
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported last week that small business optimism has jumped to the second-highest level in history, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As a small business owner, I know how hindering taxes can be for you and your employees. Now, with the biggest tax cuts in corporate history, you can hire more people, reinvest into company operations, and raise wages. Click here to read more.
Last week: in addition to voting on 11 legislative items, I participated in a Financial Services Committee markup where we advanced four bills to the House floor: H.R. 5749, the Options Markets Stability Act; H.R. 5953, the BUILD Act; H.R. 6035, the Streamlining Communications for Investors Act; and H.R. 6069, the FIND Trafficking Act. If you missed it, you can watch it here.
This week: I'll be participating in three Committee hearings. On Wednesday at 9am CT, the full Committee will receive testimony from five key witnesses regarding how we can empower a pro-growth economy by cutting taxes and regulatory red tape. Later that day at 1pm CT, the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance will question relevant representatives regarding the illicit use of virtual currency and law enforcement's response. Finally, on Thursday at 9am CT, Chairman Jay Clayton of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will be with us to discuss oversight of the Commission.
I have included some articles and releases you may find interesting located on the right side of this newsletter. It is an honor and privilege to represent the people of Texas’ 25th Congressional District and as always, please reach out to me with any issues and concerns that are important to you.
In God we trust,
Member of CongressRead More
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Roger Williams (R-Austin), manager of the Republican Congressional Baseball Team, will coach the players during the annual game at National’s Park this evening – exactly one year after a gunman opened fire at the GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
“This year’s Congressional Baseball Game is very special to my teammates and me. This game marks one year since the horrific attack that forever changed who we are on and off the field,” said Rep. Williams. “My family and I remain forever grateful for Capitol Police Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey. They are heroes and they serve as a constant reminder that God is in control.
“Tonight, we will show the world that once again we are not afraid. For three hours, Republicans and Democrats will put on our uniforms and put aside our ideological differences to come together for a bipartisan ballgame. The GOP is more than ready to win that trophy – this is our year.”
Zack Barth, legislative assistant for Williams, who sustained a gunshot wound last year, is also returning to the field with the rest of the team. Barth, along with other aides, attends practices and assists the members of the team.
“This team shares a bond of brotherhood because of June 14 that will never be broken. We have come a long way, as teammates and individuals, and it will be a true privilege to be in the dugout with my friends tonight,” said Barth. “We have looked great in practice, and I look forward to holding the trophy following a Republican victory.”
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WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Roger Williams (R-Austin), manager of the Republican Congressional Baseball Team, will honor former University of Texas Coach Augie Garrido at tomorrow’s 2018 game.
“Augie’s passing was a great loss not only to the baseball community, but to our nation as a whole. His love for the game was evident through his everyday actions – whether it was leading two different schools to bring home the national title, or being only one of three coaches to win five or more NCAA titles – Augie impacted and inspired players and Americans alike. In an effort to honor my good friend’s legacy, I will be wearing a University of Texas baseball jersey with his number, #16, on the back. If you play the game or just love to watch, it is up to us to keep his legacy alive; this one’s for you, Augie.”
Tomorrow, June 14, 2018, at 7:05pm ET, Republicans and Democrats will go head-to-head in the annual bipartisan Congressional Baseball Game, which is scheduled exactly one year after a gunman opened fire on the GOP team at practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Rep. Williams has served as coach of the team since 2013 and was recently named manager. As the representative for the University of Texas in Texas’ 25th Congressional District, Rep. Williams will take this opportunity to recognize the university as well as honor his good friend, and former UT baseball coach, Augie Garrido, by wearing his jersey number for a portion of the game.
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Just last week, the House passed H.R. 3, the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, which will cut $15 billion in unexpended federal funds. I came to Washington to make fiscally responsible decisions on behalf of Texas’ 25th District, and I was proud to cast my vote in favor of the largest rescissions package in our nation’s history. I will continue working hard to slash government spending and fight to allow Americans to keep more of their money. Americans work too hard to have their tax dollars wasted.
