The US-TX First District has one of the state's highest rates of unemployment.
Shirley has worked consistently to create jobs and to enable people to get vocational training for available jobs. She problem-solves to remove obstacles preventing people from becoming or staying gainfully employed. As an R.N. she knew that there were jobs in the medical profession which were unfilled. She also knew there were jobs in the community working shift work or weekends. She heard the frustration of parents who needed work but did not have safe, appropriate child care for evening or weekends. Through her non-profit organization, she partnered with others to establish a 24/7 childcare center.
This fall she is launching a medical transcription school in Tyler to train people to fill some of those unfilled medical slots. These are things which she has accomplished as a private citizen. It frustrates her to see the Congressman from East Texas "grandstand for soundbites" and "neglect tackling issues which are truly life and death for East Texas families." She is determined to change things for the better. She knows that she can do more for people as a member of Congress than as a private citizen.
Running for Congress has almost become a way of life in the McKellar household. Most candidates set-aside other community service and focus only on campaigning. McKellar campaigns while serving. She doesn't stop doing whatever she can to make things better. She doesn't stop meeting people and hearing their stories and viewpoints. She doesn't stop building and fine-tuning her campaign organization. She works the phone and internet as her driver shuttles her from one city to another, between places where she volunteers and serves on boards to campaign events and team meetings.
EDUCATION REALLY MATTERS
Dr. McKellar leads a group from East Texas in Selma.
Education is a way of life in the McKellar household. All children matter. Realizing that "education had to start earlier than the first grade and that much of the human brain is formed by age 3," Dr. McKellar and her friend, Dr. Sally Sanders, RN, MSN, started an early childhood education school serving ages 6 Weeks-Kindergarten. They also launched an after school mentor-mentee program and provided care for children until midnight for the children of parents whose jobs required "shift work". It evolved into a different non-profit which employs social workers who provides service to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in 12 counties.
McKellar's husband, Bro. Danny C. McKellar, is an educator who retired from the Dallas Independent School Systems, and now serves on the pastoral staff of a church in Tyler as Minister of Christian Education. Juggling children, community, military service, church, and education was a constant in their household. Somehow they pulled it off and frequently amazed people with how effortlessly it appears from the outside. From the inside, there is teamwork and mutual affirmation. She is about building, nurturing, healing, leading. Both of their children are grown; now they have five grandchildren.
She leads a multi-ethnic rainbow coalition and resonates with people of all ages. She has friends and associates that stretch back to her public school days in Tyler or University or years while she was serving in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Some related to her because she shares their ethnicity and understands their history. Other gravitate to her because she is "delightful, intelligent, accomplished, human and caring." Her staff have variations in skin color but share her determination to make things better for everybody. Instead of talking about what needs to be done, she attracts people who do what they can wherever they are to make things better while evaluating what needs to be done next.
She doesn't want to just end the discrimination that shoved people to the back of the bus, she wants to help people overcome there not being a "bus to get on." It is important to understand who we are and where we come from in order to find our way to a better tomorrow. It won't be done with hatred and name calling. It must be forged with respect and hard work. Earlier this year, she took a bus load of folks from East Texas to walk across the Selma Bridge. It would probably have been easier for her to just go with a friend or two or by herself. But is not who and what she is. It was wonderful for her to be able to share the experience with many who probably would have been unable to go if she had not "instigate it."
CONTRAST BETWEEN MCKELLAR AND LOUIE GOHMERT
Instead of working to bring jobs to East Texas, the Republican Incumbent Louie Gohmert's positions frequently make it more difficult for employers to keep people working. For over two years he fought to close down the Export Import Bank. He called it "Corporate Welfare" even though not one cent of taxpayer money was required for its operation. In fact, the fees and interest charged foreign borrowers who utilized the bank's services to finance their purchases of goods and services produced by American businesses employing American workers generated a profit which was transferred to the U.S. Treasury. In 2014 over $674Bil went into the U.S. Treasury after all expenses were paid by the Export Import Bank. It made no sense for Gohmert and others (who frequently voted for tax breaks and subsidies for their pet industries) to target the Export Import Bank. Yet they did.
One of the last acts on June 30th, before Congress adjourned for their break, was Gohmert, Jeb Hensarling, and others succeeding in blocking the renewal of the 81-year old Export Import Bank's charter. There action is one which is causing American businesses to lose contracts to foreign competitors. It is an act which, in the short-term, is costing the U.S. Treasury the millions of dollars a year in profits the bank earns on interest and fees and, if not rectified, will cost the American economy in the long-term. The immediate consequence was loss of several large contracts by American based manufacturers. Without these contracts, corporations are announcing lay-offs. Loss of one satellite contract is prompting Boeing to announce the cut of 3,300 American workers by December 2015. There are reports of similar job cuts in almost every state in the nation. Why? Because some members of Congress decided to end our nation's bank of last resort for exports.
