Rep. Flores talks shift of power in Congress after 2018 midterms

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - On November 6, 2018 Bill Flores was re-elected to the House of Representatives for what would become his fifth term in Congress representing Texas' 17th District. However, he will return to a different mood in Washington D.C. as Republicans have lost their majority in the House, but were able to maintain their majority and gain ground in the Senate.

The day after the election, Flores appeared on Brazos Valley This Morning to discuss the shift in power among Washington lawmakers.

One of the most closely watched races of the 2018 Midterms was in Texas where Rep. Beto O'Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, challenged Sen. Ted Cruz for his Senate seat. The race received much hype as Democrats saw it as a sign that the Lone Star State could become more of a purple, or even blue, state.

In the end, though the race came down to relatively slim margins and the Texas Senate seat remains in the hands of Republicans. Wednesday morning, Rep. Flores said he doesn't take the race as a sign that Texas is changing.

Flores said that in terms of state-wide races, the Governor's race is the one to focus on. He believes that in 2020, the state will likely return to familiar voting patterns seen in the past.

"The Senate race was an anomaly," Flores said. "Beto had this aura about him. I think once people really started digging [into] the policy part of Beto O'Rourke, they didn't like what they saw as much as the sort of aura they saw," said Flores. "And then Ted Cruz spent the first five years being a little bit of a challenge to work with and I'm hopeful that he's going to come back and work more as a team."

Shortly after it was announced that Rep. Flores would be re-elected, he listed three of his top priorities as immigration, border security and healthcare. When asked how confident he is in the possibility of addressing those issues in a divided legislative branch, Flores was blunt.

"I'm not confident," Flores said. "I will say this, I have confidence in the president's deal-making ability, but it's going to depend on whether or not the Democrats in the House are willing to sit down and work on a deal."

For an example, Flores referred back to immigration bills supported by President Trump in June and July of 2018, which he called "exceptionally good" offers, that were voted down by Democrats and a small group of Republicans.

Finally, many voters in the Brazos Valley have often criticized Rep. Flores for changing the way he holds town hall meetings. Rather than visit local venues and address constituents in person, Flores has begun holding his town hall meetings through online video calls.

Flores said the change is similar to the way people have begun shopping on Amazon rather than visiting grocery stores,. He claims the move "brought representative government into the 21st century."

"Anybody can call and set up a meeting with me. Over the course of the last two years, in our three district offices, I've met with well over a thousand people on a face-to-face basis," Flores said. "That's the ultimate town hall right there."