Golden State Foods Comes to Burleson
On Tuesday, I attended the groundbreaking ceremony in Burleson, Texas for Golden State Foods. They will make a great contribution to Texas’ 25th District, as well as the entire state, and it was an honor to join Mayor pro tem Dan McClendon in welcoming the GSF team to our community. I visit Burleson often, and each time the folks who live here are just as warm and generous as the time before. Their commitment to each other, their jobs and their community is infectious - where else can you get a town with family-oriented values alongside this level of economic growth? I know I can speak for everyone when I say how excited we all are to watch Golden State Foods flourish - it was a great day for Burleson and a great day for the State of Texas. I was honored to speak at the groundbreaking that marks a new chapter of their business and I wish them success in their new venture.
Last Monday marked 500 days into President Trump's presidency. We've accomplish big things for all Americans, and we're just getting started.
I'm continuing to work hard with this Congress and the President to make America great, and I'm looking forward to the next 500 days!
Last week: in addition to voting on 21 legislative items, I participated in a Financial Services Committee markup where we advanced six bills to the House floor: H.R. 5783, H.R. 5877, H.R. 5054, H.R. 5756, H.R. 3861, H.R. 4557. If you missed it, you can watch it here.
This week: I'll be participating in a full Financial Services Committee hearing, where we'll receive testimony from Comptroller Joseph Otting from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. I look forward to hearing his thoughts and expertise on current financial industry regulation on Wednesday, June 13 at 9:00am CT. Click here to tune in.
It is an honor and privilege to represent the people of Texas’ 25th Congressional District and as always, please reach out to me with any issues and concerns that are important to you.
In God we trust,
Member of CongressRead More
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama remembers how the gunman had described him: “63, white hair.”
On a bright morning last June, a man who was distraught over President Trump’s election opened fire on the Republican congressional baseball team here at a public park complex. Four people were shot before the Capitol and Alexandria police took him down.
Mr. Brooks’s name was one of six listed on a piece of paper that the gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, carried. He was found to have harbored anti-Republican sentiment online, and had asked two congressmen that morning for the party affiliation of the team.
Yet in findings shared with lawmakers over the past year, the F.B.I. suggested that Mr. Hodgkinson, 66, came to the field to commit suicide in a firefight with the police, but said that the bureau did not have incontrovertible proof that he had come to the scene to specifically target the Republicans. A week after the shooting, the F.B.I. said the gunman had most likely acted “spontaneously,” and it has not said publicly that the attack was politically motivated.
The conclusions complicated an already difficult year, one in which players were negotiating their grief with their responsibilities as public officials.
Seated in a conference room in the Capitol last November, the team watched a presentation from F.B.I. agents in disbelief. The findings were a significant break from the players’ collective memory of June 14, when they believed they were targets of a political assault.
Resentment had been bubbling for months. Federal investigators had already delivered versions of their presentation in two other meetings: one with those wounded that day and one with the lawmakers identified by the gunman.
“There was disappointment and bewilderment, like, you’re really telling us this? We’re not just getting a report. We lived it,” Representative Brad Wenstrup of Ohio said of the reaction in one gathering.
The congressmen had a hard time masking their contempt. Mr. Wenstrup told the agents how surprised he was that he had never been interviewed. Representative Gary Palmer of Alabama walked out of the room.
The F.B.I., which has conducted a lengthy investigation into the attack, declined to comment.
The players had spent months absorbing the enormity of what had happened. Now, they had a version of events they believed contradicted their experience of those nine minutes that spring morning.
‘Rip the Scab Off’
In late April, the Republicans returned to the field here where they had almost been killed, preparing for their annual charity game against Democrats at Nationals Park, which will be held on Thursday.
The shooting could have changed the course of American politics. Instead, the same team reconvened to practice in unusual circumstances, reacclimating to the scene of a mass shooting as the players continued to grapple with trauma.
The decision was fraught. Some wanted to claim power over the gunman, to make the space theirs again. The mayor of Alexandria encouraged them to return.
“You need to come back, and you need to rip the scab off,” said Brian Kelly, a staff member on the team.
In group meetings, several congressmen declared that it was wrong to relive the anguish of that day. Many of the players suffered flashbacks. Now, they would have to stand several times a week in the same spots where they had heard the first cracks, to make the same throws and take the same swings they had taken before they were attacked.
Bullet holes still dot the fencing and storage units, and Little League teams continue to line dugouts pockmarked by them.
There was an alternative: a newer field in Washington, closer and more convenient for practices at daybreak.