This makes no sense to Shirley McKellar. She views it as "an unnecessary and illogical move. Instead of focusing on solving real problems and working to keep American jobs here, and working to create new jobs, Congressman Gohmert's position in the Export Import Bank is causing American manufacturers to have to turn to foreign governmental banks to finance their exports." These governments are requiring that their citizens are employed instead of American workers. Without jobs, people do not earn. Without earnings, people are not taxed. Without taxes, the government has greater deficits. It makes no sense to many people and it certainly makes no sense to this problem-solving, logical, intelligent, obstacle attacking former U.S.Army Nurse and Officer.
CONTROVERSY NOT NEW TO GOHMERT
Gohmert's time on the bench as a judge had been filled with controversy. Once he even overstepped his authority and ordered a couple to marry within 24 hours under duress. He promised to commute the man's sentence only if he married his girlfriend. McKellar saw a pattern of failing to follow the Constitution and failing to focus on solving the real problems facing people in East Texas from Congressman Gohmert.
2016 will be the third time she has challenged Louie Gohmert for the US-TX 1 seat in Congress. The first time, was a learning experience. The second time she was able to build a campaign organization. This time she is strengthening her organization and reinforcing her network.
She also is host or co-host of three radio shows per week. She recruits volunteers locally and nationally. Working from a virtual office in Kentucky, co-host Rhena Piegols is a key part of McKellar's campaign staff. Traveling with her to many of her campaign events, Ellis County resident First Sargent (ret). Eddings is a familiar sight. They met in Brooks Medical Hospital, both injured soldiers who were helping others.
Her schedule is tight. Between campaign events, she always sandwiches in service at the V.A. Hospital in Dallas. It is not unusual for her to drive from Tyler on Tuesday morning, serve at the V.A. Hospital in Dallas until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, make a meeting or two that afternoon, drive to East Texas and speak at a Club or Democratic or Community gathering in Tyler, Longview, Marshall, Carthage, Nacogdoches or Lufkin and return to Dallas on Wednesday to serve again at the V.A. Her newly redesigned campaign logo reflect the many hats and roles this multi-faceted human being brings to everything she does. She is the great great granddaughter of one of East Texas' noted rose growers. She described growing up on "500 acres of roses and cabbage" in an interview with Joan Hallmark of Channel 7-Tyler. Her family has been farmers in business in Smith County for over 5 generations. Several generations of her family owned and operated Mitchell Erwin Roses of East Texas, which was a major supplier for roses for Tyler's Rose parade. She says: "I learned from watching them. They started businesses and ran businesses and employed the family and other people."
She has a strong network of supporters in East Texas and a network that spans across the United States. From former military associates, to educators and medical associates, to leaders in numerous groups and associations, and listeners on her radio programs which are broadcast in the Tyler/ET market, and across then nation on Blog Talk USA, she engages people. As people grow to know her, her supporter base grows. She is an individual who does not accept what is "hard" as being "impossible." She sees working for improving things as a calling and refuses to be deterred. Every time Congressman Gohmert distorts the facts or lies to the media or the people of East Texas, it strengthens her resolve and energizes her to continue communicating with people, to continue doing what she can whenever she can to improve things, to continue treating people respectfully and fairly.
In July 2015 Gohmert addressed the Lions Club in Carthage and stated that "President Obama lied when he said no money would be transferred from Medicare to fund Obamacare." Gohmert continued, saying: "Over $70 Billion dollars over ten years was transferred from Medicare to pay for Obamacare." McKellar shook her head when asked about Gohmert's statement. No money was transferred form Medicare or Social Security to fund the Affordable Care Act. Gohmert knows this. He is probably counting on retirees thinking that the rise in Social Security Supplement Insurance premiums in Texas is because "President Obama did something to cause it."
Dr. McKellar and others who have researched it know that Congressman Gohmert is misleading people. The rise in Social Security Premiums would be greater if the Affordable Care Act had not been enacted. It is based on the cost the insurance companies have to pay for medical services which are driven higher in proportion to the losses providers have to cover for service to uninsured patients. So where did Gohmert get the $70 Billion over ten years? It comes from an estimate of SAVINGS over ten years from improving the process which enables the government to detect Medicare Fraud. McKellar understand this, She knows her opponent. She knows health care. She understands the economic cause and effect of uninsured losses and the human costs of denial of access to medical care. She is appalled at the incumbent feeding the fear of senior citizens, his crass disregard for the truth, and his refusal to work to improve services which are lifelines for so many worthy Americans. She cannot change him. It merely makes her more determined to be better herself, to serve others, to respect our American process, to find solutions, and to Win so that she can do more for more people.
One difference between her 2016 Campaign and previous races is news coverage. She has continued building her coalition, strengthening her team, training and learning and teaching and sharing. Instead of contacting the media trying to get them to mention her, this year, the media contacts her. She has already been featured or included on more television interviews in the East Texas market this year than in her two previous campaigns combined. The January 2015 feature Joan Hallmark did on her for "Freedom Fighters" which aired on Channel 7 was excellent. When Gohmert said he'd retire from Congress if the Iran Agreement became a Treaty she was interviewed again by Channel 7.
