“This Bill of Rights sets out my ideas about the rights of citizens who live and work in our district. When it comes down to it, we all recognize our rights as US citizens, but have hardly given any thought to what we can reasonably expect from our elected representatives,” said Kennedy.
“In the particular case of the TX-17, we deserve to be represented even if we have not given money to our representatives in Congress or even belong to the same party. We deserve to be asked for our votes. Right now, almost every person I meet on the campaign trail has never had one direct request for their vote from our current incumbent and frankly, as a resident myself – as an American – I find that insulting. When we don’t even matter enough to be asked for our votes, then victory is assumed. That speaks to why I decided to run for this seat, namely, the dysfunction of Congress,” he continued.
The Texas Congressional District 17 is one of many districts that were redrawn prior to the 2010 midterm elections. While it contains massive rural areas of low population density, it sweeps through three metropolitan areas – Waco, Austin, and Bryan-College Station. By county, the TX-17 includes all of Brazos, Burleson, Falls, Freestone, Limestone, McLennan, Milam, Robertson, Lee, and Leon counties – plus 28 precincts in north Travis County and one precinct in Bastrop County.
The document found on his website https://www.rickkennedyforcongress.com/ consists of 8 items ranging from the oath of office as a Member of Congress, to his availability to constituents and to working across the aisle.
“As you consider who you are going to vote for in November, I want you to know today the standards that I will uphold while in office, and the standard I expect you to hold me accountable to,” said Kennedy in a video when he announced its release.
According to the campaign, the genesis of the Kennedy Constituents Bill of Rights grew from a desire to distinguish the candidate from the incumbent Bill Flores based on specific widespread complaints by constituents towards Flores. Recent polling published by the campaign revealed that while 13% of the voters have favorable feelings towards the incumbent, 71% of those polled ranged from negative feelings to not knowing who he is.
Specifically, the polling demonstrated that almost 1 in 4 registered voters did not know their Congressional representative.
“After eight years in office, you’d think it would be at a minimum to have a high 90% of the members of your district at least know your name. It is indicative of the distance that Flores prefers, such as meeting in person only with donors and friendly constituents, relegating town halls to digital events, and blocking constituents on social media who express views indicating that they are not happy with their representative,” Kennedy continued.
“I’m a software guy. I get the value of technology, but technology does not replace the intangibles of meeting with unscreened citizens who deserve to be able to get to know their representative. When I connect with 100 – 200 real people, that’s an opportunity to talk about real issues. And afterwards, guess what those people do when someone mentions my name? Those are people who will share their experience of meeting a regular guy–someone who will work hard to represent them.”
Midterm elections historically draw fewer voters than in presidential elections. The 2014 midterm records approximately 35% of registered voters in District 17 cast votes – 132,865 compared to 245,728 in 2016.
To read more about the Constituents Bill of Rights for the Texas Congressional District 17,or download a copy, go to https://www.rickkennedyforcongress.com/constituent-bill-of-rights.
Early voting begins in Texas on October 22, 2018, and election day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018.