Why I’m Running
Texas needs a leader who serves all of us – and Lamar Smith is not that leader.
After 30 years, Lamar Smith only serves corporate lobbyists and political bullies, not the citizens of TX21 or the United States. It’s time to retire Lamar Smith, and I’m ready to take his place.
Our district and our country are in trouble. While big corporations hit record profits, most Texas families struggle to get by. Wages are flat, and good jobs are harder to find. Climate change threatens our way of life. Our American values are under siege.
For many here, it’s harder and harder to access the American Dream. And up in Washington, politicians like Lamar Smith are only making it worse.
After 30 years in Washington, Smith has lost his edge. He’s become part of the Washington establishment, and has quit listening to hard-working Texans. Many Texans of all parties agree that we need to “drain the swamp” in DC. This is how we do it: by replacing Lamar Smith with someone who remembers what it’s like to be a Texan who works and lives in the real world.
Over Lamar Smith’s long stint as a career politician, kowtowing to corporate money and special interests, here’s what I’ve been doing:
- Leadership training through a 20-year Army career, from West Point graduation to preparing ROTC cadets at the University of Texas at Austin
- Confronting adversity, whether in the Army’s storied Ranger School, or in multiple combat deployments to Iraq, where I was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge
- Learning about the best ways to govern – including earning a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard, teaching government to West Point cadets, and then putting those lessons into practice during national elections in Baghdad
- Creating jobs as a tech entrepreneur in an Austin-based startup that led to a successful acquisition
- Emphasizing diversity and workforce education throughout the private sector to make sure all Texans have access to the new economy
- Exploring international business by leading a global subsidiary of Daimler AG
- Accelerating regional economic growth by promoting smart cities, clean energy, and tech business events like the Defense Energy Summit and NSTXL
- Contributing to our local and regional well-being through my leadership in multiple organizations that support veterans, education, technology, transportation, and solid public policy like the Bunker Texas in Austin and San Antonio
- Raising three daughters with my wife – in an increasingly unstable and complex world
… and I didn’t know it at the time – but each step has prepared me to enter public service as your Representative of the 21st US Congressional District.
In the meantime, Lamar Smith has become part of the Washington problem: deaf to his constituents, and blind to new ideas that can make our country safer and more productive. Smith has aligned himself with rich campaign donors and special interests, and forgotten the needs of the middle-class Texans back at home.
His recent vote for a partisan health care bill is a telling example. It jeopardizes health coverage for 328,000 of his constituents with pre-existing conditions, and hands even more power to giant insurance companies. And this is specially chilling: Smith’s vote would also raise costs on older Texans by up to $7,000, an increase the AARP called an “age tax.”
That’s only a very recent instance of how Smith has ignored us Texans he supposedly represents. For too long, politicians have gone to Washington to do right and stayed to benefit themselves and their special interest benefactors. Pick the issue – job creation, foreign affairs, social security, education – Lamar Smith has repeatedly ignored the folks who elected him.
Let’s be honest: America is at a crossroads, and the best path for us and our children isn’t always the easiest. Sometimes the right decision takes moral courage. I’m ready to show that kind of courage in the US Congress, as I have both in combat zones and in the business world.
The way out of the quagmire in Washington is to embrace what’s working in America – innovation, open marketplaces, and the spirit of cooperation and optimism that built this nation.
America cannot abandon its role as a beacon of hope and democracy in the world. Our leaders need to stay engaged overseas and maintain the alliances that helped spur the growth of our middle class. We must thoughtfully address the overlapping realms of national security, financial security, and climate security… so that the America we leave to our kids is even better than the one we were given. And, as we strive for our own families, we must also remember another American value, compassion for those who suffer.
None of this will be easy. Beating Lamar Smith won’t be, either. But we can do it together.
I’m betting on the Texan voter – that you’ll pay attention to our pivotal moment. I believe you’ll see that a vote for Lamar Smith is a vote for more of the same Washington dysfunction we’re all tired of.
Vote for me, Joseph Kopser, a real alternative: primed with real-world experience, fed-up with the current Washington nonsense, and ready to meet the challenges ahead. Join me, and let’s change things.