Vanessa Hicks-Callaway, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel with 26 years of service, wants to bring unity to the people of Texas House District 30.
“I see myself as nothing great, just a humble servant,” she said Tuesday. “But I do see myself as transformational, someone who can unify this district without sacrificing my values, in a time when it’s needed.”
Hicks-Callaway, 52, has filed to run for the Republican Party nomination to represent District 30 in the state legislature in the 2020 election. The district includes Victoria, Aransas, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad and Refugio counties.
Hicks-Callaway said it is both her solid spiritual basis and encouragement from well-respected peers that led to her decision to run for office. As a spiritual person, Hicks-Callaway said when she thinks of the reasons she is running, she first looks to a verse in Isaiah, one of the books of the Bible.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’” Isaiah 6:8 reads. “And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
“And I feel like there’s a question out there, of ‘Who will go and fight for these people in our district?’” Hicks-Callaway said. “And it’s me, I’m saying ‘Send me.’”
Hicks-Callaway will oppose longtime incumbent State Rep. Geanie Morrison, who entered the office in 1999.
“I have great respect for Geanie,” Hicks-Callaway said. “I think that it’s time for candidates like myself to get off the bench and give some of these leaders a break. I would not step up if I didn’t think I was one of the best individuals to carry that baton moving on.
“(Morrison) brought us to a great level, and it’s time for servant leaders like myself to take over the baton and bring us to the next great level,” she continued.
Morrison has announced her intent to seek reelection to the position. She said in a statement Tuesday she is proud of the way the community came together to help each other recover after Hurricane Harvey and proud of having led the effort in the Texas House to secure $2 billion for Harvey relief and passing a package of bills to better prepare Texas for future disasters.
“I have had the honor and privilege to represent District 30 in the Texas House of Representatives, and I am excited to share our conservative accomplishments with voters across the district,” she said.
Among her personal values and beliefs, Hicks-Callaway said she believes in freedom and the opportunity for Americans to practice their faith in any way they see fit, as long as it does not disrespect someone else. She said she is “pro-God, pro-Christianity, pro-Second Amendment and pro-life.”
As a mother of two sons, Hicks-Callaway said she cares about education. She said she believes education in the state of Texas needs to be of the highest caliber possible, and she plans to be a good steward of taxpayers’ dollars and “make sure kids are receiving the best education possible.”
One of her other reasons for running, she said, is very clear.
“I love my country,” she said. “There’s no doubt about it. My love for this country is something I can’t really put into words.”
Hicks-Callaway retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army after 26 years of service as a U.S. Army supply sergeant, a U.S. Army Reserve military police officer, and finally a U.S. Army military intelligence officer, with two combat tours in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
She said every decision she makes as a representative will be made with her heart for serving the country in mind.
Additionally, Hicks-Callaway said she created requirements for herself to ensure she is qualified to run. With her background in political science and military science, she said she feels prepared educationally for office. Next, she said she meets the requirement of being connected and involved in the district.
“I’m from the district, I live in this district, I buy my groceries in this district,” she said. “I feel that you have to live and work and play and pay your taxes in this district to serve it.”
Further, she said she has demonstrated experience in legislative issues, having worked for the 27th Congressional District, as well as experience and commitment to her party, with years of commitment to the Victoria County Republican Party.
Hicks-Callaway said she sees herself as someone who can speak to everyone, regardless of political party or any other affiliation. She said as the end of 2019 approaches, she hopes people recognize the importance of leadership and her qualifications for the role.
“We not only stand on the cusp of a new year, but a new decade,” she said. “2020 marks a new decade where we need new leadership that is confident and able to set conditions not only for the next term but the next decade, and I am ready to be that leader.”