BY KAREN GLEASON karen.gleason
Del Rio native Raul Reyes Jr. stood on a high bluff overlook-ing the Rio Grande
on Monday and an-nounced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. “I’m going to chal-lenge Will Hurd in the March 2020 Republican Party primary,” said Reyes, a retired lieu-tenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. “We’re all a little upset with the way things have turned out with Will Hurd; he’s the guy that doesn’t believe in the wall, and we believe in security that includes the wall, so we’ve come out here to the Rio Grande to let folks know, hey, Raul Reyes is for the wall,” Reyes said. But Reyes said his campaign against Hurd will involve more issues than the wall. “We’ve got to fix a bunch of other stuff, like the Flores settle-ment, and of course we have to work on the retention problem with the Border Patrol as well and get in-depth into some of the things that are really plaguing the border. It’s understood that you can’t put a wall everywhere, but where possible, we need to. “I was born and raised in Del Rio, and I’m a proud native son. I’m a product of the Junior ROTC program here at Del Rio High School, and the good men there, Col. Hansen, Sgt. Sanders, Chief Keys and a bunch of other folks, but them, along with my parents, helped steer me in some right directions, and I ended up in college in An-gelo State, got a commis-sion and became a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 1994,” Reyes said. Reyes served in the Air Force about 22 years, where he worked as a cyber security officer, ultimately becoming responsible for all of the command and control of cyber defense operations for the entire Air Force. Reyes said he speaks Spanish fluently, a trait that has stood him in good stead in the Air Force. He said he served a number of tours of duty in Central and South America. “I had what would be known in the Army as a foreign area officer position because of my skillset for language and being able to hunker in wherever I needed to, so I’ve been to every coun-try in Central and South America, but extensively in Colombia and lots of time in Central America,” Reyes said. Reyes retired from the Air Force in April 2016. Since then, he did a stint at Southwest Teas Junior College as their chief information officer and was promoted to vice president of administrative affairs, but “when the Air Force came call-ing again,” he went back to Randolph Air Force Base, where he works in the Security Assis-tance Training Squad-ron, which secures all of the training through contracts for the United States’ partner nations. Reyes is also a businessman who began his own home construction business.
Reyes said he will focus his campaign on bringing attention to Hurd’s voting record. “He’s voted against funding for the border wall. He’s voted against the National Emergency Act. He called the border crisis ‘a myth.’ Every-body can look it up. He’s become the darling of the Democrats and the liberal media. I’ve served the nation, and there’s a need for somebody to step up and say, ‘We have a problem here.’ We’re the kindest, best human beings, because we help the world. We always do. This has nothing to do with not helping folks; this has everything to do with protecting Texas, protecting Del Rioans and making sure that drugs don’t get into this country,” Reyes said.
He pledged to run a positive campaign, with a focus on Hurd’s voting record.
“We’re just going to make a distinction; this is what you have now, and this is what you can have later. There is an oppor-tunity to fix a lot of these issues, but you need lead-ership, and I bring that to the table,” Reyes said.
“Our platform includes bringing jobs to places like Del Rio. If we look across this river, and we see the maquilas on the other side. Why are they not here? I’m going to ask those questions and de-mand answers, as to how we can bring those jobs here,” he added, noting he lived in Del Rio when the Levi-Strauss plant here closed its doors.
“We can do what they do there better here, so somebody has to ask those questions and figure out how to bring those jobs back,” Reyes said.