Representative Roger Williams of Texas, the team’s manager, was determined not to return. His legislative assistant, Zachary Barth, who was shot in the leg, was too.
“The first day was hard. It was hard for me to look where I was hiding,” Mr. Williams said, referring to the first-base dugout, which he had dived into shortly after the shooting began. “I had no desire to go back.”
Mr. Barth drove his boss to the first practices this year: anxious car rides into this peaceful neighborhood just south of the Pentagon.
“I can’t believe we’re going back here,” Mr. Barth remembers their saying. “It wasn’t choice No. 1, or 2, or 3.”
The first day back was the wrong kind of anniversary.
Ryan Thompson, Representative Joe Barton’s chief of staff and an organizer of the game, stood next to Matt Mika, a lobbyist who was gravely injured in the attack, along the first-base line, where they had been when the shots rang out. They couldn’t shake how eerie it was.
“The bullet holes that hit the shed right next to me are still there,” said Representative Barry Loudermilk of Georgia.
The group agreed on something of a compromise: alternate between the two fields, but not on a fixed schedule, so their presence would be difficult to anticipate. The Capitol Police designed a security system to ring the field.
But after a week in Alexandria, the team moved practice full time to Washington, where the field would be easier to secure. A group of lawmakers led by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky argued that the experiment — the attempt to readapt — was not worth it.
Politician as Survivor
After the attack, some of the most insistent Second Amendment advocates on Capitol Hill took on the role of shooting survivor.
Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the majority whip, was among those shot. After he returned to Congress in September, Mr. Scalise redoubled his commitment to gun rights, even as he counseled survivors of other shootings who were newly animated about gun control. One February afternoon, as he welcomed survivors of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., to his office in the Capitol, Mr. Scalise found himself in a back-and-forth with a teenage student about state laws that could have stopped the young attacker.
He shifted the discussion from gun control to one about the need for confiding in others, something he did in the hospital when teammates visited and described what the shooting looked like from different angles.
His encounter with a gunman forced him — and his teammates, who would seek one another out on the House floor in the months afterward — to treat the issue as a matter of experience.
“I grew up with the culture,” said Will Batson, a Senate aide who was on the pitching mound when the first shots were fired. “Friends had guns. They’d go hunting before school. Mass shootings, you never think you’re going to have to deal with it.”
But even as the Republicans, many of them gun owners, re-examined their relationship with firearms, the shooting only hardened their beliefs. The House this year has repeatedly rejected proposals for stricter gun control legislation.
In a Senate campaign ad, Mr. Brooks used footage of himself from the morning of the shooting to promote his commitment to gun rights, a move that upset Mr. Scalise’s staff.
“If we had had guns, we could have ended it there,” Mr. Brooks said in an interview. “None of us were in a position where we could defend ourselves.”
Some were confident in how the scene would have unfolded had they been armed. Mr. Loudermilk, for his part, surmised that Mr. Hodgkinson, who was killed in the attack, could have been cut off earlier. “I had no way of defending myself or my friends,” he said. “I felt completely vulnerable.”
But some on the team didn’t see the question in such a straightforward way.
Brad Barton, the son of the Texas congressman, who coached the team last year, initially believed that there may have been two gunmen. The sounds and ricochets seemed to be coming from all directions.
Being in a mass shooting, Brad Barton said, hinders a person’s ability to process what you see and then respond rationally.
“I don’t know what I would do if I were there again,” he said. “Can you see the gunman? It’s too much to know. Would you run or hide? Until the lead starts flying, you just don’t know.”
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who hid in the first-base dugout as he watched bullets hit the gravel in front of him, said his teammates’ attention to gun rights after the fact was just another sign of deepening tribalism.
“It’s tough to support some shade of gray in the middle, when this issue probably calls for that,” he said. “I’m not one who says, ‘Let’s ban every weapon or force registration on everybody.’ But there are things we can and should do on a common-sense basis, and that list is longer after the shooting.”
The morning was familiar to those who have been through war. Sounds from the shooting haunt many on the team: sirens, loud cracks, bullets whizzing by the ear. Several players turned to combat veterans for guidance.
Mr. Kelly spoke to Navy SEALs about the shock that comes from being inside something akin to a battle scene, with no training. The SEALs taught Mr. Kelly to transform his recollection of that day into black and white.
