Born into a politically active family, Michael Openshaw has always been very involved in the political arena – and he has no plans on slowing down, either.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Openshaw has been living in Plano, TX with his wife, Catherine for the past 18 years – and he’s been active the entire time. Not many people can say they got their start at 8 years old – but Openshaw did.
“I did my first work for the conservative cause back in 1962 at the age of 8 helping at the Goldwater booth at the Kansas State Fair,” Openshaw says – and it’s been pretty consistent since in some form or another. He helped out on Reagan’s ’76 and ’80 election campaigns, and was elected chairman of the Denton County GOP in 1982. Later on, he helped co-found the North Texas Tea Party in Collin County – a very robust grassroots organization today.
Unlike so many of the toxic personalities plaguing politics today, Openshaw isn’t concerned with making friends in the right places so much as he is concerned with simply doing the right thing.
“I feel pretty free to tell it like it is, since I gave up on any personal political ambition decades ago,” he says. “I keep an issue-based focus and will call out anyone I think is wrong and support anyone I think is right on a given issue. They will tell you I grade hard and not in this to be ‘friends’ with any of these elected officials. I prefer trying to be their ‘hall monitor!’”
His drive to fight for what’s right isn’t just limited to politics – he’s been traveling to Uganda to do charity work for the past 14 years. Clearly, he has spent a lot of his spare time standing up for what he believes is right and empowering the little guy – and it’s that same noble ambition that drives his political passions, unlike so many in Austin. Openshaw is well known for patiently sitting through long House and Senate committee hearings so he can publicly testify on specific bills.
“The average citizen is MASSIVELY outnumbered in Austin by the professional political class, few of which have the interest of Joe Blow at heart,” he says.
A stacked deck and sense of futility are a familiar feeling to conservatives, which Openshaw knows all too well. “I actually am pretty sick of politics after this long. Unfortunately, I have some useful skills in it,” he says. “At the end of a session like this one, I feel dirtier than the time I helped dig out a broken sewer line in African heat. But keeping the people back home informed and educated on the details, plus the modest victories we get in Austin, make it all worthwhile.”
Fortunately, he has no plans to stop. Quite the contrary, actually.
“I’ll probably be retired by the start of the 86th Texas Legislative session, so I can be down there pretty much full time,” he says. “God help them all when that happens.”