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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Rep. Flores talks trade and energy

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Photo by Cassie Stricker
DSC_9742.jpg

One day after being re-elected to the House of Representatives, Republican Congressman Bill Flores came to the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center to discuss trade and energy policy challenges facing Congress as part of the Mosbacher Institute’s Conversations in Public Policy.
Flores, representative of the 17th District of Texas, is a Texas A&M graduate with a background in oil and gas who was first elected to the House of Representatives in November 2010. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and for the 114th Congress, he was elected as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
“I always like coming back to campus, and half of the subject they asked me to talk about, trade, I’m passionate about, and the other half, energy, is my expertise,” Flores said.
Flores opened the lecture by defining free trade and giving his perspective on how it has been playing out under the current administration, including the new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. He also included the specific actions he took during his term to promote free and fair trade and the results that have followed.
“Free trade is really simple,” Flores said. “It’s no subsidies, no barriers, no tariffs for anybody, anywhere, at anytime. It provides the greatest economic opportunity for the whole world. I may not always see eye-to-eye with the president’s approach, but I have to admit he is having meaningful results.”
Flores’ other main focus was explaining what he sees for the future of sustainable energy and Congress’ role in promoting it, specifically “next-gen” nuclear energy.
“I think advanced nuclear energy – not the current nuclear technology – is the way to go: it’s sustainable, economical and reduces our carbon footprint,” Flores said. “The challenge is that while we lead in nuclear research, we don’t produce enough high-quality, enriched uranium fuel. But it would produces zero carbon emissions – you can’t do that with wind or solar power. And it doesn’t require lithium batteries, which are bad for the environment, to store intermittent energy. It’s something I’m trying to educate my colleagues on both sides of the aisle about.”
The second half of the event featured a conversation between Flores and Lori Taylor, the department head of Public Service and Administration at the Bush School and director of the Mosbacher Institute with questions from both Taylor and the audience on his work and the recent election.
Addressing the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, Flores said, “I’m hopeful we can work together to address the most important issues to our constituents. 98.9 percent of the bills this congress passed and the president signed were bipartisan. That’s the way we led. If the other side uses the same strategy, I think we’ll have the same success.”
Freshman business major Steven Heissenhuber, Jr. attended Flores’ talk to see a congressman in person.
“I loved seeing him in his element,” Heissenhuber said. “You see that he’s not a robot; he’s a human being just like us, and he seems to have the best interest of his constituents at heart. I could tell he was really knowledgeable on trade and energy, and I think this is a testament to how the best type of politics is local politics.”  
 

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