Everyone knows that things are said and done during campaign season that are not always truthful. Shortly after our victory on May 29th, this reality set in after a certain article was written and printed in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I was quickly reminded that words are powerful and that we must be cautious how they are used because they have real consequences.
Due to the tone of this article, its implications, and the way it was constructed I knew immediately my campaign needed to address it head on.
The article stated the following: “Bedford and Euless will now be represented by former pest control technician, Jonathan Stickland, who said at a Tea Party/ 912 Project meeting in March that he will oppose House Speaker Joe Straus, who is Jewish, “because as a Christian, I believe we must call evil, evil.”
1. Why the article referenced by former job instead of my most current one is curious.
2. I had absolutely no knowledge that Speaker Straus was in fact Jewish prior to the publishing of this article. The fact that he is Jewish has nothing to do with my decision to support him or not. To imply that I ever would make a comment about an individual based on their religious beliefs is unfair and shameful. I detest the very notion of it.
3. At the 912 meeting I gave a speech and then entered into a Question and Answer segment. The format requested was that if you had a question of any of the candidates you were to head to the back of the room and use the microphone so the entire audience could hear. After several questions were directed to me, a gentleman took to the microphone and asked if I had signed a pledge card in support of speaker Straus and if I planned on supporting him. I said I had not and did not at the current time. Applause began throughout the crowd and a heckler in the front row, who had been heckling every candidate before me, started to address me. He referenced legislation that had been passed in the last session and those that had not been sent forward and challenged me as a professed Christian to call evil, evil. I then addressed his statement with the quote: “As a Christian I do believe we are instructed to call evil, evil and good, good”. In no way shape or form was I referring to any individual with my comment, especially Speaker Straus, who I have never met or spoken with. Sadly, not everyone in the room, including FWST reporter Bud Kennedy, understood all that had happened. The result is this article, which takes words out of context and paints a much different picture than was ever intended.
Since the article was written, I have received numerous emails and phone calls regarding it. I have personally assured every concerned citizen that I in no way shape or form called Speaker Straus evil, had no idea he was Jewish or that it even matters that he is.
We have also reached out to the Fort Worth Star Telegram for clarification, specifically reporter Bud Kennedy, to explain the mix-up and he has since reported us doing so. I also called Speaker Straus’s Austin office and reached out to him personally to convey the truth of the situation. Local Jewish Rabbi’s, the ADL (Anti Defamation League) of Texas have also been spoken with and now understand what truly took place.
As a man of faith, this incident struck a personal cord with me that some might think that I base my decisions, votes or give support based on anything other than the constitution and my Christian beliefs. My hope is that this letter brings clarity to the situation and encourages you to join me in setting the record straight if questions remain.
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