Voter Guide

The COVID-19 pandemic has made its mark in most aspects of our daily lives – and the congressional election process was not exempt.

Knowing the candidates’ stances on issues important to agriculture and rural Texas is essential for corn farmers across the state. Texans have largely lost the important opportunity to attend in-person town halls and meetings with candidates and gain this valuable insight. At this time, if you have direct questions for any candidates most have an opportunity to submit these directly on their website.

Texas Corn Producers Association (TCPA), through the Texas Corn Political Action Committee (Texas Corn PAC), gave candidates the opportunity to provide their perspective on agricultural and rural Texas issues.

The results of this polling of Congressional candidates in primary runoff elections is provided below. TCPA reached out to the campaigns of all candidates in the runoff to solicit their response. Below are the responses received directly from the candidates.

TCPA plans to expand this effort statewide after the primaries are finalized.

Primary Runoff Candidate Stance on Agricultural Issues

Response Key:

Yes

No

Do you support full funding for a federal crop insurance program that will maintain current cost-share levels between producers and government?

Congressional District 13

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments: Crop insurance is an essential part of the farm safety net and is crucial to the economic and food/fiber security of our nation. It is an affordable, efficient, and customizable risk management tool that provides predictable coverage to protect farmers of all sizes against loss due to natural disasters and decline in price and to provide reassurance to lenders.

Farmers spend roughly $4 billion per year to purchase crop insurance products which are based on fundamental market principles with producers in higher risk areas and with higher value crops paying higher premiums. Crop insurance is a taxpayer friendly policy that has effectively replaced the less efficient, less predictable, and more costly ad hoc disaster assistance that was common following major catastrophic events.

Ronny Jackson

Additional Comments: Yes- this is an acceptable parachute for natural disasters.

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

Do you support a revenue protection program for farmers such as the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program or the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program in the current farm bill?

Congressional District 13

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments: These commodity support programs authorized by the Farm Bill, along with crop insurance and marketing loans are the foundation of the farm safety net. These programs are essential risk management tools and protect farmers and agriculture lenders form unexpected, adverse declines in either crop revenue or prices. Without these programs, prolonged years of depressed prices and revenue, as we have seen recently, would force many farmers out of business and wreck our economy.

Ronny Jackson

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

Do you support conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)?

Congressional District 13

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments: These conservation programs have been hugely successful, benefiting our environment and agricultural production. However, I think these programs could be even more successful by removing arbitrary policies like the AGI limit, which prevents some landowners from participating in the conservation programs.

Ronny Jackson

Additional Comments: These are good programs to cost share and promote conservation.

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

Do you support all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) allowing U.S. agricultural products access to foreign markets?

Congressional District 13

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments: An overwhelming majority of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States, and we must have access to these markets. Most countries in the world already have access to the U.S. market, but many of these same countries ban or limit our agriculture products in an attempt prop up their own producers. FTAs are important tools to level the playing field and set the rules under which our agricultural producers can compete for market share. We know we produce the best products, and there is demand for them around the world.

Ronny Jackson

Additional Comments: Ethanol provides a saving grace for ag with the hope for all commodities to follow.

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

Do you support continuing the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program (FMD) provisions that support agricultural trade?

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments: MAP and FMD are important cost-share programs that have been extremely effective in helping to promote U.S. agriculture products abroad and develop long-term foreign market access for our products. These programs are prime examples of successful public-private partnerships. For every dollar invested in these programs, we see a return of more than $28 in export gains. And over the last decade, these programs are responsible for export growth totaling $309 billion and 240,000 full and part-time jobs. I support full funding for these programs.

Ronny Jackson

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

Do you support increasing oversight of rules and regulations created by governmental agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure they are not overstepping their authority and negatively impacting farm families and small business?

Congressional District 13

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments: I support additional congressional oversight of federal agencies to prevent unelected, bureaucrats from overstepping their authority by implementing burdensome and unnecessary rules and regulations that satisfy their own political ideals. A prime example of this type of action was the Obama Administration’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule where the EPA and the Corps of Engineers attempted to expand federal jurisdiction of waters and land under the Clean Water Act and the expense of the states and private landowners. Thankfully, the Trump Administration has repealed and replaced the WOTUS rule.

