Interview with Nelson Jarrin, Texas House
What role does the office you are seeking play in securing Texas’s Southern border? If elected, what steps would you take to enhance border security within the scope of your position?
America is a proud nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws, and a secure border is essential to our national sovereignty. My father and grandparents immigrated to the United States from Ecuador, legally. Unfortunately, due to the failed policies of the Biden Administration, illegal border crossings are now at a 21-year high. The Administration’s opposition to the Remain in Mexico policy and refusal to construct a strategic border wall is causing chaos. We recently saw nearly 15,000 migrants, mostly Haitians, stationed under the Del Rio bridge. Drug cartels and transnational gangs are exploiting this crisis to engage in human trafficking and flood our streets with deadly drugs like fentanyl. It’s unacceptable.
Where the federal government fails, Texas must lead. I support House Bill (HB) 9, which Governor Abbott recently signed into law. HB 9 will provide an additional $1.8 billion in state funding for border security over the next two years. I also support the use of the National Guard to put more boots on the ground and assist with law and order. As the State Representative for House District 52, I will continue to fight for border security funding and work tirelessly to protect the people of Texas. At the same time, we must work as a party to return the Presidency and Congress to conservative hands, so we have willing partners in Washington instead of an administration that refuses to fulfill its duties and obligations.
Recidivism in our criminal justice system costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year. If elected to the position you are seeking, what are some practical steps you could take to try reducing recidivism and reforming offenders to ease the burden on the state’s criminal justice system and the taxpayers that fund it?
Conservatives have rightfully focused on a smart justice approach to our criminal justice system for years. We know how to be tough on crime for violent offenders while being smart on crime for others. For first-time, non-violent offenders, we need to take a holistic approach and understand that those incarcerated will ultimately be released. We can either focus on retribution or rehabilitate and equip offenders with the skills they need to be successful on the outside. This is particularly true of our juvenile offenders.
In Williamson County, we have a nonprofit organization, Jails to Jobs, that gives offenders the tools they need to find employment. Their program breaks the cycle of recidivism among youthful offenders through job training that mentors the entire person. This effort has led to a 15% recidivism rate for graduates! Locally, they have contracts to provide services for the city of Round Rock and to train shelter animals for adoption at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. If an offender can’t obtain meaningful employment on the outside, they will be more likely to return to their old habits.
How has COVID-19 impacted operations in your district over the past year and a half? Small businesses and family-owned mom and pops are the backbones of our American economy. What is one example of perseverance and American ingenuity found in your district that truly shows the human spirit in all His glory?
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on business operations in House District 52 and across Texas. Government-mandated shutdowns crushed people’s lifelong dreams and hard work. Businesses were ultimately forced to adapt to the “new normal” or fail. Sadly, many family-owned operations made changes but still couldn’t keep their doors open.
On the healthcare side, many providers used flexibilities in telemedicine and telehealth to continue seeing patients (and obtain reimbursement) when face-to-face interactions were not an option. We saw our local restaurants transition to carry-out orders as well as new revenue from alcohol to go. I’ve spoken to countless local business owners who started their business in the months before COVID with no idea of what was on the horizon. One business that comes to mind is Mi Mundo Coffeehouse & Roastery. Once COVID hit, Mi Mundo shifted to a pop-up location downtown and served people their morning coffee in their cars. They also sold their coffee beans directly to consumers. Today, Mi Mundo is expanding their operations and is part of our vibrant downtown scene.
Ultimately, we have to be cognizant of the burden the government places on business owners and hard-working Texans. Having spent years in the trucking and logistics industry, I understand that our state’s strong economy wasn’t built by accident. It requires thoughtful leadership to enact smart, market-based policies at all levels of government. It also requires the ingenuity of the human spirit and the willingness for one to take a leap of faith and become their own boss.