"Skeptical. Of course I'm skeptical. He's just saying that to get news coverage." she said. "He doesn't intend to not run. I do agree with one thing he said. No one wants him in Washington anymore."
She was referring to Gohmert's alienation of the Speaker of the House and G.O.P. party establishment. He is no longer chair or member of any important committees. When you challenge the Speaker of the House and lose, you become less effective at getting the job done for the people in your district. Gohmert only got 3 votes when he ran for Speaker in 2015. He lost much more than he gained and with his decline, went opportunities to make substantive improvements for his district. His attempt to defund Homeland Security earlier this year led to the Republican American Action Network, the sister PAC of the Republican Congressional Leadershp Fund, spending $10K on digital advertising in his district. This was he first time that organization has advertised against one of their own party's incumbents.
The Longview News ran a story March 3, 2O15:
"After a week of legislative chaos over funding the Department of Homeland Security, a Republican group is taking aim at U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, in his East Texas district over his opposition to a DHS funding plan.
WOMEN IN CONGRESS:
American Action Network, which calls itself a "center-right" advocacy group, has bought $10,000 worth of digital advertising in the district in the hope of building support for a congressional bill that will fund the Department of Homeland Security.
"Global threats against our security are increasing … and some in Washington are playing political games with our national security," the ad says. "Tell Congressman Gohmert: Fund Homeland Security."...
AAN and its sister Super PAC, Congressional Leadership Fund, have unofficial ties with House GOP leadership. Former leadership staffers work for AAN and CLF, and House Speaker John Boehner participated in a CLF fundraiser in 2013, according to Politico.
Both organizations are capable of spending millions during campaign season. This is the first time either group used negative advertising against sitting members of the GOP."
Currently in the U.S. House and Senate combined, less than 20% of the members are women, yet women comprise over 51% of the nation's population. In Texas women are almost 52% of the population yet less than 8% of the 37 members of the states federal delegation to the U.S. House and Senate are female. A higher percentage of Democrats are women than in the larger Republican contingent to Congress. Shirley McKellar is one of only two Texas Democratic women who have files Statement of Intention to run for Congress in 2016 with the F.E.C. Tawana Cadien has declared her intention to challenge Mike McCaul again in 2016.
The Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC has extended an appeal for these two candidates. Donors can contribute directly to both campaigns and the Federal Multi-candidate PAC which was formed earlier this year to support non-incumbent progressive candidates challenging GOP/Tea Party Congressional incumbents for seat in Texas' currently red Congressional districts with one secure on-line credit or debit card or pay pal transaction. https://secure.actblue.com/...
The 2016 Campaign in East Texas will be interesting to watch. It is a rematch between the multi-term far right of center incumbent who has alienated the leadership of his own party and a highly decorated retired East Texas female soldier who considers getting fewer votes than her opponent on election day as "not as a defeat but as preparation for when I come back and win it."
Born: Tyler, Texas
Married: Danny C. McKellar
Parents of a son and a daughter and five grandchildren
Education: R.N., Nurse Clinician, PhD
Bachelors, Texas Women's University:
Nursing and Chemistry
Masters, University of Texas, with honors:
Community Health Nursing
Doctorate, Columbus College of Public Health and Administration:
Organizational Speech Communications
Community Minority Business Advancement
Nursing Management with Dissertation on "Spiritual in breast cancer patients" written at the UT Health Science Center, Tyler, TX
U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Major (ret.)Served 18 years active duty
Member or serves with
Deployed overseas for 18 months in support of, "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and "Operation Enduring Freedom," serving in combat zone medical units in Iraq and at the U.S. Military Hospital in Stuttgart, Germany.
Served as Major (rank 66 H-8A,MOS for the 94th Combat Support Hospital, Seagoville, TX.
Served as the Officer-in-Charge of Combat Life Saving School,
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
Consideration of Others
Served as Unit Sexual Harassment Team Officer
American Biographical Institute Research AssociatioAmerican Business Women's Association
National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer
National Black Nurses Association
The Intercultural Cancer Association
National Sisters Network, (cancer awareness for black women)
American Biographical Institute Research Association
American Business Women's Association
Texas Democratic Women
North Tenneha Church of Christ
Numerous Veterans organizations
Radio Talk Show Host:
Radio KGLD 13.30 AM
at Thursday noon , "A View From The Top,"
covering local and national topics
"Marvelous Monday's with Dr. Shirley J. McKellar"
on Blog Talk USA
, Monday from 8 to 10 pm CST
RGLO Baltimore, MD
, co-host "Wellness Wednesdays with Donny Walker"
, 8 a.m. CST
Three ways to donate to her campaign:
From her website: http://votemckellar.com/
To contribute to the two women (McKellar and Caiden) running in Texas and to the Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC (which supports them and other progressive challengers running against incumbent Republicans for Congressional Seats in Texas with one click: https://secure.actblue.com/....
or to contribute to the two former officers (McKellar and Cozad) running for Congress in Texas and to the Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC with one click:
(Note: the part that is given to the candidates using this form does not count against the $5000 per candidate cap per election the PAC can give to them).