Midlander Van Taylor Draws Local Support In His Race For Congress
by Bob Campbell- Staff Writer - Midland Reporter-Telegram
Native Midlander Van Taylor of West is bringing his experience as a Marine Corps captain in Iraq to bear on his race for the 17th Congressional District seat with bumper stickers and yard signs saying, "I fought for you in Iraq. I'd like to fight for you in Washington."
And the contest is generating financial and emotional support in his hometown.
Taylor's unusual status has brought him interviews on the Fox Network's "Hannity & Colmes" political talk show, C-SPAN, CNN, CBS with Bob Schieffer and on Monday afternoon with Chris Matthews on MSNBC's "Hardball" in New York City, where he was waiting for the big Sunday snowfall to melt and let him fly home.
When asked what kind of race has developed between him and his March 7 Republican primary opponent, Calvert attorney Tucker Anderson, Taylor said, "I spend my time telling who I am and why I'm running.
"My experience as a Marine and businessman speak to the challenges of our time -- winning the war on terror and securing the border. I'm also for improving financial management in Washington and growing the economy, and as a family man I will go to Washington and fight for our family values.
"I'm running for Congress for the same reasons I fought in Iraq. I want to make a better, stronger America for the next generation."
Taylor, 33, attended Hillander School and San Jacinto Junior High School before enrolling at St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H., and Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor's degree and a master's in business administration.
He and his wife Anne have a 1 year-old daughter and are expecting another child this month. Their private equity and oil and gas firm in West, north of Waco, is the VanAnne Co.
Taylor served four years of active duty in the Marines, volunteered for Iraq and led the first platoon into that country before the American forces' February 2002 invasion.
Facing Democratic U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards of Waco if successful against Anderson, he said Midland has proved a key part of his base even though it lies far from the 17th District's 12 counties. "The outpouring of support from Midland has been more than just financial," Taylor said.
"A number of Midland people made calls into the district last weekend to give direct and personal testimonials. That means a lot to me.
"I left for Iraq a patriot and came back a super patriot. I realized how costly freedom is and how precious it is. It has a high price and it was a tremendous honor to lead an outstanding group of young Texans into battle."
Taylor's father, local attorney N.C. "Nick" Taylor, said his son's national media attention coverage has been a major asset and his second TV spot has just gone onto district-wide television. "Human Events magazine has said it's one of the top 10 congressional races in the country," the senior Taylor said Monday.
"Edwards is in an increasingly Republican district. He won his first term by 60 percent (in 1990) and his support has dropped in every race since then. The last time, he won by 51 percent. It should be a very spirited race and heavily contested.
"A lot of Midland people have known Van since childhood and have taken an interest."
The district encompasses Bosque, Brazos, Grimes, Hill, Hood, Johnson, Madison, McLennan and Somervell counties and parts of Burleson, Limestone and Robertson counties, including Baylor and Texas A&M universities.