Throughout my life I have been engaged in the judicial system in one aspect or another. A longtime resident of Central Texas, I wanted to use my legal background to provide a public service to the people of Texas. I was honored to serve as the District Judge for Williamson County for over 20 years, and believe it is critical to uphold the constitution and ensure that every American citizen is treated justly. I have brought that same sentiment with me to Congress.
Our Constitution has been tried, tested and contested, but it has weathered all and because so we have a free and sovereign nation today. Our Constitution not only provides moral framework for the policies and actions of the U.S. government, but also serves to protect the liberties we enjoy as American citizens. Careful consideration of the rights, granted to us in our Constitution, leaves little doubt as to why it serves as a template for freedom worldwide.
I believe the right to keep and bear arms is one of the most important rights granted in the Constitution because our Founding Fathers intended it to be the means by which Americans can guarantee all other rights. Protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens is a priority of mine, which is why I am a member of the Second Amendment Caucus in Congress. This caucus is comprised of members who believe in defending the rights of gun owners. I believe that federal gun regulations often create burdens for law-abiding citizens and infringe upon constitutional rights provided by the Second Amendment.
I had the great honor of serving on the House Judiciary Committee during my first term in Congress. Immediately, I began fighting for the protection of personal identification. I authored a bill, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act, which was signed into law by President Bush in 2004. This bill lessens the burden of proof, making identity theft easier to prove and prosecute. The penalties were strengthened for knowingly transferring, possessing, or using, without lawful authority, and individual's identity to commit the felony. Any terror-related crime received an increase of five years of imprisonment.
Additionally, I have fought to increase State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) funding. SCAAP provides federal reimbursement to state and local governments for the costs of incarcerating criminal aliens. I believe that until we can truly secure our borders, the least we can do is reimburse state and local governments for the cost of incarcerating criminal aliens.
I understand the important role Congress plays in securing our nation and protecting the rights of each American citizen. I will continue to fight for the rights of Central Texans and ensure their safety and security.