“I like a good fight,” U.S. Senator John Cornyn told your Chamber and our members at the first installment of our Congressional Series luncheons on June 17. 

More than 200 attendees watched as moderator Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, San Antonio’s own nationally syndicated radio host, and Senator Cornyn discussed the VA Health System, gun control, immigration’s impact on Texas’ economy and Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump. The City of San Antonio was also in attendance so they could honor the Senator for ensuring the construction of our new federal courthouse. 

“I like a good fight and a good debate,” Cornyn said, discussing the need for both Republican and Democrats in the Senate to work together. 

“It’s a balancing act, isn’t it?,” Joe Pags asked. “I want you guys to go at it and I want you to have a great result because of that fight,” the radio host added.

“I believe in the adversarial process,” Cornyn declared. “But you can’t fight about everything. You have to pick your fights. I’m certainly happy to have a good fight!”

The Chamber was honored to have such a high-profile member of the Senate take time out of his busy schedule to talk to the business community. 

“The Senator has distinguished himself as a leader on a variety of issues that are important to San Antonio,” said Reneé Flores, the Chamber’s 2016 Chairman and Regional Vice President of External Legislation Affairs for AT&T. “He has earned a reputation as an articulate voice for Texas values in Washington,” she added. 

You cannot have a sit-down discussion with a U.S. Senator with a radio host like Pags and not expect a few hard-hitting questions. The host pressed the Senator about issues like reform in the V.A. health system to which Cornyn expressed interest in improving the treatment of veterans after their tour of duty ends. 

One of the more loaded questions Pags lobbed in Cornyn’s way was about how Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s controversial comments on Mexicans and illegal immigration would affect San Antonio’s large Latino population along with whether Cornyn believed Trump could possibly secure any votes from this demographic.

“If people think you don’t like them or care for them, they’re not going to vote for you,” the Senator said. “That’s pretty fundamental.” Cornyn seemed to suggest that he did not think the many things Trump has suggested in terms of dealing with illegal immigration from our borders would actually come to fruition. 

To say that speaking to a U.S. Senator like this is a common thing here in San Antonio would be a lie. This is something we hope to continue with this Congressional series. Joe Pags thanked the Senator at the end of the luncheon, saying “This doesn’t happen an awful lot in many states. The fact that a Senator has taken the time to be as open as he has been with us, I really do appreciate it.”

We appreciated it too. That’s why our CEO & President Richard Perez and 2016 Chairman Renee Flores presented the Senator with a rare flag that flew over the Alamo during the Mexican-Texas war. 

“You are a fighter, you’re a person who understands how to persevere, so we say thank you for all the things you do for the state of Texas and specifically for us in San Antonio,” Perez told the Senator, who closed with a plea for all voters to not give up on finding common ground with those they may be at odds with.

“I think our country has become, politically, more polarized. It makes it hard to do what we were talking about earlier, about finding common ground to actually make progress,” Senator Cornyn proclaimed.

“We have two choices. We can either try or we can give up. I’m not for giving up.”

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