I spent a few minutes earlier this week with David L. Murff, who will challenge DeLay flack John Culberson for the right to represent the 7th Texas Congressional District in Washington.
Murff is a family and criminal law attorney in private practice; he served in the U.S. Army (2nd Armored, 1st Brigade, Fort Hood). He’s a graduate of Western Kentucky University and the South Texas College of Law, a member of the Houston Bar Association and the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, and has routinely donated his time as an attorney ad litem to Children’s Friend in Court, a non-profit organization providing legal service to indigent children.
My transcript of our conversation follows.
Q. Why are you running for Congress?
A. As simply as I can put it, I find myself perplexed by the partisan agenda of the people currently in office, and I’m concerned about the direction our country is headed while that narrow agenda is being served.
With all of the challenges we face, in every direction I look -- from the enormous budget deficits to healthcare to energy concerns to homeland security and on and on -- what I see is nothing but partisan conservative platitudes, which just seem to be disconnected from the concerns of the average American.
Q. What about Congressman Culberson? Any specific differences of opinion with him?
A. Sure, absolutely. In many ways John Culberson is actually worse than Tom DeLay, if you can believe it, and his statement today in response to DeLay’s indictment is an example of what I’m talking about relative to partisan politics overriding everything else. I would’ve thought that Culberson would try to distance himself from this growing scandal, or at least be mum about it, but instead he chose to attack (Travis Co. district attorney) Ronnie Earle, whose record clearly shows he’s gone after corrupt politicians regardless of party affiliation.
Regarding the DeLay matter, it will probably drag well into the 2006 election cycle, and frankly I’m not excited about the Democratic Party potentially being the beneficiary of the Republicans’ misfortune. I’m tired of the Republicans portraying Democrats a certain way, and the truth is that the party in power needs to clean up their house and start serving the people instead of the corporations, and maybe this will give them the incentive to do so. If they don’t, or won’t, then that’s a good enough distinction between us to give voters a clear choice.
Culberson voted to relax the ethics rules that enabled DeLay to continue as majority leader up to now, and he also voted for the 11th-hour Medicare provision before he got enough political cover to vote against it. He’s also expressed the opinion that the judicial branch is supposed to serve the will of the President and Congress; that judges should just rubber-stamp the laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. As I hear that, it sounds like he’s against an independent judiciary. That’s truly alarming.
I think it would be a good thing if the people of the 7th District had a congressman who actually listens to them, who gets to know them, who understands their concerns and who will look out for them, as opposed to blindly following the instructions of the Republican leadership.
Q. What issue(s) do you feel most concerned about?
A. I think we‘re squandering a tremendous opportunity from a national perspective, and a tremendous resource right here in Houston -- namely the brilliant minds of the Texas Medical Center -- by blocking stem cell research. That’s got to change.
I think we need to get serious about alternative fuels in this country, and I think there’s a lot we can do regarding biofuels.
Q. You served in the Army. What should we do now regarding Iraq?
A. You know, our soldiers didn’t deserve what they walked into over there. From everything that was known at the time, I would’ve probably voted to authorize the use of force, but the lack of an exit strategy going in is simply the best reason why it’s now time to get our boys and girls back home. And if Iraq then degenerates into civil war, then it may take a true national coalition, one built on real alliances, to restore order.
This administration may just not be capable of doing any of that, unless we the people can send them a strong enough message in 2006.
Murff will have a website up shortly; http://www.murff4congress.com/ .
He’s available to speak to clubs and groups throughout the district. Contact his office at 281-335-4777 or via e-mail at dlmurff at sbcglobal dot net .