In addition to the annual appropriations bills, one of the ways Congress could keep these agencies in check is by subjecting them to a routine sunset review process similar to the process used in Texas. This process would make the agencies justify their existence, actions, and spending in order to be reauthorized by Congress.

Ronny Jackson

Additional Comments: Yes- we need to get the federal government off of our backs and let the people decide what is best for them.

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

The Renewable Fuel Standard governs renewable fuel such as ethanol. Do you support a framework for renewable fuels moving forward?

Congressional District 13

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments: I believe that renewable fuels play a significant role in our energy security and should have the same opportunity to compete for market share as other energy sources.

Ronny Jackson

Additional Comments: Ethanol provides a saving grace for ag with the hope for all commodities to follow.

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

Will you support funding for ethanol infrastructure (such as tax credits or grants) for blender pumps and E85 pumps?

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments: I support rural development and market development programs and believe that ethanol infrastructure should have the same access to these programs as other businesses

Ronny Jackson

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Additional Comments: Would still like to know more about where this funding would fit into budgeting, authorization, and annual appropriations, and look forward to discussing this issue with you all.

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

Do you support legislation and/or appropriations for transportation infrastructure necessary for the marketing of agricultural goods and inputs?

Congressional District 13

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments: I believe that our transportation infrastructure has been neglected for years, especially in rural areas. Our transportation infrastructure (roads, rail, rivers, and ports) is vital for the efficient movement of products from the field to the end user, and any interruption in this network has a significant negative impact on the economy. In addition to requesting to serve on the House Agriculture Committee, I will also request to serve on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to ensure that agriculture and rural areas have a strong voice on these policy issues.

Ronny Jackson

Additional Comments: This is very important as most producers agree their roads are short funded and in very poor condition compared to other areas in the state.

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

Do you think animal rights groups such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) should be able to dictate the way livestock is raised by Texas farmers?

Congressional District 13

Josh Winegarner

Additional Comments:HSUS and other animal rights groups share a common goal of putting animal agriculture out of business and making themselves rich at the same time. Farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land and their livestock. They take pride in the what they do and the food they produce for the world. Our production practices are based on sound science and a practical understanding of animal behavior.

Ronny Jackson

Additional Comments: This is very important as most producers agree their roads are short funded and in very poor condition compared to other areas in the state.

Congressional District 17

Pete Sessions

Congressional District 23

Tony Gonzales

Meet the Candidates

Below are the biographies, as posted on their campaign site, of candidates who responded to TCPA’s survey.

Josh Winegarner

District 13 Candidate

Born and raised in the Panhandle, Josh learned rural Texas values at an early age, and has lived by them ever since. Josh knows the hard work, determination, and an entrepreneurial spirit embodied by folks across all 41 counties of District 13 because he lives and works here. He understands the needs of our community because he is part of our community. He has fought to defend the Agricultural, and Oil and Gas businesses here because he knows first hand how vital they are to the economies of Texas and America. And Josh is running for Congress to be the man rural Texans know they can call when they need help.

Josh is a Conservative Republican, husband, and proud father. A man of deep Christian faith, Josh will protect the precious gift of life and defend those who cannot defend themselves. We can trust Josh to stand with President Trump to protect our constitutional rights, secure our borders, and defend our country from the threat of the socialist agenda.

After graduating college in Abilene, Josh was given the opportunity to serve his fellow Texans by working for Republican Texas Senators Phil Gramm and John Cornyn in DC. During this time he developed expertise in agriculture, trade, and small business policy issues. After six years in Washington Josh felt called back home to Texas. He brought the knowledge and experience gained while working for Senators Gramm and Cornyn back home and has spent the last fourteen years using it to defend and protect ranchers and other agricultural producers from environmental and animal rights activists.

Now, Josh feels he is once again being called to serve rural Texans in Washington, but this time as a strong local voice in Congress. Josh knows how important it is for our Representative to be one of us, to have lived and worked in our communities. His deep local roots combined with his experience working for great Texas leaders uniquely qualifies Josh to defend us in Congress.

