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Meet Ted Poe

Lloyd “Ted” Poe (born September 10, 1948) is a Republican politician currently representing Texas’s 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. The district includes most of northern Houston, as well as most of the Beaumont-Port Arthur metropolitan area.

Early years

Poe was born in Temple, Texas. He now lives in Humble, a suburb of Houston. Poe graduated in 1970, with a degree in political science from Abilene Christian University, where he served as class president, and, in 1973, received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Houston Law Center, where he had participated in the school’s honor society. From 1970 to 1976, he served in the United States Air Force Reserve’s C-130 Unit at Houston’s Ellington Air Force Base.

As prosecutor and judge

After serving as a chief felony prosecutor in Harris County (Houston) for eight years, Poe was appointed a felony court judge in Harris County in 1981, becoming one of the youngest judges in the State of Texas. Poe was one of the first Republican judges elected in Harris County since Reconstruction. In this position, he gained national prominence for his unusual criminal sentences that included ordering thieves to carry signs in front of stores from which they stole; required men who abused their wives to publicly apologize on the steps of Houston’s City Hall; commanded sex offenders to place warning signs on their home after serving jail time; and directed murderers to securely place a photo of their victims on the wall of their prison cells, creating a daily reminder of their crime. In a story that is part of jailhouse lore in Texas, he reportedly told a defendant at sentencing of his intention to throw some pennies in the air and, however many hit the ground, would be the number of years the defendant was going to serve. After flinging an entire jar of pennies, he informed the man that the sentence would be twenty years. Ted Poe became well known to most offenders in theTexas Department of Criminal Justice, even those from beyond Houston.

During his judgeship, “creative sentencing” became a trademark of his court. However, in at least one case, Poe amended the sentence afterwards without notifying the victim’s family. [1]

Election to the United States Congress

In November 2004, Poe ran for the U.S. House against Democrat Nick Lampson in the 2nd District, which had been numbered as the 9th District prior to a controversial mid-decade redistricting. The new 2nd was considerably more Republican than the old 9th, in part due to the loss of Galveston and the area around the Johnson Space Center. They were replaced with several heavily Republican areas around Houston. Poe won 55% of the vote to Lampson’s 43%. While Lampson trounced Poe in Beaumont and Port Arthur, Poe swamped Lampson in the Harris County portion of the district.

Within a month of taking office, Poe was chosen by President George W. Bush to be one of two members of the House, along with one member of the Senate, sent to observe firsthand the elections in Iraq.

In January 2005, Poe founded and cosponsored the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus to represent and advocate before the United States Congress and the Administration on behalf of victims. The Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus facilitates discussions, organizes meetings, and disseminates information on the causes of victimization to help achieve greater understanding and to formulate sensible solutions. He has worked closely with rape victim Jamie Leigh Jones, who is from his district.

Poe is noted for wrapping up speeches on the floor of the House with the words, “And that’s just the way it is.”

Committee assignments

In addition to Poe’s committee assignments, he is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus.

Issue positions

Abortion

Poe’s position on abortion is firmly pro-life. Poe received a 0 rating from abortion rights group NARAL in 2007, and rating of 100 from the National Right to Life Committee in 2007-2008. He also voted for the Prohibiting Federal Funding of Abortion Services amendment on November, 7, 2009.

Fiscal policy

In 2008, the National Taxpayers Union, an organization that supports “lower taxes and smaller government”, gave Poe the grade B+, and in 2007 received a rating of 90 from the group Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that advocates “taxes [that] are simpler, [and] flatter”. Also Ted Poe voted against the 2009 Economic Stimulus Package (HR 1) and the 2010 Concurrent Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 13). The Club for Growth PAC gave Ted Poe a power ranking of 85.85%.

Healthcare reform

Poe doesn’t support what he calls “government run health care” Poe voted “Nay” on the Health Care and Insurance Law Amendments bill on November 7, 2009. In 2008 Poe voted for the Medicare Bill (HR 6331). Poe supports healthcare reform that would “Allow insurance to be purchased across state lines, provide for a safety net for catastrophic injury or illness…and allow for a health savings account”.

Controversies

As a state judge, in November 2002, Poe ruled that he would permit the PBS documentary show Frontline to videotape jury deliberations of a capital murder case.There was considerable concern that this would affect the result of the trial, possibly by skewing the composition of the jury, and the decision was appealed by Harris County prosecuters. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal appellate court, ruled against Poe’s decision and prohibited the videotaping.

On May 7, 2007, while speaking on the floor of the house, Poe used a quote from Civil War Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest when describing the military strategy that Poe felt the United States should have followed in Iraq. Forrest’s maxim was to: “Git thar furstest with the mostest.” The controversy lies in the personal history of General Forrest; after his military duty was over, he became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (though soon after called for the Klan to disband). Some critics have stated that despite quoting Forrest for a discussion on military strategy and not on race relations, it was still highly inappropriate for Poe to quote such a divisive figure.

