Atarah Golden’s Interview with Texas State Representative Stefani Carter

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Texas State Representative Stefani Carter.  In 2010, Carter, a Harvard Law School graduate, became the first black Republican woman to serve in the Texas house.  In this brief interview, she details her roots, family, Conservatism, and of course, Texas.

Golden: What attracted you to conservatism?

Carter: Growing up in a household of Democrats, thinking Democratic and voting Democratic was always assumed.  I believe my family innately practiced conservative values – hard work and self-reliance (my father was an entrepreneur who started his own lawn mowing business), living a modest lifestyle, spending within our financial means, and centering our life on a strong commitment to family and religion – and yet it wasn’t until I entered Harvard that I began to base my political beliefs on my conservative ideals.

Does your faith play a significant role in your political life?

Faith does and will always play a huge role in my political life.  I was raised in a Catholic household and grew up surrounded by family and friends who believed in serving others. We knew that God was always present in our lives.  As a lawmaker, I understand that faith oftentimes intersects with policy, and I feel that having a solid religious foundation has guided me in many of my political decisions.

How do your family members feel about your political stance? What is their argument against their belief, if any? Do they support you, in spite of your differences?

I am fortunate to have an incredibly supportive family.  While we may not agree in terms of politics, we never run out of things to talk about at the dinner table!  I believe my family members, and many other African-Americans, view the GOP as a traditionalist party that doesn’t represent African-American principles.  I see the GOP as a party that promotes the very same ideology that many Texas families follow – community values, opportunity and responsibility.

What sparked your interest in becoming a representative for your great state?

I felt we needed a change and I hoped to make one.  As I’ve said: enough with the socialism and enough with the entitlement mentality.  Stop taxing people to death. Let people live their lives in freedom without a meddlesome government peering over their shoulders and taking their cut of every dollar – while providing little service in return.  America still provides the world with hope.  If we’re not careful, and if we do not fight, this generation will be remembered as the ones who let the dream fail.

What do you think of the direction our country is headed?

As Americans, I think we have a lot for which to be thankful.  However, there is still a lot of work to be done at the federal, state and local level to improve the direction our country is headed through greater attention to job creation, reduced government spending, increased local control, better education and more efficiency across state agencies.

How has this administration impacted Texas?

The Obama administration has overstepped its bounds in more ways than one.  From unsubstantiated environmental regulations to overreaching health care mandates, the federal government has proven to be ineffective and inefficient.  We need an administration that lets states decide what works best for them. Fortunately, Texas is one of the strongest states in the nation – we enjoy a sturdy economy, job growth, limited government, abundant resources, among others.

Economically, Texas is doing significantly better than most other states. How can Texas state representatives influence the rest of the country?

The Texas model is working well and we’ve seen other states across the country follow our example.  During the last legislative session, state representatives balanced the state’s budget without raising taxes, passed legislation to attract businesses and create jobs, and worked with industries to grow revenues through increased production of local resources.  I am proud of what we’ve accomplished in Texas, and I look forward to working again next session to effectively represent House District 102 and its constituents, businesses and organizations.

Thank you, Rep. Carter, for taking the time out to answer my questions.  May Texas continue to excel and continue to serve as a model for the rest of the country to follow.

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