Get to Know Your Republican Candidates

Tuesday, March 3 is an important date in Texas, as it is your opportunity to vote in the Primary Election. While Presidential elections draw a crowd, midterm elections are just as important. Congress, state, and local governments affect our everyday lives, and this is our chance to have a say in who represents us. Primaries also offer the public a chance to strengthen a political party. Below are the Republican candidates seeking your vote in 2020.

Cindy Siegel for Congress

Cindy Siegel’s life has been about service. She was raised in a Christian home to believe in the importance of giving back to the community and has brought that belief into all aspects of her life. After earning a Master’s Degree in Finance and Accounting and beginning her career at Arthur Anderson, she left to start her own CPA firm where she “fought the IRS for my business and individual clients for 30+ years.”  She is the former Mayor of Bellaire and a former City Council Member, and she has served as both Treasurer and Vice-Chair in the Harris County Republican Party. She is also a past Precinct Chair and has held numerous fundraisers at her home to help elect conservative Republican leaders.

Why congress? She explains her purpose with passion. “I decided to run because the Democrats have gone off the rails with their socialist agenda.  Their agenda will fundamentally change our country from our Judeo-Christian values and founding principles of government.  I decided to run for my two daughters, 25 and 22, who are just starting off their careers.  I want them, and everyone else’s children and grandchildren, to have the same opportunity that my husband and I had. And I decided to run to end the possibility of a ‘New Green Deal’ or ‘Medicare for all,’ both radical policies that would destroy Houston’s energy industry and our beloved Texas Medical Center. “

Siegel sees District 7 and our nation as facing many challenges, from pro-life issues to crushing national debt. “By far, though, the number one issue facing our district is flood control, mitigation and prevention.  I will make it my top priority to be the squeaky wheel, the fly in the ointment, the burr under the saddle of our bloated bureaucracies that are dragging their feet to help this area.  If we don’t get a handle on the problems creating these floods, we will begin to lose business and industry and ultimately, lose jobs.”

Siegel shares a personal story that demonstrates her sense of humor and work ethic: “Growing up in rural Northwest Kansas, I learned to operate a combine!  I drove one every summer during harvest time in order to earn money,” she says with a chuckle. “I don’t think there are a lot of candidates in the race that can claim that skill!  I will bring the same attributes of grit, determination, and hard work I learned working on the family farm to representing the people of Congressional District 7.”

Pierce Bush for Congress – 22nd Congressional District

Pierce Bush may come from a famous American family, but he doesn’t mention it when I ask him what he wants voters to know about him. Instead, he offers the following: “I would love voters to know I am a man of faith and I pray often about decisions that lay in front of me, and I try to yield to God’s purpose and plan for my life, overall.  As I look back on my journey of going from the finance world to Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star to meeting my incredible wife, Sarahbeth, I see God’s fingerprints all over it.  God has blessed us richly in this country and I think of Micah 6:8 where the Lord instructs His people to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with the Lord.”

Bush was CEO of BBBS Lone Star, the largest BBBS 501c3 affiliate agency in the country, He helped make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of at-risk kids across our state. He believes that people of the 22nd Congressional District deserve to have a voice in Congress who will fight for their values and conservative reforms, and stand against the rise of Socialism.

He also served as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, which allowed him to help make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of at-risk youth in Fort Bend, Harris, and Brazoria Counties. “Too often, we saw the damaging effects in these kids’ lives and their families because our porous border has impacted them due to drugs and even human trafficking.  Combatting the drug cartels and stopping the human traffickers will be a top priority of mine as the U.S. Representative for the 22nd District.”

Bush went on, “There are so many issues of importance that are stagnant because we have a Congress solely focused on attacking the President and ignoring the will of the American people. The issues he wants to resolve include securing the border and fixing the loopholes being exploited by drug cartels and human traffickers; supporting President Trump’s policies for economic growth, job expansion for our families, and new infrastructure to rebuild America – including flood protection; defending our Constitutional liberties and stopping the rise of socialism; and lowering the cost of healthcare while expanding options.

“I am truly hopeful that my candidacy helps bring new people and new generations of voters to understand that Conservatism is the MOST EMPOWERING of all ideologies.  Our belief is that individuals, endowed with God-given liberties, can achieve more, accomplish more, and do more for their communities than any government program – and this is being proven EVERY DAY here in Texas and Fort Bend County.  We need to have more elected officials who are positive, outgoing, and influential evangelists for the power of conservatism so we can build this movement to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms.  I hope to be that kind of candidate and can’t wait to meet even more folks as we continue this campaign.”

J.J. Clemence for Tax Assessor

A tax assessor may not be viewed as a glamorous position, but it sure is an important one. The tax assessor represents the bridge between the needs of the residents of Fort Bend County and the government that represents them. J.J. Clemence is running for this position, and she wishes to fill it with transparency, efficiency, and accountability.

An immigrant from China, Clemence describes herself as “a citizen by choice and not a citizen by birth. I love this country and what it has given me to achieve my dreams – now I feel it is time for me to give something back to this nation that has given me so much. My combination of outstanding private sector accomplishment as well as public sector exposure give me the tools and insights to provide the leadership required to excel in this position.”

Clemence’s education and experience are lengthy. She has an undergraduate degree in accounting and finance and an MBA from Baker University. As a certified Auditor, she has more than 15 years’ experience, and she has worked as Lead Auditor, Business Development Manager and Fundamental Advisor at Fortune 500 companies like Baker Hughes, Spectra Energy and Enbridge.

