Jodey Arrington won’t take office until next January, but as an unopposed candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from the Texas 19th District, folks have already begun calling him “Congressman.”
“I want to make a difference,” he said at an American Cotton Producers/Cotton Foundation joint meeting at Lubbock. In brief remarks before the conference dinner, he said he’s spent a lot of time during the campaign and since winning the nomination with “folks in the farm community.” And in West Texas, that means getting to know people in the cotton industry.
“We have to get cotton back into the farm bill,” Arrington says. “Whatever it takes to make cotton strong and viable in West Texas, we will do, working together, hand-in-hand.”
He says he will seek appointment to the House Agriculture Committee, replacing his predecessor, Rep. Randy Neugebauer, who is retiring after this term, and that he will work with House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, who represents nearby District 11.
“(Chairman Conaway) is in a position to get it done,” Arrington says. “I want to carry his water, help him anyway I can. I’m working to be on the Ag Committee. I need to be in a position of influence.”
He aspires to be chairman of that committee at some point. “There is too much at stake,” he says. “I want to be in a position where I can lead, not just support. Rural America can’t afford just to have a vote — we have to have leaders. It’s about agriculture; it’s about West Texas; it’s about U.S. farmers and putting them on a level playing field.”
Arrington doesn’t come from a farming background, but he comes close — his father was a farm equipment salesman at Plainview. He says his ambition has always been geared toward public service. “I want to make a difference for my country and for West Texas. I’m grateful to be in West Texas, I’m proud of the values here, and I’m grateful for cotton, which has made this region great.”