On June 8, 2018, the Democratic Women of Comal County gathered at the Tye Preston Memorial Library in Canyon Lake for their monthly meeting. Joseph Kopser, the Democratic candidate for US House District 21, spoke about his qualifications and stance on issues. This seat is especially significant as Lamar Smith has retired after 30+ years, meaning no incumbent is running. The second guest speaker was Kathleen Krueger, well traveled nationally and internationally in political circles, a former New Braunfels City Council Member, and currently is Development & Communications Director at Hope Hospice.
Mr. Kopser's remarks:
Wants “orphaned” Republicans to have a place to come.
Meeting with former Democratic candidates for this seat to bring more unity to this campaign.
Impressed with Democrats for other offices.
Related conversation with a mother who lost a son to gun suicide. She asked “when a background check is done, family members or neighbors should be asked” – as she would have said her son should not have a gun as he was not well.
Q. How do we stop things like an African American being arrested in a gun store right after buying a gun?
A. Institutional racism must be fixed. Law enforcement must have better training, be able to recognize implicit bias.
Q. What can be done to assure the stability of Social Security in the future?
A. We must preserve as a social security net for our country. Elderly people no longer, in our culture, can count on being cared for by family members. Now, fewer workers contribute to social security… Let immigrants in to boost our workforce. Pass a clean DREAMERS act now. Workforce is available but untrained; where are the vocational programs?
Q. What about $125,000 SS cap and the retirement age?
A. Yes! raising that cap will not adversely impact the lifestyle of the wealthy. We must invest in the 21st century.
Q. How do you relate to Mexican-American voters?
A. I will meet them if you invite me to your events, I am a full-time candidate and I will be available for you. My message will be jobs, economy, children’s future – not just buzz words to please an audience. We must reduce intimidation at the polls, voter suppression.
Q. How to fight “but the economy is so great”?
A. “Really, you are going to excuse the behavior of the president by saying the economy is good?” We do not need to be mean in order to do good.
Ms. Krueger's remarks:
How can light win over so much darkness that we see today?
She saw darkness when the family was stationed in Burundi. What could she do?
Assure her family was safe and happy.
Assure that the embassy staff was safe (by driving them home so they wouldn’t be shot, for example). The staff were all Hutu, being persecuted by the Tutsi.
Once, when a worker didn’t come to work, she went to his village and it was deserted. An elderly man told her the man was hiding in the mountains with his family. She returned the next day to get the family. He showed Kathleen his home, a mud hut with a thatched roof. The lovely little home had been ransacked. Soldiers arrived in a truck with machine guns. She knew if she left, all the Burundi people would be killed; so she decided she would not leave. A silent standoff ensued. Finally the commander left with the soldiers and Kathleen took the family home. She joined missionaries to displaced Hutus.
The point: We must do what we can where we are. What we do is valuable. We mustn’t give up!
Q. What is the most important thing each member can do to get Democratic elected?
A. Door-to-door. Boots on the ground. The “grunt work”. Most people will be nice! so you can’t let the mean ones get to you. It’s all about voter turnout. Maybe we in Comal County should be more outspoken about our beliefs, and of course “when they go low, we go high”.