As a former student of Texas A&M University, I’m always pleased as punch to see a fellow Aggie making good—so it was a real treat to have an opportunity to talk with Jonny Havens, who had already disinguished himself as a member of the Ross Volunteer Company in the A&M Corps of Cadets and later as an Army Ranger who served two tours in Iraq as an infantry officer. Never one of rest on his laurels, Jonny then embarked on a legal career after graduating from the law school at Duke University, during which he has been a strong advocate for veterans and religious freedom.
Now, Jonny wants to serve his country once again, this time as a congressional representative for the 2nd District of Texas. It’s a solidly conservative district with several potential candidates running for the Republican nomination, since incumbent Ted Poe decided not to run for re-election. That means a primary is being held on March 6, and if you happen to live in Texas 2 Jonny would very much appreciate your vote.
I got to ask him some questions about why he wants to go to Washington and what he hopes to accomplish while he’s there.
What made you want to run for Congress?
I’m running because I had a realization when speaking with my 10-year old daughter about her social studies homework on Congress. I wanted to impart to her my love of this country but we spoke about promises broken instead of promises kept. Promises like repealing ObamaCare. Promises like securing our border. Promises like serving honorably. And that’s why I’m running to make Character Count – so that I can tell my daughter about promises kept, not promises broken.
Texas is known for producing some great conservative statesmen. Are there any who have been a particular inspiration for you?
Secretary James Baker is a great conservative statesman that inspires me. I work at Baker Botts , the firm founded by his great-grandfather. Secretary Baker has an extraordinary conservative track record, including serving as President Reagan’s Chief of Staff, Secretary of Treasury, and President George H. W. Bush’s Secretary of State.
How would you describe your own political philosophy?
I am a proud conservative that believes in the beauty of the U.S. Constitution. By separating powers between branches and between the federal government and the state government, the U.S. Constitution carves out a wide sphere for an individual to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.
Texas 2 has some pretty formidable competition in the Republican primary. What do you think sets you apart from the other candidates?
I have the best combination of leadership in combat, community, and conservative causes to represent United States Congressional District 2.
As combat leader, I am a U.S. Army Ranger School graduate who deployed twice to Iraq. I led an infantry platoon during the deadliest days of the Iraq War and during the resulting Surge that turned the tide in the war. In combat, the promises can sometimes be as simple as cover me while I move – Well, I’ve got you covered. But even simple promises are important – especially when lives are on the line. My soldiers and I kept those promises to each other.
While working at Baker Botts LLP, I became involved in several meaningful community activities. I led the Lone Star Veterans Association as Board Chairman, creating a community of Post 9/11 veterans in Houston. I am particularly proud of Lone Star Veterans Association’s response to Hurricane Harvey where hundreds of the organization’s members mucked over 280 houses, performed 60 rescues, and gave $225,000 to 58 individuals in need. My wife, Anna, and I have led marriage preparation for engaged couples at our church since 2015, where we help set a strong foundation for their future.
While attending Duke Law School, I was President of the school’s Federalist Society chapter. Additionally, as an attorney, I represented churches and individuals in their fight for religious freedom in several pro bono cases.
What issues are the most important to you?
Supporting President Trump’s Jobs Agenda because getting the economy right is the first priority.
Secure our borders and fight illegal immigration because it is long overdue.
Bring character and ethics to congress because its needed now more than ever.
What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the GOP in 2018?
The greatest challenge facing the GOP in 2018 is that the GOP fails to accomplish border security, infrastructure investment, and welfare reform due to moderate Republicans and Democrats. The GOP must prove that it can govern and pass a conservative agenda.