Interview with State Representative Barbara Nash, member of Hispanic Republican Conference (VIDEO)

The following interview with Texas Representative Barbara Nash is one of a series of interviews conducted by VOCES Action and TexasGOPVote with members of the Hispanic Republican Conference in the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature. Ms. Nash is a freshman in the Texas State House of Representatives, representing House District 93 which is in Tarrant County and includes parts of the cities of Arlington, Mansfield and Grand Prairie.   We are very glad she was elected into this office.

One issue that Representative Nash told me is that she is fighting for HB359, "relating to the corporal punishment of public schools" and she is very concerned about this issue. Addressing this issue has always been a passion of hers as she started having children in school in the 70s, she always said "dont hit my children"  and she realized that those schools actually have a right to hit your children despite what the parents say since it is not in the law that they cannot hit your children.

Rep. Nash also spoke about the Hispanics in Texas and their conservative values.  She mentioned that I invited her to be part of the Hispanic Republican Conference in the Texas House of Representatives and that she was pleased to join!  The Hispanic Republican Conference has been growing. Originally it was formed by the House’s five Hispanic Republicans but has since been joined by other State Representatives whose districts have at least 30% Hispanic constituents. The Hispanic Republican Conference will be addressing some issues that have been controversial in parts of the state with large Hispanic populations.

Hispanics make up 36% of the Texas population and this percentage is growing. Hispanics share Republican conservative values of fiscal responsibility, faith, hard work, family values, and are pro-life. VOCES Action has been educating and empowering Americans with Hispanic backgrounds, and who hold conservative values, to make more responsible and informed voting decisions.


Adryana Boyne: Good morning, we are here on behalf of Voces Action and TexasGOPVote interviewing State Representative Barbara Nash.  Good morning, Mrs. Nash.

Barbara Nash: Good morning, glad to be here.

Adryana Boyne: ...and Im so glad you are here with us this morning, even though you are so busy with the session.  Mrs. Nash, I would like to know if you could tell us about your background and how you got involved in politics?

Barbara Nash: Well its how I would recommend anyone to get involved in politics... I was involved in PTA, and all of my children and their sports, and then I decided to run for school board, and just involvement in the community, and then I was elected to the city council after that, and there was an opportunity for me to run for State Rep and I decided to do it.

Adryana Boyne: And you won...

Barbara Nash: And I won!

Adryana Boyne: Thats great, well tell us about the people in your district, what are the issues they are concerned about?

Barbara Nash: Well I think, balancing the budget... coming in the things they were asking for were a little different than after we got here, I think.  They began to get concerned about who the speaker was, and things that, really we just needed to get on with and work with, and, I think, the schools and educating all of our children is something they are really concerned about right now.

Adryana Boyne: Well, as a Hispanic myself and through my work with Voces Action and meeting with thousands of Hispanics, I know that Hispanics in Texas really have conservative values.  Can you share with me the ways that you have observed this among Americans of Hispanic background in your district?

Barbara Nash: Well in my district Ive worked a lot with Gloria Peña who is now the school board president, and the first day I met her, she came and visited with me about the school board and I said "you would be a perfect candidate for the school board" and she ran two or three times before she was elected.  First of all, its harder to get a woman elected, I was only the fourth woman ever elected to the school board, and even more difficult to get a Hispanic elected, so I worked with her and worked with her and when she was sworn in she had my son, whos a judge in Tarrant County, swear her in... and so I go to a lot of Hispanic events with her, and we just really have a good time together and shes just doing a wonderful job.

Adryana Boyne: And certainly now I know that you are a brand new member of the Hispanic Republican Conference here in the House of Representatives.  How or why did you choose to be part of the Hispanic Republican Conference?

Barbara Nash: Well I had met you several times and then you mentioned to me that since I had quite a few Hispanics in my area, in my district, that I should join.  I was thrilled because I had not even thought about joining or that you all would want me, and well, I was honored that you would talk to me about...

Adryana Boyne: ...because your district qualified, you have over 30% of Hispanics in your district, right?

Barbara Nash: I do have, I do have, and very supportive and very conservative, and I dont think people realize how conservative the Hispanic population is; and theyve always embraced me and helped me in my elections.

Adryana Boyne: And we have the same values, and certainly not to be divisive about using the hyphen name, about Hispanic-Americans all the time, the truth is we are all Americans but at the same time, it is important that the people see that the Republican Party embrace the Hispanics because we have the same values and it is not that Hispanics are all Democrats because thats not the truth...

Barbara Nash: Thats what people would like you to believe, but if you get to know the people partially you get to realize that their values are similar to yours, and thats what were really all about is the core values.

Adryana Boyne: Yes, well Barbara, one of the things that I did learn about you and I admire you a lot, is about you fighting for HB359.  Can you explain to us HB359, "relating to the corporal punishment of public schools" and why you are very concerned about this issue?

Barbara Nash: This issue has always been a passion with me and I started having children in school in the 70s, and always said "dont hit my children" you know, but they actually have a right to hit your children whether they tell you or not.  It is not in the law that they cannot hit your children with a board, so when I was elected to the school board, I had written to the school board for years and said "please, abolish corporal punishment in Arlington," and they just believed it was a good use, to hit children with boards, from first grade on... and I was elected on a Saturday and I met with the school board president on Monday and he said "I guess we dont have corporal punishment in Arlington anymore" and I said "yes" and so we just took it out of our books on discipline.  So I sat down next to Alma Allen and she said "what are your values?" and you know I kind of said things like lower taxes and the things we said in the election, and she said "no really..." and I said "I wish I could abolish corporal punishment in Texas".  She went "oh no, Ive been trying to get that out for years" and I said "we can do it."  I knew with us working the non-partisan issue, both of us working the non-partisan issue, shes a Democrat and me as a Republican, we could do it.  Its actually on the calendar for today.

Adryana Boyne: Great...

Barbara Nash: Its been on the calendar for two or three days but weve been, the calendars been stalled, so hopefully we will be able to look at it today.

Adryana Boyne: And that is one of the issues that people like you can educate their constituents on, not only in your district but all the citizens, because, you dont hear much talking about these issues because of some regular issues that we are all the time covering in the news, but this one deserves attention because it affects not only the children, it affects families, it affects schools, and even the future of a person, a young kid just by receiving that corporal punishment can affect him for the rest of his or her life...

Barbara Nash: Absolutely.  A parent should have the... this bill only says that a parent has a right to opt in or opt out of having their child hit with a board... and I, its hard for me to believe that people I have talked to who say "oh its ok to hit him with a board..." it isnt ok, and I hope well pass that today.

Adryana Boyne: Is there any other issue that you are right now concerned, or in one of the committees that you are involved, that you would like to add, to inform us about what you are doing this session?

Barbara Nash: I think the thing that has shocked me about this session is that people are not acting as mature as they should be, and I dont think having fits on the floor... and, Im surprised at them, because no where that I have ever been elected before did we not treat each other with respect, and listen to both sides of the story... so I think thats important.  Thats concerned me.  Whatever comes up to voted on should be handled in an adult manner.

Adryana Boyne: Well Mrs. Nash, thank you not only for serving the people of your district, but certainly for serving the people of Texas.  Thank you very much.

Barbara Nash: My pleasure. Thank you, I enjoyed it.


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