Gene Barber, one of 10 candidates vying for the Republican primary nomination for West Texas’ 11th Congressional District, has a few policy positions he hopes will set him apart from the rest of the contenders.

The 51-year-old is a native of the Colorado City area. He and his wife, Mary, have three grown children and five grandchildren. Barber served in the U.S. Army from 2003 to 2005 and sustained severe injuries during training exercises that resulted in a medical discharge.

“A man has got to know his own limitations,” he said, speaking to his injuries. Barber, now a disabled veteran, says he is currently writing a fantasy novel and is a fan of author J.R.R. Tolkien.

Barber was inspired to run for office by the 2008 auto and financial industry bailouts; he thought incumbent Congressman Mike Conaway should not have voted to support the massive government handouts.

“I absolutely disagreed with that, and I told my wife I would aim for 2020 and run for Congress then,” Barber said.

If elected, some of Barber’s policy plans would be to explore tax reform ideas for disabled veterans. He says disabled veterans should be exempt from paying income taxes on a percentage that corresponds to the degree of disability sustained from their service to the nation.

“If you’re 100 percent disabled, you’ve cashed that check and shouldn’t have to pay any more,” Barber said.

In addition to medical and tax reform for veterans, Barber advocates for the total legalization of marijuana, saying he doesn’t believe marijuana is a gateway drug.

“I understand the issue of drug addiction, but I believe you have the right to decide to destroy your body as you see fit,” he said.

Barber supports securing the border with a real wall to address the violence from the drug cartels and human trafficking. He also says he wants to see more immigration judges and border patrol agents hired.

A Second Amendment supporter, Barber described his legal philosophy as one of a constitutional originalist, adding that he would like to join the House Freedom Caucus if elected.

Barber’s closing message to voters:

“What you’re going to have to ask yourself is: what kind of person do you want to send to Washington? I know all the candidates, and they are nice, but you don’t need to send someone up there who is going to grow a [RINO] horn. Some of these guys will go to Washington and cave to the establishment. They will be ineffective as your representative.”

Election Day is March 3.

Matt Stringer

Matthew Stringer is from Odessa, TX and serves as a West Texas Correspondent for Texas Scorecard.