(Editor's Note: This is part two of an interview with Mac Thornberry, U.S. Congressional Representative from District 13.)
If there is one that is currently true about America, it's that it is facing new challenges, according to U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry.
•The current state of the country – He said the country is facing challenges it has never faced before, particularly when it comes to national security issues. Cybersecurity is an issue, as well as terrorism. He said there are a variety of things that are tough issues to deal with, and the economy is always an ongoing matter of concern.
“We've been through ups and downs,” Thornberry said. “Things have gotten a lot better, but then the bottom seems to fall out. I think one of the things that scares people the most is that their kids are not going to have the opportunities that we've had. Most people are willing to sacrifice if they think their kids are going to have more opportunities.”
However, he said there are those that are afraid that despite those sacrifices, their kids aren't going to have opportunities, which is truly one of the biggest concerns American citizens have at the present time.
•Community colleges – Thornberry said education beyond high school is very important, whether it be college or career training, and community colleges are vital to providing both of those opportunities.
“I think it is a key part of the higher education gamut,” he said. “One of the things I have drilled into my kids is that education is going to be absolutely critical for them getting a job, and it's true for the country as well.”
He said it is important for the economic success of this area, and it is also a way to keep them here.
•Energy production – He said for energy production to really thrive, government needs to take some of the pressure off the energy industry.
“Too much of the time they've had a boot on the neck of oil and gas people,” Thornberry said.
He said he has talked to various people in the oil and gas industry who have expressed that very frustration to him. He said it is the small business people with five or six employees who are affected in this way. However, he said this can also be expanded to offshore drilling, drilling on federal lands, and coal production, and the limits that have been put on it
“We talk about the election and all that's at stake,” he said. “It's easy to get down about it. But energy people are really talking realistically about being energy independent in North America in the next decade or so. That is huge for our economy, but it can happen if the government will just get out of the way. There is enormous potential to grow.”