Three major candidates for Congressional District 8 race share spotlight, fight for position in likely runoff

Three major candidates for Congressional District 8 race share spotlight, fight for position in likely runoff

Image: U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General veteran and attorney Jonathan Hullihan (center) spoke, while his other two major opponents in the Congressional District 8 race, youth summit organizer Chris Collins (left) and U.S. Navy Seal and businessman Morgan Luttrell, listened at the Thursday, January 13, 2022, Candidate Forum of the Montgomery County Eagle Forum in the Shenandoah City Council Chamber. (Photograph courtesy of The Golden HammeAustin Bureau Chief Ashley Burke.)

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Shenandoah and Conroe, January 18 – The three major candidates for the 8th Congressional District’s Republican Nomination participated in the Montgomery County Eagle Forum’s Candidate Forum on Thursday, January 13, 2022, in the Shenandoah City Council Chamber. The three major candidates, all of whom have sufficient financial backing to run a serious race for the Congressional seat from which United States Congressman Kevin Brady will retire at the end of this year, are youth summit organizer Chris Collins, retired Navy Commander and attorney Jonathan Hullihan, and retired Navy Seal and businessman Morgan Luttrell.

Two additional candidates for the position participated in the Forum.

Hullihan told the packed crowd that he’s a graduate of Loyola College of Law and joined the United States Navy Judge Advocate General Corps and ultimately deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq as part of his military service. He said, “My military service doesn’t define me, but I’m proud of it. What defines me is my love for liberty, for this country, and for the Constitution…I’ve represented America’s Frontline Doctors where their liberty was taken.” He added, “Nobody in this room can say it’s the same country it was 5 years ago or one year ago. The bureaucrats are in control…I’m running for Congress for our liberty.”

Luttrell graduated from Willis High School and Sam Houston State University. He also grauduated from U.S. Navy Seal training class number 237 and spent eight years as a Navy Seal. In 2014, the Navy medically retired Luttrell after a catastrophic helicopter accident during training exercises. Luttrell said he worked as a “senior advisor” to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in the Trump administration, then attended Harvard Business School, and now works as a businessman who occasionally teaches classes at Sam Houston State University. He said, “We need proper representation…We need someone who won’t back down to the liberal agenda.”

An audience members asked, “What life experiences do you have that makes you the best candidate to represent the 8th Congressional District here in Texas?”

Luttrell, “Our real responsibility is to sit on committees, pass the finish line, and get, I have a lengthy background… Small business owner and could sit on a small business committee. Education…I’m an adjunct professor. I’ve been around the world twice and talked to everybody once. Science and tech…I’m a cybersecurity guy…Agriculture, I grew up on a horse ranch and a farm…Intelligence, my role as a Navy Seal was intelligence. I’ve been through multiple gun fights and I’ve felt the pressure.

Hullihan: “Two things. I’ve worked on complex matters of law and policy for fourteen years. I’m a DOD designated expert in national security law and cybersecurity. Administrative law…I’ve worked on legislative proposals…When I was in Afghanistan, I was part of the Seal teams…I was on the ‘kill chain.’ I was the last person in the kill chain before the commander approved a dropoff from a fixed wing platform. We had a situation…where the groundforce commander was calling in a fire on this group of individuals that presented a hostile threat…They went through the kill chain, went through the fires officer, went through the XO, went through everyone in the chain of command, came to the JAG. I had a grainy feed. I had a radio. I looked and said, ‘sir, I don’t feel comfortable about this. Something is wrong.’ I said, ‘Sir, I can’t give you concurrence. I think there’s civilians there.’ I want back to the ground commander. He said, ‘No. No kids. No civcas. No CDE.’ Came back to me. All the Seals, all the green berets in the room were saying ‘JAG doesn’t want us to get our mission done.’ The commander trusted me in my legal counsel and denied the drop. After he denied the drop, everyone was mad at me, but the picture became clear. Every single one of those of those people we were about to kill were holding children. And it was a setup to kill them. The Commander turned to me and said, ‘You just saved us in Afghanistan.’ So when I go to Washington, D.C., do you think I’m going to be bullied? Do you think I’m going to go against what I know is right with my character, my integrity, and what I know to do, because I have the experience and my qualifications. I’m going to dig my heels in and represent the people of District 8 period.”

