There’s an old saying that a lie can be halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on, and the events of the past week underscore the truth of that old adage.
During the course of my campaign for the State Senate I have been candid and forthcoming regarding questions concerning my eligibility. I have sat down with reporters many times and answered their questions. Still, false allegations have appeared in print and must be addressed.
In 2004, I retired from the military because I could not perform my duties following my injuries sustained in service to the country in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. However, because of these injuries, I had to stay in Virginia so doctors could complete 39 surgeries and rebuild my body.
In the 2006 election, my wife Mel and I were temporarily absent from Texas because of these treatments. As a military family, we considered it our civic duty to vote regardless of the fact that we were in Virginia. I voted in the 2006 election in Virginia because it was my civic and moral obligation to do so. But Texas law is clear: that action does not negate my residency.
I’m a fourth generation Texan with a long history of voting in Texas throughout my two decades of military service. I have owned real property in Texas for over 20 years and purchased property in the district in 2005. In 2003, Mel and I chartered our non-profit ministry here in Texas. I have had all my primary personal bank accounts in Texas for over 20 years.
All this makes clear that my intent all along has been to keep Texas as my home – which is what the law requires of residents. In fact, on April 26, Judge William Brigham, a retired Justice from the Ft. Worth Court of Appeals, declared that I was indeed a 37-year Texas resident.
As an adult the only time I have lived out of the state was when I was serving my country or when receiving medical treatment for wounds received while serving my country.
The most offensive charge made is that I voted twice in the November 2004 presidential election. It is patently absurd that I would cast two votes in the same election, and it is patently false. I believe a clerical error was made, and anyone who has dealt with mistakes in their credit history or medical records knows that systems involving humans has the potential for error.
My full name is Brian Douglas Birdwell, and my brother’s name, which appeared right after mine on the voter roll in Tarrant County, is Douglas Todd Birdwell. On November 2, 2004, my younger brother voted in Texas yet he was not recorded as having done so. I am incorrectly recorded as voting, when I did not.
Let’s be honest about what’s going on here. By running as an outsider, I beat the establishment. Now, liberal Democrats are working overtime to create a media frenzy and overturn a decision that has been made by the voters.
I’ve faced much bigger challenges than this and I am pushing forward. The people of SD 22 elected me to be their state senator, and with their prayers and continued support I’m going to honor that committment to the best of my ability.
State Sen. Brian Birdwell was elected by 58% of the voters in a June election to fill an unexpired term in Senate District 22. Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility endorsed him, and are supporting him in the November general election. This commentary has also appeared in the Waco Tribune Herald.