Apart from her private sector experience, she also has a track record of community work and public service. She is Congressman Pete Olson’s Community Outreach Director; was appointed by Governor Abbott as Vice Chair to the Texas Real Estate Research and Advisory Committee; served as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair of the Fort Bend County Republican Party; is a committee member of the FBISD Bond Committee and Innovation Committee, and has served as the Vice President of the Texas Asian Republican Club.

If elected, Clemence has several priorities. “I intend to apply my private sector experience to bring in modern processes and technologies where available to streamline and modernize – to improve service while cutting cost and overhead. My private sector experience has also convinced me of the critical importance of cybersecurity and assuring the privacy and integrity of our taxpayer data. By its very nature this department has access to and responsibility for some of the most critical personal data of the residents of Fort Bend County. I intend to ensure that we are up to date on our audits and adopt the most modern approaches to staying ahead of potential cybercrime.

“Apart from this I intend to build upon my predecessor’s excellent work in ensuring that the Tax Assessor is viewed as readily available and responsive to the concerns of taxpayers. Unlike most elected positions, the Assessor is one of the government representatives that taxpayers are forced to interact with year after year, irrespective of their level of interest and engagement in politics. I intend to ensure that this interaction is as positive as possible in every way.”

Clemence’s passion stems from her personal experiences as in immigrant. “I came to this country 20 years ago, virtually without a penny to my name. But I had great trust and confidence in America, full of hope. Twenty years later, I am a successful professional with degrees from a prestigious American university, self-supporting and financially independent, and have raised a lovely daughter who is now 13 years old with a promising future before her. I’ve built a life for myself and family in Fort Bend County, made possible by the tremendous economic growth and opportunity that this county has seen under decades of Republican leadership. In a way, I am proof of the American Dream. Having achieved my highest goals, it is time for me to give back to my community and to ensure that future immigrants and future generations have access to the same dreams that I did.”

Terry Adams for Justice First Court of Appeals

Terry Adams has been handling appeals in the appellate courts of Texas for over 30 years. This includes courts of appeals across Texas, the Texas Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. It makes sense, then, that he is seeking election for Justice First Court of Appeals Place 5.

“I have always believed that serving the citizens of Texas as a judge or justice is the highest and best calling in the law. Working at the Supreme Court of Texas out of law school solidified that belief.”  Adams and his wife Anne have three children who are now out of college and are living independently, so he feels this is a prime time to seek this open seat.

A graduate of Denison University and South Texas College of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the South Texas Law Review, Adams is a conservative Republican and highly experienced appellate attorney. He has been recognized by Texas Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America as one of the top appellate attorneys in Texas.

Adams values not just fairness but timeliness, when it comes to the law. “I believe that justice delayed is justice denied.  My highest priority as a Justice on the First Court of Appeals will be to work hard and apply the law fairly to the facts of each case, so that the cases that come before me will be decided correctly under the existing law and as expeditiously as possible.

“I am proud to be endorsed by Texans for Lawsuit Reform  I will bring to the First Court of Appeals Place 5 a conservative judicial philosophy, a strong work ethic, and a dedicated commitment to excellence.  I will uphold the Constitution and follow the law as written.  I will not legislate from the bench.

“So, if you believe that your next Justice on the First Court of Appeals Place 5 should be a conservative Republican and a highly experienced appellate attorney who can hit the running, then I would be honored to earn your vote in the Republican Primary on March 3.    

Shandon Phan for Congress

“My parents’ homeland, Vietnam, was destroyed by socialists. I see a rising tide of socialism in America and am determined not to let it succeed here. For me, it is a deeply personal fight. This country has given me and my family everything we have: opportunity, education, the chance to pursue our dreams. I can’t stand silently by when it is threatened.”

With this powerful statement, Shandon Phan shares his number one reason for running for the U.S. House to represent the 22nd Congressional District.

For years, Phan worked in the legal profession on timely issues that included economic development, taxation, individual liberty, and immigration. He has an insider’s perspective on policies and how he can work to fix or improve them based on real-world experience.

“Before I went to law school, I worked many difficult jobs: washing dishes, mowing lawns, painting houses, and on a shop floor. This gives me a real bond with many of our citizens who are working in these kinds of jobs now and are struggling to provide for their families and the challenges they face in pursuit of the American dream.

“I’ve also worked around the country on behalf of Republican candidates. I have demonstrated strong loyalty to the party in good years and bad. Given my background as a legal immigrant who is America First and Pro-Trump, I think I will be a powerful voice not only in my own race but in ensuring that we keep Texas red.”

The congressional field is a crowded one, with fifteen candidates on the ballot. Phan realizes he has to fight to get his message out and to connect with voters. He is working to get Fort Bend’s sizable population of citizens with roots in Vietnam and the rest of South-East Asia into first, identifying as Republicans, and second, voting in the Republican Primaries. He wants his campaign to be about more than this race. He wants it to be about the future of the Republican Party.

He has a “takes no prisoner” approach to his campaign, with a strong stance on who he is and what he wants to accomplish.

“If you want to be represented by someone who values civility over everything and won’t say anything politically incorrect, don’t vote for me. If you want a congressman who will stay out of the news and stay in line with establishment Republicans, I am not your guy. And if you want someone who speaks perfect English but whose words have no meaning and no heart, find someone else.

“When I was younger, I studied karate, and my childhood hero was Bruce Lee. I’m not going to DC to make friends; I’m going to throw elbows. I will fight for you, our future and our values.”

Rebecca Deurlein
Rebecca Deurlein

Rebecca Deurlein is the author of Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed, and President of Teenager Success 101, a one-on-one academic coaching company dedicated to helping kids find success. She blogs and writes internationally, speaks to parents across the nation, and loves every minute of living in Sugar Land, TX. Find her on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Huffington Post, or through her own blog A Teacher’s Guide to Understanding Teenagers. All can be accessed at