Ted Cruz Highlights “Tough as Texas” Texans in Midland, Amarillo, Wichita Falls, and Fort Worth in Third Day of Re-Election Campaign Tour

Press Releases|4.4.18

FORT WORTH, Texas — Today, Sen. Ted Cruz visited Midland, Amarillo, Wichita Falls, and Fort Worth in the last leg of his three-day, twelve-city re-election campaign “Tough as Texas” tour. There, Sen. Cruz highlighted the stories of Texas heroes, including energy producers, wheat growers, cattle ranchers, veterans, and law enforcement officials, all of whom embody the ‘can-do’ spirit of the Lone Star State. Background on each Tough Texan is included below.

“The last three days out on the road have been remarkable,” Sen. Cruz said. “I’ve had the incredible opportunity of crisscrossing the state, meeting with Texas farmers and ranchers, who toil under the hot Texas sun, small business owners who create good paying jobs for their fellow Texans, veterans and law enforcement officials who serve and protect their communities. We are surrounded by heroes and the stuff of legend every single day living in Texas. These are the men and women are strong, independent, lovers of liberty. Texans are tough. And it’s those values they expect to see from their elected representatives.”

In Midland, Cruz recognized Tough Texans who help form the backbone of our state’s thriving oil and gas industry:

Don Sparks: Don Sparks was the first in a large extended family to graduate from college. His father owned a dry-cleaning shop in Amarillo, which Mr. Sparks and his younger brother worked at while they were growing up delivering clothes. When Don was in 8th grade doing a clothing delivery, he encountered a man entering a hotel down the street, and Don admired how the man had the nicest clothes he had ever seen. Don asked his dad what the man with the nice clothes did and his father told him he was an oil well shooter. So, when choosing schools, Don considered both petroleum engineering and shooting. In the years since he went into the business, Don’s company has been through every downturn the industry has taken and has always tried to remain conservative so they don’t go too far in debt. The industry is always changing and they stuck with it. It’s a family affair: his brother and all three sons work with him. His philosophy is that you have to balance risk and reward, and you have to be upfront and treat people right and you manage to get through the busts okay.

Ernest Angelo: Ernie wanted to be a lawyer but didn’t want to go to school for long! But he liked math and science, loved the outdoors, so he picked petroleum engineering because it involved geology. He grew up in Louisiana, and a job with Gulf got him to Odessa. He transferred to Midland in ‘58, changed jobs in ‘62 and quit in ‘64 to start his own business! He and his partner Don Sparks decided to go independent and form Discovery operating and investment partnership. Somehow, during all this he managed to get involved in politics, and become Mayor for eight years—“Mr. Republican” of Midland. His historic early support of Ronald Reagan in 1976 helped him win the Presidency in 1980.

In Amarillo, Cruz recognized Tough Texans who are leaders in agriculture, helping feed our state and the whole nation:

Steve Detten: Steve is a farmer, rancher, and firefighter ten miles northeast of Amarillo. In 2011, Steve’s farm, which had been in his family for 100 years, lost a barn, a chicken house and bunkhouse used for storage, two grain trucks full of seed wheat to a grass fire. Even worse, Steve was forced to put down seven of his horses that were in severe pain. Detten describes the relationship with his horses: “They’re like your favorite dog. In a ranching family, these are like pieces of equipment, yet they are your best friends, too. But I saw people hurt a lot worse than me. My loss was horses, hay and a barn. I saw a lot of people’s houses burn, and it breaks your heart.”

Bruce Barrett: Bruce is the owner and president of Springlake Potatoes. His family has been in the potato industry for more than 100 years and they’ve been growing potatoes in the South Plains since the 1940s. As of 2010, Springlake Potatoes produces around 35 million pounds of Red, Russet, and Yukon Gold potatoes every year. Springlake Potatoes (SP) stands out in the industry for producing over 1,000 truckloads of potatoes a year in the Texas Panhandle. The potato industry in the panhandle has had several different challenges including two insect problems, import issues with Mexico, weather issues, and always trying to find a new variety of potato to stay relevant in the market. A community advocate, Barrett has been linked to various organizations in Muleshoe such as the Economic Development Corporation, the Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees and ISD Athletic Boosters. A longtime supporter of WT, he is a member of the WTAMU Buffalo Club and inductee of the Old Main Society.” Bruce says that everyone in this area is having weather problems, so he doesn’t want anyone to think his problems are worse than everyone else’s.