Ronny Jackson

District 13 Candidate

Doctor Ronny Jackson is a retired Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. He retired from the military on December 1st, 2019, after 25 years of Active Duty service to his country. His last duty assignment was at the White House, where he served as Assistant to the President and as the appointed Chief Medical Advisor to President Donald J. Trump.

Born and raised in a hardworking blue-collar family in the small town of Levelland, Texas, Doctor Jackson has worked full time since the age of 14. Employed at the local grocery store and later as a roustabout in the oil field, he paid for his entire undergraduate education while still serving his local community as a volunteer firefighter. After beginning his education at the local junior college, he went on to graduate from Texas A&M University at Galveston and then attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch. During his time in medical school, he served in the Navy Reserves, and immediately upon graduating in 1995, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth Virginia, where he began his active duty military career as an officer in the United States Navy.

After completing his first year of residency training in 1996 and receiving the “intern of the year” award, he went on to become the Honor Graduate of the Navy’s Undersea Medical Officer Program in Groton, Connecticut. As a fully qualified Navy Deepsea Diver uniquely trained in hyperbaric and submarine medicine, his subsequent naval assignments included serving as the Diving Medical Officer with Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Special Operations, Naval Special Warfare, and Navy Salvage Diving teams, stationed in Norfolk, Groton, Panama City, Pearl Harbor, and Sigonella, Italy.

In 2001, after 5 years in the Navy Diving community, Doctor Jackson returned to the Naval hospital in Portsmouth to complete his residency in Emergency Medicine, finishing at the top of his class and receiving the Honor Graduate designation. In 2005 he was assigned to the United States Marine Corps and joined the 2nd Marines, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. From there, he deployed to one of the most violently contested regions of Iraq as the Emergency Medicine Physician in charge of Resuscitative Medicine for a combat Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon in Taqaddum, Iraq.

In 2006, while still in Iraq, Doctor Jackson was selected as a White House Physician in the George W. Bush Administration. The Navy extended his active duty at the White House numerous times over the next 14 years, with increasing levels of responsibility. He has served three administrations, directed the Executive Health Care for the President’s Cabinet and Senior Staff, served as Physician Supervisor for the Camp David Presidential Retreat, held the position of Physician to the White House, and led the White House Medical Unit as its Commanding Officer. On January 20th, 2017, Inauguration Day, Rear Admiral Jackson was asked to remain at the White House and was formally appointed by President Donald J. Trump as Physician to the President. In March of 2018 he was nominated by the President of the United States to be the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. In January of 2019 President Trump appointed Doctor Jackson as Assistant to the President and to the newly established role of Chief Medical Advisor to the White House and the Executive Office of the President.

His awards include, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), as well as other individual, unit and campaign awards. He is also designated as a diving and undersea medical officer, naval parachutist, Fleet Marine Force warfare qualified officer, and submarine warfare qualified medical officer.

Ronny has been married to his wife Jane for 27 years and they have 3 children. Libby has her MBA and works in Virginia, Ben is a graduate of the Naval Academy and a U.S. Navy SEAL, and Matthew is a junior in high school, and hopes to attend college at the U.S. Naval Academy and become a fighter pilot.

Pete Sessions

District 17 Candidate

A proven conservative leader, Pete Sessions has combined hard work, innovative thinking, and common-sense principles to successfully serve Texas in Congress.

Born and raised in Waco, Pete attended Waco public schools until the ninth grade, playing sports, becoming an Eagle Scout, and throwing newspapers for the Waco Tribune – Herald. Pete left Waco when his family moved to Washington D.C., where his father began his career at the Department of Justice.

Pete’s parents have always been an example to Pete. As Bill Sessions (Baylor BA and JD) rose from the Department of Justice to U.S. Attorney, then Federal Judge and, finally, to Director of the FBI, he impressed upon Pete a sense of duty and integrity for all positions of public service – elected and unelected. Pete moved back to Texas as his father became the U.S. Attorney in San Antonio, where Pete graduated from Churchill High School.

After graduating from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, Pete joined the Southwestern Bell Telephone company, where he worked for 16 years, never missing a day of work and taking early retirement as District Manager, just prior to running for Congress.

