Continuing Jefferson’s Legacy

How Democrat Lizzie Fletcher Carries the Torch

Congressman John Culberson of Houston likes to fashion himself as a “Jeffersonian Republican”, one committed to states rights, personal liberties, and America’s future. But Culberson, who has variously accused scientists of falsifying climate data and supported conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s birth certificate, has always run counter to America’s most brilliant president in both rhetoric and action. “Action will delineate and define you,” Jefferson once wrote. And for Culbertson, at least, the good people of Texas’ 7th have weighed and measured him and have found him lacking.

Perhaps that’s why voters have been flocking to Culbertson’s Democratic challenger, Lizzie Fletcher. In fact, Fletcher in many ways is the intellectual heir apparent to Jefferson. A high-profile lawyer who received a fellowship to study law at William & Mary, Jefferson’s alma mater, Fletcher has since made her mark in several fields and issues. Fletcher has been involved with Planned Parenthood, she’s helped Appleseed Texas dismantle the School-To-Prison pipeline; she’s served on the board of Writers in Schools and the Open Dance Project. From policy to law to art, Fletcher has demonstrated not only the appetite but aptitude for a tackling a diverse set of issues and fields.

And this is exactly what Fletcher intends to do in Congress. Fletcher has a host of common-sense political stances that differentiate her from Culberson. She wants to strengthen, not weaken, the Affordable Care Act — ensuring that insurance markets are stable and that people with pre-existing conditions can’t be turned away. She wants to expand transportation options in Houston, which is growing more crowded by the day, and she wants to foster innovation and growth in the district, attracting high-end researchers and cutting-edge technology.

While all of this might sound ambitious, voters clearly think it’s achievable. Culberson’s once safe seat, and his lead, have been chipped away, with Real Clear Politics predicting that the race could go either way. If Fletcher can pull ahead, then maybe a candidate with the same poise, clarity, and vision of Thomas Jefferson will finally sit in Capitol Hill.