Image: United States Congressman Kevin Brady, who is presently Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. After January 1, 2019, Brady will be the Ranking Republican Member of that committee, since the Republicans will be in the minority in the United States House of Representatives. Brady will continue to serve as a member of the Joint Committee on Taxation on which the senior tax-writing members of both the House and the United States Senate serve.
Conroe, December 1 – United States Congressman Kevin Brady, Republican of The Woodlands, is the tenth (10th) Most Powerful Person of the Top Ten Most Powerful People in Montgomery County, seven positions lower than where he was in 2017 on this list.
Welcome to the Power Top Ten (2018 Edition)
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, continues the tradition of listing the Power Top Ten, the ten most powerful people in Montgomery County. The Power Top Ten doesn’t commemorate the ten best people in Montgomery County necessarily, but the most powerful people who are actually able to accomplish political or policy goals. In other words, he or she can get things done in Montgomery County. This year is the second that The Golden Hammer is publishing this list. In 2016, the Publisher of this newspaper published the list on social media before this newspaper began.
“Power” means “he or she can get things done in Montgomery County.”
At the end of this month, we’ll also commemorate the “Person of the Year Award 2018” for the Montgomery County person who was responsible in 2018 for the most positive change in our community and the “Mad Cow Award” for the worst elected official in Montgomery County during 2018. If you have suggestions, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We will treat your suggestions in confidence.
Our community has some immensely powerful people who reside here but don’t wield a lot of influence in Montgomery County. A great example is popular Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who some might argue is the most powerful person in all of Texas. Patrick lives in Montgomery County. Similarly, Montgomery County is the home to some very high net worth individuals who oversee far-flung business empires across the globe. Those people aren’t on the list of the Power Top Ten, because they don’t wield their power “in Montgomery County,” although, arguably, Patrick could or maybe to some degree already does.
Power is elusive. Three years ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton was immensely powerful and had enormous potential energy to accomplish what she wanted in the United States. The 2016 election changed that. Similarly, a year ago Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, was arguably one of the ten most powerful people on Earth, but her decision to retire soon and some electoral losses her political party has suffered have changed her stature.
Potential energy (power that someone is about to wield) counts. Kinetic energy (power that someone is wielding right now) also counts. Spent energy does not count, unless it projects continual wielding of power in the future.
This newspaper requested and received enormous numbers (from more than 200 individuals) of suggestions for the Power Top Ten. The editorial staff has reviewed those suggestions carefully and taken many of them to heart. You’ll see some significant changes in the Power Top Ten List as well as the manner in which this newspaper presents it this year.
The Golden Hammer will publish a new list member every three days. That means we’ll publish #1 on December 28. On December 27, we’ll publish a list of “Honorable Mentions.” On December 30, we’ll publish the “Mad Cow Award” for the Worst Elected Official in Montgomery County for 2018. On December 31, we’ll honor the “Person of the Year” to whom we attribute the most positive change in Montgomery County during 2018.
#10: United States Congressman Kevin Brady
As the United States Congressman from Montgomery County, Kevin Brady has enormous ability to get things done. Brady is great at doing just that. He’s not an ideologue, but his center-right voting record along with his great personality, which makes those around him enjoy his company and be comfortable, greatly assisted Brady to move up inside the House Republican Conference. Brady and House Speaker Paul Ryan are close friends and sat next to each other on the Ways and Means Committee for many years.
Ryan, of course, is retiring from Congress.
More significantly, however, Brady and the Republican Party suffered a terrible loss, even though Brady himself easily won re-election in the Eighth Congressional District with 73.46% of the vote out of 272,732 cast in the November 6 General Election. The Republicans lost majority control of the United States House of Representatives, so Brady will no longer serve as the Ways and Means Committee Chairman in the 116th Congress.
Brady will instead serve as the Ranking Republican Member on Ways and Means. He will also continue to have enormous influence over long-term tax policy through a seat on the Joint Committee on Taxation, which the five senior members of the Ways and Means Committee (two Republicans and three democrats) and the five senior members of the Senate Finance Committee (three Republicans and two democrats) will comprise.