Throughout his professional life, Pete has been very involved in community activities, serving in various leadership roles with the Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts of America, disability assistance and local conservation groups, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater for twelve years.

In 1994, Pete ran for Congress by challenging liberal Democrat congressman John Bryant in a district that stretched from east Dallas to many counties now in the 17th Congressional District. Falling just shy of pulling off an upset, Pete ran again in 1996, winning that year and serving in Congress from 1997 to January of 2019.

While in Congress, Pete was part of the Republican House majority that balanced the federal budget four years in a row from 1998 to 2001. He led the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) as its Chairman from 2009 through 2012, directing the party to regain the House majority with a net 63-seat victory in 2010, which removed Nancy Pelosi as Speaker.

In 2018, Democrats spent $10 million against Pete in a district that went dramatically for Beto O’Rourke over Ted Cruz, in a year that swept Nancy Pelosi back into office as House Speaker.

Returning to the private sector, Pete watched in amazement as Pelosi and her House Democrats openly adopted socialist policies.

While contemplating how he could help reverse the nation’s lurch to the left and the young generation’s fascination with socialism, Pete began receiving calls from conservative activists in Central Texas. They encouraged him to run for his hometown seat.

After talking with his wife and family, Pete decided to jump back in the fight and is committed to achieving five specific accomplishments in Congress:

Keep America safe through a strong national defense
Balance the federal budget without raising any new taxes
Stand with President Trump to build the wall and strengthen our immigration laws
Deliver better health care to families at lower costs
Ensure the U.S. stays competitive with a renewed commitment to Research and Development
Pete and his wife Karen reside in Waco. Pete is the proud father of two sons and three stepsons. Bill is a graduate from Texas Tech Medical School with his wife Kayle, also a physician. They are in their medical residencies in Greenville, South Carolina. Alex is a special-needs young man, who is delighted to work for Home Depot. Conor proudly serves our country in the United States Navy and is deployed overseas. Liam is a senior at Baylor University, and Nicholas is a first year student at Rollins College, where he is a member of the golf team. As a native son who has represented 40 percent of the counties in the 17th Congressional District (Brazos, Freestone, Leon, Limestone and Robertson Counties), Pete is no stranger to our area – or our values. He is ready to serve taxpayers again in the U.S. House, providing us with experience that will give our voice the extra strength we need in Congress.

Tony Gonzales

District 23 Candidate

Master Chief Petty Officer Tony Gonzales split time being raised in San Antonio, Devine, and Camp Wood Hills, Texas.
As a career Cryptologist, he has been stationed at the Navy Information Operations Detachment Kaneohe Bay, HI, U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, USS MICHAEL MURPHY in Pearl Harbor, HI, Center for Information Warfare Training Center in Pensacola, Florida, Office of Legislative Affairs in Washington, D.C., and Navy Information Operations Command in San Antonio, Texas.

Tony has deployed multiple times in support of combat operations including Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and in support of regional security operations throughout Asia. He previously served on Capitol Hill as a Department of Defense Legislative Fellow in U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s office where he contributed to the defense, foreign policy, and intelligence portfolios.

As an active member in the community, he founded the Tony Gonzales Foundation, a non-profit focused on empowering and encourage growth and development in impoverished areas of San Antonio by uniting local businesses, schools, and families. Additionally, he serves on the Central and South Texas Board of Trustees for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to granting wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.

In 2018, Tony was selected as a National Security Fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a non-profit, non-partisan Washington D.C. institute focused on foreign policy and national security. The same year, he was elected as the Community Representative for the City of San Antonio Head Start Policy Council where he oversees a budget of $32.5 million devoted to early childhood development.

Tony also serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland system where he instructs counterterrorism, U.S. Government, and political science courses. Tony holds a Graduate Certificate in Legislative Studies from Georgetown University, a Master’s degree in International Relations from American Public University and is a Ph.D. candidate in International Development with an emphasis on Security Studies and International Politics at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Tony is married to Angel Gonzales and has five wonderful children: Christina, Jesus, Emmanuel, Daniel, and Gabriel.

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