In Wichita Falls, he recognized veterans and military officers who have selflessly put their lives on the line to defend our everyday freedoms and values:

Tim Lee: Tim was a rebellious teenager and son of a Baptist minister, who once walked the streets of McLeansboro, Illinois, in violent protest to all ordained authority in the home, the church, and the school. He was a born fighter. To escape the world around him, he joined the Marine Corps in 1969. In March of 1971, as he put it, Tim was “apprehended by the hand of God along an abandoned grassy trail in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.” He and his men were on a mine sweep, but unknowingly walked into the middle of a Viet Cong mine field. When it happened, Tim felt like he had stepped on a miniature volcano. A deafening blast rammed through his body. It ripped through his legs and tore his M-16 in half. And lying there with the Corpsman working on him, Tim prayed that he’d dedicate his life to whatever God wanted him to do, if he escaped that terrible place alive. During the next several months, thirteen major operations were performed. Coming home to Illinois, he went to his Dad’s church and made things right. He also surrendered his life to the ministry. After his call to preach in 1973, and following a year of itinerant evangelistic preaching, Tim Lee pastored for five years in southern Illinois before surrendering to the full-time ministry of evangelism in 1979.

Rita Vokes: Rita joined the Air Force, 1968, because of her father’s Army service during World War II. He encouraged her to serve her country as a nurse since he had fond memories of Army nurses who cared for so many wounded. Her first assignment was Carswell AFB, TX, from 1968-1971. Was assigned to OB unit, then medical-surgical units, caring for Vietnam casualties and a wide variety of medical illnesses. Years later, she would be assigned as Chief Nurse Executive at Rhein-Main AB, Germany. In 1985, the Wing Headquarters building was bombed by terrorists, which killed two Americans and injured more than 20 people. Her career spanned continents, but eventually returned her to Texas, as assistant Chairman of Maternal-Child Nursing at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, Lackland AFB. Inducted into Hall of Heroes at Sheppard AFB, TX, for military and civilian volunteerism and community leadership. Featured in the Museum of North Texas History in Wichita Falls, with her service dress and mess dress uniforms on display in the Military Women’s section. She’s been named “Woman of the Year,” receiving awards for mentoring business women at local, state and national levels. Recipient of Fort Worth Diocesan Council of Catholic Women “Benediction to Mankind” award for volunteerism. “Chapel of the Four Chaplains” award for national leadership.

In Fort Worth, he recognized several law enforcement officers, many who were injured in the line of duty, and some who lost their lives protecting their communities:

Fort Worth Police Department Officer Matt Pearce: Matt was pursuing two robbery suspects, armed and dangerous, who were fleeing the scene of a robbery. He was the first man on their tail, and forced to follow them on foot in a deep wooded area, he got tripped up by a barbed wire fence. That’s when they shot him while he was down. He was trying to breathe, fighting for his life, and he saw a shadow above him, and one of the suspects shoots him again, execution style. As Matt is fighting for life other officers come to the scene and are attempting to restrain the suspects. An officer looks in the deep brush and sees slight movement and black shoes. At this moment they hear Matt Pearce calling out in a weak voice, “I’m blue, blue down.” All in all, he sustained five shots, that created seven separate wounds. His fellow officers rushed him to immediate surgery, and miraculously he managed to survive, staying in the ICU for one month, following another month in the hospital before he is released to continue his long and difficult road of rehab. Matt had sustained a collapsed lung, a punctured diaphragm, a shattered femur, a broken jaw, damage to his liver and spleen and a nicked aorta. But he’s a survivor, and after a year of rehab surgeries and the help of his family and fellow officers Matt returned in uniform to continue to serve as a Ft. Worth Police Officer.

Texas DPS Trooper Danny Shaw Jr.: Danny is a native of Forney, Texas, and was deployed to the Rio Grande Valley in support of border operations. During those operations, Shaw and other state and federal officers, were patrolling the border in Starr County when gunfire was reported on the Mexican side. DPS says that the gunfire was probably exchanged between the Mexican military and three individuals attempting to illegally gain entry into the U.S. Trooper Shaw responded to the area with the intent of monitoring and preventing the violence from crossing into the U.S. While he was monitoring the situation, someone from the Mexican side of the border fired on our officers, and Trooper Shaw was struck in the right hip, causing significant injuries. Danny was recognized for his actions during the gunfight, and was presented with a Purple Heart by the Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and DPS Director Steven McCraw. Shaw and his brother, Dallas County Community College District Police Department Corporal Bryan Shaw, were recognized during the 85th Legislature with the passage of HR 671, a resolution authored by District 33 House Representative Justin Holland and joint-authored by District 4 House Representative Lance Gooden.