Ron Wright served as the chief of staff for former congressman Joe Barton for two years before resigning to accept an appointment as Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector in 2011. After being sworn into the seat formerly held by Barton on January 3, Wright said it felt great to be back in Washington D.C.
“I already knew where the coffee pot and the men’s room were,” Wright ribbed. “Those are two of the most important things to know as a congressman.”
A sixth-generation Tarrant County resident, Wright was elected to serve Texas' 6th Congressional District during the mid-term elections in November. He received 53.1 percent of the vote.
Wright previously served on the Arlington City Council as a member and Mayor Pro-Tem from 2000—08 and even wrote a weekly column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from 1995—2000.
Wright remarked that his penmanship and newspaper background has been particularly helpful when it comes to committee hearings.
“Typically, the committee staff will prepare questions that they’ll offer members to ask,” Wright stated. “I have yet to use one. I ask my own questions, and that’s worked really well so far.”
There is also one way to quickly identify Wright as he bounces around Capitol Hill: A snazzy bowtie.
As he sat inside a conference at the Daily Light wearing a brightly-colored bowtie, Wright stated that the first time he wore the accessory was in his daughter’s wedding eight years ago. He wouldn’t wear it again for almost a year. That changed after he and his wife discussed a television character who happened to be wearing a bowtie.
“My wife says ‘You know, you look good in a bow tie,’” he recalled. “The next day, I went and bought six bow ties. My wife likes it. Therefore, I wear it. I’ve worn them ever since.”
He has since expanded his personal touch to stylish socks, even donning a pair of George Washington stockings on President’s Day this past Monday. Wright stated that his kids got it for him as sort of a joke gift, but he’s taken a likening to them.
“They’ll occasionally give me wild socks that they think I’ll never wear – but I will,” Wright chuckled. “Then it embarrasses them because I wore them.”
Having previously worked on Capitol Hill and knowing what it was like behind the scenes, Wright stated his familiarity with Congress greatly aided his transition during the first days in office.
“One of the hardest things a freshman congressman has to learn is how to say ‘No’ to a meeting,” Wright stated. “How to focus on the important things of the day.
“I knew the pace was hectic and the maintenance of the schedule is a monumental task for everybody. My learning curve hasn’t been nearly what it is for most freshmen members, which allows me to concentrate on the things that I need to concentrate on.”
Initially, Wright was expecting to receive his committee assignments at the end of December or the first week of January and was eager to get started in representing the sixth district. Then the government shutdown unfolded.
The shutdown, which began due to a disagreement between President Donald Trump and house Democrats over funding for a barrier across the United States-Mexico Border, eventually became the longest-running shutdown in government history
“It was a political circus,” Wright stated of the 35-day closure. “They would throw up their bills to reopen the government – we’d all vote against it. We’d throw up all of our bills – they’d all vote against it. Anything they passed wasn’t going to go anywhere in the Senate. There has never been a freshman class that had to go through something like this. I’ve been there before. I kept telling my freshmen Republican colleagues ‘This is not normal. Don’t think this is normal - and there really is a normal for Congress. This ain’t it.’”
The government re-opened on Jan. 25 after Congress passed a three-week spending bill to continue funding negotiations. Wright was one of 177 Republicans that voted against the most recent bill last week because he believed it did not secure the border the way it needed to.
“There were so many restrictions in that bill,” Wright remarked. “Restricting materials, restricting cost, restricting where you could put it. For crying out loud, we don’t want to build a fence along a butterfly park? A fence that the butterflies could fly right through? But that’s how silly it got. It was just ridiculous, and it did not address the real issues of border security. It was not something that I could support.”
He doesn’t however, speak out against the bill’s passing itself, and even applauded the conferees who voted in favor of it.
“They were given an impossible task,” he remarked. “That was to create a bill that would pass both houses of Congress and that the president would sign. That’s a tall order, and they did it.”
When the government did finally reopen, Wright was excited to be named to the Committees on Education and Labor and Foreign Affairs.
“Those are some of the real meat-and-potatoes committees in the house,” Wright remarked. “Those are the issues that are going to affect the district the most.”
Going forward, Wright looks to focus on lowering the soaring costs of college, reinvesting in skilled labor and defending religious freedom.
Although he resides in Tarrant County, Wright stated that he wants to connect more with the needs of Ellis County and plans to open an office here sometime in the next few months.
“I want a district-focused time in Congress,” he remarked “I have no desire to climb the leadership ladder. I want to be the 6th district congressman that takes care of the 6th district. I’m looking forward to being Ellis County’s congressman.”
To contact Wright’s office in D.C., call 202-225-2002 or visit wright.house.gov.