Recently, I sat with Congressman Michael Cloud and asked a lot of questions about his life in general. I don’t know many people who have held office and, frankly, wondered what motivates them to go into such a goofy profession.
On the news, we get bombarded with the “crazies” like AOC, Waters, Pocohontas and Bernie. Michael seems so, dare I say it, “normal.”
He was born in Baton Rouge, La., and has two younger sisters. Michael is the first of his family to go into politics with the exception of a Constable Cloud in the 1700s. I was curious of when he started his love of politics and found out he always had a great love of history and the government. He remembers with fondness a children’s pastor who dressed up like Uncle Sam.
Michael’s father attended LSU and became an electrical engineer, while his mom was mainly a stay-at-home mom. Michael graduated from Oral Roberts University with a degree in mass media communications with his first job in that field at Faith Family Church in Victoria.
It was in Victoria that Michael ventured into politics by going to a Republican precinct convention, being put on a delegate list and starting a Young Republicans Club. He became party chairman in 2010.
Vesta Williams was the first of many mentors in the area of politics. Often during the conversation, Michael speaks of Christianity and how it guided him in so many decisions in his life.
He met his wife, Rosel, when he was 17 and she was 15. She came with her church group from Monterey, Mexico, stopped at Michael’s church and in three days he was smitten. That began a seven-year, long-distance romance having met Aug. 7, 1992 and married Aug. 7, 1999.
It strikes me as a real plus that Rosel and Michael know firsthand the visa process and the time it takes to come across the border legally. He has great empathy for Mexican immigrants and great knowledge of the rule of law and its importance.
His senior year at Oral Roberts University, Michael prayed for guidance believing that God wanted him to go to Texas. That year, a large map of Texas occupied his room. It kind of makes me wish I would have put Tom Selleck’s photo up in my room, who knows what might have happened.
I kept hoping there was some defining moment when he knew that he should run for political office, but he said something odd. It was never about politics but about his love for government and history and a mission statement between Rosel and himself to “Help people help people.”
While working at Faith Family Church, he became a young adult pastor and worked at making a difference in people’s lives. He even met his future district manager Mark Longoria there. They were great friends and were in each other’s weddings. I think Mark caught the wedding bouquet. Only kidding.
I was curious as to how you arrive at the decision to run for political office when you own a media consulting company. I remember Bill Pozzi, my husband, came from a Seal Team and said God wanted him to teach kids, and I thought an alien must have inhabited his body.
He and Rosel prayed about it. Michael said he never had a long-term game plan but in each season, prayed and reevaluated. Rosel said, “Oddly enough, I have peace about it.” I think that line says a lot. Secondly, they felt that it was something he was supposed to do and had no choice. Let that sink in, too.
He quoted Joshua 1:9 in which God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous twice. Finally, God says “Haven’t I commanded you to be strong and courageous.” In other words, this is not a suggestion by God but a command.
I need to learn from this, I try to negotiate with God when he wants me to do hard things. It is 2019, so I think God should just send a text.
Seriously, I think Michael is the real deal. He believes that Christ went to the cross, our military serve and he feels it is his responsibility to serve our country. Frankly, I would rather burn my hair than do any of the above three. My responsibility seems to be entertaining, shopping, fundraising and acting goofy with grandkids. We all have our calling, folks.
Rosel and Michael have three kids – Ean, Zoe and Kent. I asked Michael how they talked to the kids about it. He told them, “You cannot tell anyone about it, and eventually, you can tell everyone. What do you think?” Ean jumped up and said, “State or federal?” What 10-year-old thinks like that?
They were surprised that the kids had tons of questions. Rosel and Mike wanted it to be a family calling and to convey that they had an opportunity to be a light in the world.
Of course, my line of questioning was, what about the ugly part of politics (which seems to be the biggest part)? They prayed and talked and knew they would be scrutinized, knew there would be good moments and the biggest thought was that so many seem to start out with good intentions and get ground up. This was sobering to face.
When I asked what he wanted his legacy to be, he said he is not interested that people will remember him, he knows that most people forget who was in office. He wants to fulfill his purpose and his job.
Michael cares about whether his kids will respect him when he’s 80 and most of all whether when he stands before God that he will hear “well done.”
I’m betting on the good guy.