Collins: “I feel very blessed to be in the position that I’m in…I come from a big, conservative Christian missionary family. I’m the first in my family to graduate formal secular college. I’m so blessed to be resourceful. God has opened up so many doors in my life. I’m thankful I’ve been able to live the American dream. I work two jobs through high school, college, and grad school. I know what it’s like to scrap and be resourceful…I’ve been so actively involved in so many of the causes [in the community]. I’ve held quarterly prayer breakfasts for many years. You pray for the country. You bring pastors in from all over the community to pray for the country…I’ve been involved with our first responders. I’ve helped police rallies. I’ve been involved with the Montgomery County Food Bank. I’ve brought the food banks to all the churches to be distribution centers, especially during the height of the pandemic. I’ve been on the board of Church of the Good Soldier to help vets with PTSD. I’ve gone through Leadership Montgomery County with our chamber of commerces. I’m on the Montgomery County Friends of the NRA…With Texas Youth Summit, we’ve worked really hard to have an inroad with the youth…It’s fine that some people want to go to Congress to be a committee chair. I remember what the great Ron Paul said, ‘I went to Congress not to be a committee chair but to fight for the American people.’ My promise to you is that I’m going to fight for you. I’d love to be on the Judiciary Committee one day and go after the Democrats.”

An audience member asked the candidates to right down the five rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Hullihan volunteered to answer first and easily answered the question. Luttrell parroted Hullihan. Collins had to look the answer up in a Constitution he carried in his pocket.

An audience member asked, “How would you stand on the issue of murdering babies?”

Luttrell: “I’m 100% Pro Life. Totally against abortions. I think we did a great job passing the Heartbeat bill in the State of Texas. All of us that feel the way we do would walk that all the back to conception…Children’s lives and those babies deserve our protection 100% without exceptions.”

Collins: “First, I feel very blessed to be alive. I was born breached. I spent the first few days of life in an incubator. My parents couldn’t have children. My middle name is Samuel, which means asked of God…I’ve been for many years fighting for life. We have the right to life. It’s so important that we live that out. We have to fight for life, because the unborn can’t fight for themselves…I’m endorsed by Texas Right to Life…I’ve organized our pastors and youth leaders to pray for a long time to pray for the end of abortion…I’ve worked alongside Pregnancy Assistance North in Conroe and been very supportive of the work that they do as an alternative to Planned Parenthood…We have to support adoption…”

Hullihan: “Abortion is murder. It’s binary. The travesty of Roe v. Wade has been a scorn on this nation for a long time. The Supreme Court wanted to find that case and give them that right, but they don’t have that right. Children have the right to be born. I’m confident when I’m in the Congress to draft legislation to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

An audience member asked, “How many of you are planning on being part of the Freedom Caucus? Why or why not?”

Collins: “I’m proud to be endorsed by the House Freedom Fund, which is the fundraising arm of the Freedom Caucus…”

Hullihan: “Yes, I will join the Freedom Caucus. I had breakfast with Dr. Paul Gosar, one of the founding members of the Freedom Caucus…”

Luttrell: “…I’m not joining any caucus, because I don’t know what that looks like up there. You don’t enter into a Theater of War, until you understand it.”

An audience member asked, “I’d like to know who backs you, where’s your money from. I heard that The Hill reported you had taken money from Kinzinger. Is that true? Why?”

Luttrell: “A majority of our funds come from grassroots. We’ve raised about $2 million. I’ve known Adam Kinzinger for about 2 years. We were in a theater of war together. His campaign sent my campaign a donation. I don’t handle the money. I didn’t know the check was cashed. We sent that money back. I don’t hold ill will. I don’t believe in anything Adam is doing right now. I don’t hate that man. I’m a practicing Christian.”

Hullihan: “I’ve raised $200,000. A lot of you in this room are funding me. I won’t anybody a thing when I get to Washington, D.C. I see every check that comes in. You have to know what’s going on around you. I wish I had more, but the oxygen has been sucked out of this room.”

Collins: “People from this community have donated to my campaign.”

An audience member asked about federal government spending and the deficit.

Hullihan: “Cutting government agencies. We need to get back to a yearly budget process with no more omnibus bills. We need to cut spending, because inflation is a tax. China wins at the end of the day, because of the trade deficit and they’re manipulating our currency. We need to cut spending and cut taxes to give a permissive environment for the economy to grow.”

Luttrell: “We need to take back the House. We need a balanced budget amendment…I’m a consumption tax guy, so everyone will pay their fair share.”

Collins: “We’ve got to balance the budget.”

Hullihan and Luttrell have had substantial life experiences. Collins seems to have focused his entire life to run for political office.

Clearly, the most qualified, both in education, background, and ideology is Hullihan. Luttrell is a very thoughtful person, who fits very well with mainstream Republicans. Collins seems to do little more than parrot what others say and lacks a philosophical foundation.





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