By Caitlyn Meisner | Staff Writer
Some of the legislative successes Anderson has had in his tenure include implementing school bus safety belts, supporting stricter state abortion laws and increasing the punishment for child predators.
Anderson said abortions are “barbaric” and are a point where Democrats want “permanent division.”
“Pro-abortionists don’t want to talk about [the process of abortion],” Anderson said. “You have to dismember the child, limb by limb.”
Anderson, who has won eight consecutive two-year terms representing the 56th Congressional District, said he has been honored to serve McLennan County and Waco for as many years as he has.
“It’s the absolute heart of Texas,” Anderson said. “Texas has the 10th largest economy in the world, and the state is really growing.”
Christopher DeCluitt, vice chairman of the McLennan County Republican Party, said the party hopes Anderson conforms to their legislative priorities and knows his opponent, Democratic nominee Erin Shank, will not.
“He brings longevity to the Republican Party,” DeCluitt said. “The legislature is majority Republican. Erin would likely be ineffective, and it would be bad for Waco.”
Bradford Holland, chairman of the McLennan County Republican Party, said he commends Anderson’s progress in the legislature.
“He has been an outstanding representative for us, and we have no doubt he will be again,” Holland said. “We expect a big Republican wave. We feel very confident.”
Anderson said he attributes the growth to the conservative leadership Texas has had recently. He said he believes Gov. Greg Abbott will do a good job if reelected.
“He understands the issues we want addressed,” Anderson said. “It’s [an] exciting time with the population growth, and we need to balance the budget to stop the increasing inflation rates that are harming mortgages, food prices and gasoline.”
Anderson also said he wants to balance the budget between population growth and inflation, keeping the burden off taxpayers and offsetting the national debt.
“There are terrorists from the Middle East going to South America, learning the language, then coming to the U.S. and intentionally evading authorities,” Anderson said.
Regarding the topic of redistricting or “gerrymandering,” Anderson said that Shank was misinformed and that there were complexities to shifting district lines. He said there has been a ripple effect in redistricting since the 2010 census, and he voted against a measure by another representative to exclude minority populations because it would be regressive.
Anderson’s involvement in local school systems saw his support for legislation that would implement safety belts on school buses. He also said the use of critical race theory in education breeds hatred.
“They’re pushing Martin Luther King Jr. out of their jargon to use critical race propaganda instead,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the Democrats in this race have been using dirty tricks against him during this election cycle, especially the “furniture” award given to him by Texas Monthly.
“Legislators have long used the term ‘furniture’ to describe those members who, by virtue of their indifference or ineffectiveness, are scarcely distinguishable from their desks, chairs, and spittoons,” the article reads. “The term is now used casually and more generally to identify the most inconsequential Lege members.”
In response, Anderson said that it was simply “another talking point they can use” and that he will remain resilient.
“It’s actually a feather in my cap,” Anderson said.
DeCluitt said the 2021 designation was not relevant.
“It’s ancient history and old news,” DeCluitt said. “Erin is trying to use anything for her campaign.”
Anderson said Shank is naive in thinking she can go to Austin and achieve all of her legislative goals.
“She’d be a freshman representative in the minority with no legislative experience,” Anderson said. “She’s showing some of her naivete.”
Dr. Pat Flavin, Bob Bullock professor of political science, said while Anderson has served for a long time, his presence has been minimal.
“It’s extremely likely he will win over his opponent because this is a very Republican-leaning district,” Flavin said.
The Baylor Lariat reached out to Baylor chapters of both College Republicans and Young Conservatives of Texas to receive comment on Anderson’s campaign; however, it obtained no response.