During the 115th Congress, Ryan invited Brady to participate in an informal group, the Big Six, six key tax reformers who gathered together every Monday night in Ryan’s office in the Capitol to eat Italian food and discuss tax policy. The Big Six were Ryan, Brady, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs President who served as President Trump’s National Economic Council Director until April of this year. The Big Six largely steered the direction of the tax reform legislation which Ryan and Brady successfully passed in the House in December 2017.
With two members (Ryan and Cohn) of the Big Six gone and Brady no longer running Ways and Means as Chairman, the group will likely discontinue as the force that it once was.
Brady is a remarkably successful Congressman for the Eighth Congressional District in at least two major respects. First, his constituent services are at the highest level arguably of any member of Congress. The staff in Brady’s District Office as well as on Capitol Hill are truly remarkable in their level of proficiency. By assisting a company, which employs over 800 people in Montgomery County, to receive fast service in the processing of a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service, Brady and his amazing caseworker Janet Qureshi literally saved the company and all of the jobs in it a couple of years ago.
Second, Brady has brought the “pork” (federal dollars) into his District when the people of the District have needed it the most. Specifically, Brady has done as good a job as any member of Congress to bring federal flood relief funds into Texas and into the Eighth Congressional District. There are a lot of problems with those funds, but Brady has done the best of any Congressman to obtain them.
It’s worth mentioning that Brady is among the top two or three members of Congress whom President Donald Trump trusts and respects the most. If there is a Cabinet shuffle, there is a very strong chance that President Trump will consider Brady for a possible Cabinet position at Commerce, Energy, or even the Treasury. A strong personal relationship with the President of the United States does translate into enormous intangible influence for Brady inside the entire House of Representatives, not just in the Republican Conference.
In addition to his loss of power on Capitol Hill, as a result of the Republicans losing control of the House, Brady has revealed another problem that really came to the fore during the November General Election cycle. With all of the time that Brady has spent working on national affairs, he’s lost significant touch with Montgomery County.
Sure, we see Brady here frequently, although he’s careful to avoid town hall meetings unless they are carefully hand-picked audiences. Nevertheless, where Brady displayed his surprising lack of understanding of inside politics in Montgomery County came during discussions about the dynamics of the local Republican Party. Brady feels enormous debt to 88-year-old Wally Wilkerson, the Party Chairman who has lost control of the Party to conservative Precinct Chairs whom the citizens elected in the March 6 Republican Primary Election. Brady revealed an understanding of local politics frozen about 15 years ago when Wilkerson and his henchman melinda fredricks successfully kept grassroots conservatives out of leadership positions.
Brady’s failure to understand the dynamics of Republican voters in Montgomery County came on public display when he agreed to be the Keynote Speaker at a major fundraiser for Wilkerson’s little GOP group after the State Republican Executive Committee’s Officials Committee had already reprimanded Wilkerson on October 2, 2018, for “engaging in behavior designed to disgrace the Republican Party.” What Brady didn’t comprehend was that the authority of the Montgomery County Republican Party resides in its Steering Committee of officers and top grassroots leaders who had never authorized the fundraiser at which Brady agreed to speak and for which Brady gave Wilkerson $5,000.
Brady’s and Wilkerson’s major “Get Out The Vote” event on October 11 drew all of 64 people in a giant room of the Lone Star Convention Center in Conroe, despite enormous promotions by Brady, Wilkerson, and their public relations teams. It was an embarrassment and a disaster. Please see “Congressman Brady, Railroad Commissioner Craddick, Wilkerson Draw 64 People For Fake ‘Republican Party’ GOTV Event,” The Golden Hammer, October 12, 2018.
Sadly, when the authorized Montgomery County Republican Party event occurred with more than 283 Republican activists in attendance on October 18, Brady failed to attend, even though he was in town that day and had nothing on his calendar, as this newspaper confirmed with Brady’s staff.
Brady has lost touch with Montgomery County and the wants, needs, and desires of the citizens who actively work to make this community a better place. He snubbed the grassroots conservative activists who led Montgomery County to beat all state and national trends in the November 6 General Election and who, under the leadership of Party Vice Chairman Reagan Reed and activist Kelli Cook, ran the strongest General Election campaign in the history of the Montgomery County Republican Party. He also revealed that he doesn’t know local politics as well as he used to know it, as he has gained an “inside the Beltway” focus.