The quaint, bedroom community of Famer’s Branch is home to Clay Russell, a retired Army officer who now dedicates much of his free time to state and local activism. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, he’s resided in Northwest Dallas County with his family for over twenty-one years.
Russell became more engaged in state politics after realizing that improving national policy trends would take decades to accomplish, even if more liberty-minded legislators were elected to the U.S. House, Senate and eventually, at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“I want this country to return to a robust, constitutional republic,” Russell stated. “When you become better educated about the policy priorities of many elected incumbents in both parties, you realize how far we’ve moved away from that…and we continue to head in the wrong direction….we can’t expect different results if we continue to elect the same people. That truly is insanity.”
Russell wants to change things from the bottom, up. He currently serves on the board of “Friends of the Branch,” a non-partisan group of residents who are working to engage neighbors on local government issues.
Russell reminisced, “I’ve always been somewhat political; I guess it’s just a hobby of mine.” In reality, it’s more than just a hobby—civic engagement is something to which he’s absolutely dedicated.
Since Russell was seven years old, he’s been around political campaigns. He says he understands the immeasurable impact that volunteers can have, especially at the state and local level. Sometimes that means replacing those who’ve volunteered to represent Texans, including those from the same political party. Russell was flabbergasted by the inaction of “conservatives” in Austin. He says it’s even worse at the local level, where citizen-engagement is particularly lacking.
Russell says big-government is a “bipartisan problem,” and not always one based on ideological differences. Far too many politicians are arrogant, and act entitled to the office they hold. They make promises on the campaign trail, but vote a different way, all the while hoping that no one is watching back home.
“I decided a long time ago that I couldn’t sit on the sidelines, waiting for liberty-loving people to emerge and elect themselves to office…I had to help make that happen,” Russell insisted. “I believe that good candidates need someone who will do the hard work of politics and engage the people door to door. I knocked on 4,000 doors last year…and I believe I played a small part in the success of several candidates, especially my new state rep., Matt Rinaldi who defeated the incumbent by a slim margin…Matt won by only ninety-two votes.”
Russell is active in several Tea Party organizations and the local Boy Scouts. He’s married with one son, who’s an Eagle Scout and a High School Junior at R.L. Turner, a school in Carrollton-Farmer’s Branch ISD. He hopes his story will inspire others to roll up their sleeves and get actively engaged helping to elect principled candidates in their local communities.