On June 7, 2009, Poe signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1503, the bill introduced as a reaction to conspiracy theories which claimed that U.S. President Barack Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen. On July 23, 2009, he appeared on CNN‘s Lou Dobbs Tonight in which he claimed that Certifications of Live Birth issued by Hawaii State Department of Health cannot be used to obtain a U.S. passport, which is untrue. His support of H.R. 1503 and public advocacy for it earned him a negative editorial in the Houston Chronicle.

A message to all members of the Tea Party

By Ted Poe

Unemployment lines continue to grow as does the American people’s frustration over a government that continues to spend more money than they have. The current administration’s solution is to raise taxes, not cut spending. Times are tight for American families, and as they are looking at ways to make their dollars go further, the federal government should look at ways of keeping American dollars a little closer to home.

While the United States continues to drown in debt, there was some good news south of the border. According to reports, money sent back to Mexico is on the rise. Recently, the Bank of Mexico reported remittances totaling $1.95 billion in August, up 9.32 percent from the same month last year. Apparently, the U.S. job market isn’t tough for everyone.

A Mexican-based financial company is forecasting $22 billion in remittances for 2010 making it Mexico’s second highest revenue maker behind crude oil. Not all of this comes from the 20 million illegal workers. There are people that have come to our country legally to work, but they also send much of their income south of the border. These remittances are an economic drain on America, but Mexico would collapse without them.

Not only are we not recirculating billions of U.S. dollars earned in our country back into our own economy, we are also dolling out taxpayer-funded social services to millions who don’t contribute to the system.

The open-borders crowd continues to insist that those working here illegally contribute more to our economy than the benefits they illegally receive, but $22 billion dollars taken out of our economy says otherwise.

It’s not just the money being sent home, it’s also the costs incurred here. The Federation for American Immigration Reform has estimated that the total cost of education for illegals is $52 billion a year. The report says Texas is saddled with $16.4 billion of that amount.

However, it is important to point out that this cost includes American-born children of people living here illegally. It is argued that we can’t count these children because under current policy, they are considered U.S. citizens, even though their parents are not and even though many of their mothers illegally came to the U.S. for the sole purpose of having a child. While I am not so sure the correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment makes these children automatic citizens, the Supreme Court has not issued a ruling on the issue of birthright citizenship.

The Harris County Hospital District, the public hospital system in Houston, Texas, found that 60 percent of births over the last four years were by women living here illegally. It’s estimated, in Texas alone, there are 1.5 million illegal immigrants, to which 60,000 babies are born to their households annually. In fact, a Pew Hispanic Center study revealed that 8 percent of U.S. babies a year are born to mothers here illegally.

At a hearing before the Texas House State Affairs Committee, the director of research for the Health and Human Services Commission, told the committee that healthcare to illegal immigrants last year cost the state of Texas nearly $100 million, with the bulk being emergency room care.

According to the budget director for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 7.5 percent of the total prison population claimed foreign residency costing the state $171 million a year. However, the real costs are unknown as these figures are based only on the identified illegals in the prison system. This doesn’t even account for the costs incurred by the victims of these crimes either.

As we begin to hear talk about the DREAM Act that will subsidize education costs and grant amnesty to people 35 years old or younger who illegally entered the United States before they were 16 years of age, the costs of this not so dreamy plan are conveniently brushed under the rug.

Illegals get to go to any school without having to pay out-of-state tuition. This only applies to law breakers.

Why would Congress pass a law that discriminates against Americans and lawful immigrants to the benefit of those who break our laws?

There is more. Say you can’t afford the tuition. Under this amnesty plan, people living here illegally are eligible for federal student loans at the expense of American citizens. Why should people living here illegally be given an advantage to obtain loans that should go to citizens and possibly legal immigrants? This policy will deplete the already strained resources for college expense by adding millions of people to the system.

After you complete two years of post high school education or two years of military service you are eligible for citizenship. Once a citizen, this paves the way to bring the rest of their extended family to the United States.

I agree that something must be done, but the American people have rejected amnesty in every form that it has been presented. The costs of this bill will be footed by the American taxpayer for years to come.

I understand that everyone wants to come to our country; I don’t blame them. But, we cannot afford to continue to turn a blind eye to the economic drain illegal entry places on every aspect of our society. We cannot treat people here illegally better than we treat our own citizens and legal residents.

Do the math: illegal immigration is breaking the bank — the American bank that is.

Congressman Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Border Security; as Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus; and recognized nationally as a leading advocate for border security. Prior to serving in Congress, Poe was a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas for 30 years.

Please donate any amount you can to help us try to recover legal costs in defending liberty and the right of free speech !