“It doesn’t go away, but it slows itself down,” he said.
In the months afterward, Mr. Loudermilk knew his wife could tell when he was mentally revisiting the scene. His facial expression would abruptly change.
“What brought it back was any time of quiet,” he said.
Veterans advised him to write down everything that had happened before and after the shooting, from the moment he woke up until the episode passed. The idea, Mr. Loudermilk said, was to make his impressions even more particular, so he could phase out certain details and dampen the intensity of flashbacks.
Writing in a journal helped him reimagine the shooting, first without sound, then without smell, then without color.
In August, Mr. Loudermilk noticed that he had finally gone a full day without thinking about the shooting.
This spring, Mr. Batson had a combat veteran accompany him to a shooting range, thinking it might help soften his perception of guns again.
Whenever he watches TV reports of mass shootings now, Mr. Batson said, he pictures himself trapped in the scene he sees onscreen. He recalls how helpless — how slow — he felt while dodging fire.
“It brings out a lot of those sensations, a lot of those emotions,” he said. “I can relate to the people who survived. I know how scared you are, how you’re thinking about your family.”
After a week in Alexandria, the team moved practice full time to Washington, where the field would be easier to secure.
The first thoughts that occur to a target in a mass shooting often have no rhyme or reason. Crouched in the dugout, Mr. Williams, who played professionally, remembers believing he had to survive so he could witness his granddaughter’s birth. Seconds later, he considered how he wanted “Centerfield” by John Fogerty to play at his funeral.
Mr. Williams still anticipates grim daydreams when he is alone.
“Every day I’m thinking about it,” he added. “It just happens.”
He skipped Fourth of July fireworks last year to avoid the auditory reminders.
When Mr. Loudermilk visited a shooting range months after the attack, he heard gunshots and rushed back into his car.
“Some people think if you have P.T.S., it’s a sign of weakness,” he said. “But it’s reality.”
Mr. Flake talked about the shooting with his children in a way that reminded him of how he had explained the Sept. 11 attacks to them when they were younger. He remembers how spooked he was by gunshot sound effects at a fund-raiser at a memorial exhibit days after the shooting.
Brad Barton developed a metallic taste in his mouth that his doctors have attributed to the trauma. He constantly drinks water to try to clear away the flavor. Loud noises at construction sites still make him jump.
At some point after the shooting, he woke up in the middle of the night, sweating profusely.
“I thought to myself, is that the way sleep’s going to be all the time?” Mr. Davis said.
Alternate worst-case scenarios still run through his head.
“What if the shooter stood on the first-base side? What if he hadn’t hit the fence with the first shot? Those are thoughts that go through my mind all the time,” he said, adding: “I don’t think they’ll ever leave me. I don’t think they’ll ever leave any of us.”
‘They’re Shooting at Us’
Just after 7 a.m. the day of the shooting, Brad Barton was playing catch with his 11-year-old half brother when he saw Mr. Scalise go down just feet away from him. “You have this immediate feeling of guilt,” he said. “I can’t help him.”
Life suddenly seemed 30 seconds long. Mr. Barton dropped to the ground, in the line of fire, believing he was about to die.
His first instinct was to call his ex-wife, who was with his kids. He wanted to say goodbye to her, to have her wake up their children, to have his voice reach them in real time. The call went to voice mail.
“They’re shooting at us,” Mr. Barton says, his voice shaking.
“God, he’s got a lot of ammo.”
“Jeez, that’s a powerful gun.”
Mr. Barton often meets people who refuse to believe he was actually there. He will play them the message, two and a half minutes that seem like eternity. It is testimony: long pauses and heavy breathing interrupted by the sound of gunfire aimed at those around him.Read More
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Roger Williams (R-Austin) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 3, the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, which will cut $15 billion in unexpended federal funds:
“I came to Washington to make fiscally responsible decisions on behalf of Texas’ 25th District, and I was proud to cast my vote in favor of the largest rescissions package in our nation’s history. I will continue working hard to slash government spending and fight to allow Americans to keep more of their money. Americans work too hard to have their tax dollars wasted.”
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SHERMAN, TX - From Baker field to Nationals Park, Austin College Baseball coach Mike Ramsey is taking his talents to the nation's capital to coach in this year's Congressional Baseball Game.
