As the U.S. Representative of 700,000 Northeast Texans, it’s my duty to stay constantly engaged with the folks back home to ensure I’m truly representing their will in Congress. Over the past few weeks, I’ve hosted a series of open houses spread throughout the 18 counties in Texas’ 4th District, which gave me the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with hundreds of constituents. Along the way, I made stops in many cities, including Rockwall, to meet with parents, teachers, students, veterans, law enforcement officers, community leaders and small business leaders from all corners of Northeast Texas. In these visits, I was able to give an update on my efforts in Washington, but more importantly, I focused on listening to the issues that are having the biggest impact on people’s lives.

I’m always inspired by the high level of civic engagement my constituents possess, and their rightful frustration with government underscores just how critical this juncture is for our country. The people of Northeast Texas are fed up with a government that allows the president to think he can get away with granting amnesty to nearly five million illegal aliens, and allows unelected bureaucrats at the EPA to think they can get away with driving up energy costs while trying to regulate the puddles in people’s backyards. They are fed up with an administration more concerned about promoting a transgender bathroom agenda than defeating radical Islamist extremism. After eight years of putting up with the administration’s constant disregard for the boundaries set forth in the Constitution, people are saying enough is enough.

I couldn’t agree more.

 “Of the people, by the people, for the people” – these words are not suggestions. They’re indicative of the basic yet transformative principle that in America, the government works for the people, not the other way around. When our founders laid out their vision for our country, they strategically set up an intricate system of checks and balances to ensure our government is representing the American people.

Unfortunately, we’ve steadily seen this foundational concept eroded as the power of the administrative state has ballooned out of control. Rather than doing the people’s work, the administration is barreling forth with its own agenda, ignoring Americans’ priorities. As a result, constitutional conservatives like me have spent countless hours combatting ongoing abuse of power. But there has to be a better way. Instead continuing to play defense, I’ve led the charge with my fellow Republicans to propose a plan that will prevent future acts of overreach from ever happening in the first place – a plan that puts the will of the American people back in charge.

I’m pleased to report that not too long ago, a significant stride was made in this effort when the House passed my bill, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016 (H.R. 4768). This measure was hailed as a landmark step forward in the overall effort restore three co-equal branches of government as intended by our Framers. It will help ensure that regulators can’t play fast and loose with their interpretations of the law and ignore the will of Congress. 

But I’ll be the first to tell you that this is just one step in the process of returning our government to the model our Founding Fathers intended. I’m committed to doing everything in my power to continue this incredibly important work, and the countless conversations I had with constituents over the last month in places like Rockwall reinforce just how important this mission is for our district and country. On my constituents’ behalf, and for the sake of our nation’s future, I’m devoted to remaining steadfast in this important fight.


John D. Ratcliffe is congressman of House District 4.

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