BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Congressman Bill Flores (R-District 17) announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in the 2020 race.
Rep. Flores will finish his fifth term through January 2021.
News 3’s Kathleen Witte spoke with Rep. Flores regarding his decision and what’s next for him.
Kathleen Witte: After five terms, you're not running for re-election. Why not?
Rep. Bill Flores: This job is really hard on family life, and our family has changed substantially over the ten years since we started this process. [My wife] Gina lost her dad. We picked up four grandkids and a daughter-in-law along the way. My parents are rushing into their senior years, so it was time to spend more time with family. This job requires hundreds of nights out of town over the course of the last few years. It just doesn’t—I just need to spend more time with family. The other thing I’d like to remind our constituents is that when I first ran, I said I wouldn’t run for more than six terms. I think term limits are a good thing, so I am staying within my term limit pledge.
KW: You still have 16 months left in office. What are your priorities in that time?
Rep. Flores: I’d like to see Congress function because unfortunately right now, what Congress is doing is political, instead of trying to put policies forward that help the American people. We need to get the trade deal passed, the USMCA with Mexico and Canada. We need to try to deal with the border crisis. We need to deal with immigration issues so that we can fix the legal immigration system so that we’ll have less illegal immigration. We need to address prescription drug prices. We need to continue to look at what’s going on in people’s heads that want to commit some kind of violence with a gun or another weapon. We need to look at health care reform. I’d still like to see us accelerate the deployment of 5G [cell signals], particularly for our rural communities. So I still have a full list of things to do, and I’ve got 16 months to do it. We had a conference call with my staff this morning, and I think they’re all going to stay fully engaged during this time.
KW: Still though, are you concerned about a ‘lame duck’ issue now that you’ve announced you won’t seek re-election?
Rep. Flores: That’s always one of the things you have to worry about is, will you still get called on? I think I’ve been particularly effective in Congress, and I serve on the most powerful committee in Congress, so I still think that I’ll have a seat at the table. We have lots of good ideas. And look, I still have a voting card that belongs to the people of this district, and I’m going to be using that on their behalf.
KW: Speaking of votes, last year, a Democrat, in the midterm elections, won more than 41 percent of the vote in this district. This year, that same Democrat is running. Now that you are stepping down and won’t be seeking re-election, how concerned are you, or not, that that Democrat, or any other, might win the race?
Rep. Flores: I don’t think that’s a possibility. The guy that ran against me last time was an unemployed software person from Massachusetts. He doesn’t know the district, doesn’t fit the district. But that said, what’s important about this district is this is a center-right district, and there are a lot of young, thoughtful, conservative leaders that come from diverse backgrounds and diverse interests, and of younger generations. So I think we’re going to have a very competitive nominee, and I would expect that if we have the right nominee, we’ll continue to keep this district represented by a conservative person.
KW: You sound like you’ll remain politically engaged.
Rep. Flores: I will.
KW: No surprise there. So what are your plans, besides spending time with the family?
Rep. Flores: Well, spending time with the family. But also, I’ve got some passions that I used to like to do, fly and snow ski. I’d like to introduce my grandkids to those passions. I would like to spend some time back in the private sector. I had a very successful business career, and I’ve got a lot to offer. I’d like to re-engage, not as a full-time employee but probably working in governance positions. And look, this community has a lot of great charitable causes. Gina has been involved with those the last several years, and I’d like to be her partner in helping with those charitable causes.
See the full conversation in the video player above.