"I've always joked that this is my one way to get on to a major league ballpark, is to coach in a game like this," Austin College Baseball Coach Mike Ramsey said."
Ramsey shares TCU ties with Texas Congressman Roger Williams, who invited Ramsey to be an assistant for the Republican team. Ramsey then spent a few days in May at the Nationals Youth Academy for practice.
"They have a great sense of humor, they don't take the baseball part too serious," Ramsey said. "They are very strong-minded guys, but they love to compete.
It's been nearly a year since the shooting at a practice that preceded the 2017 baseball game.
"I think now there is more appreciation for the opportunity to play, the opportunity to be a part of the game and raise money," Ramsey said. "It's going to be a big deal. The stories were pretty harrowing, pretty crazy from what I've heard or seen on the news. Listening to those guys, they have an appreciation for the love of the game."
For Ramsey, he's thankful for the chance to be a part of history.
"It's their show," Ramsey said. "I don't know anything about the Democrats, I'm on the Republican side. It'll be fun to watch those guys, watch them compete and listen to them talk about getting prepared. It'll be a fun deal, like coaching an alumni game."
The game will be played Thursday, June 14 at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. First pitch is set for 7:05 pm.Read More
Executives of Golden State Foods along with state, county and city officials broke ground on its 200,000 square foot facility at HighPoint Business Park today.
“The quality of HighPoint Business Park’s tenants have put Burleson on the map,” said Burleson’s Mayor, pro tem Dan McClendon, during the groundbreaking ceremony. “Now, Golden State Foods, who services more than 125,000 restaurants and stores on five continents from its 50 locations, has put us on the globe.”
“You made a great decision – a good business decision and a great personal decision by coming to Texas,” U.S. stated Congressman Roger Williams. “And Burleson, in particular.”
The Burleson location will serve as a new manufacturing and distribution facility for Golden State Foods Corporation’s Liquid Products Division. Golden State Foods is one of the largest diversified suppliers to the quick service restaurant and retail industries.
“We made a choice to come to Burleson,” said Mark Wetterau, Golden State Foods chairman and CEO. “And we feel very confident that we came to the right place. We appreciate all the cooperation, support and guidance that you have given all of us. It has been absolutely fantastic.”
“We are so proud to be able to come into Burleson,” said Wetterau. “And we will do our part. The motto is what we take out we will put twice back in. We are going to work hard to be part of this community, and we are proud to be a part of it.”
Golden State Foods will bring 150 new jobs to Burleson. The entire project, which will involve new construction and state-of-the-art design and build out, is projected to exceed $70 million. The project will hopefully be opening its doors in the third quarter of 2019.Read More
1122 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Roger Williams represents the 25th District of Texas in the United States Congress, a district that stretches from Tarrant County in the North to Hays County in the South and includes much of Austin and the Texas Hill Country.
Prior to his election in November 2012, Congressman Williams served his country in a number of ways and brings a unique background to Congress. He was raised in the Fort Worth area where he graduated from high school and later played baseball at Texas Christian University.
After graduating from college, he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves where he played in their farm system before an injury ended his sports career and forced him to begin his business career. He began working in the family car business and has owned and operated the business for 40 years.
Along the way, he also became involved civically and politically. He served as Regional Finance Chairman for Governor Bush in 1994 and 1998 before he went on to later serve as the North Texas Chairman for the Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign. Additionally, as well as the North Texas Finance Chairman and National Grassroots Fundraising Chairman for Bush/Cheney ’04, Inc. Williams was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001 as the Chairman of the Republican National Finance Committee’s Eagles Program. He has also served as State Finance Chair for John Cornyn for U.S. Senate, Inc., in 2002 and as the National Director of the “Patriots” program for Senator Cornyn.
In 2005, Governor Rick Perry appointed Congressman Williams to serve as Texas Secretary of State. As Chief Election Officer for Texas, he worked to ensure the uniform application and interpretation of election laws throughout the state. The Congressman worked tirelessly to promote economic development, investment and job creation in Texas. He also served as the state’s Chief Liaison for Texas Border and Mexican Affairs as well as Chair of the state’s 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Response Strike Force.
Congressman Williams was elected to his first term in Congress on November 6th, 2012 and was selected to serve on the House Committee on the Budget, along with the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.