James "Wally" Brewster

Lindale native Wally Brewster is the former United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

I was born and raised in east Texas and grew up in Lindale where many members of my family still live today and where I still own a home. I was raised in a traditional household and was taught by my parents the values of Christian teaching and to extend my hand of acceptance to those who are of different cultures, faiths and less economically fortunate than us. I was extremely blessed to have had the ability to continue my education beyond high school attending Tyler Junior College and then on to Texas A&M University. In 2010, I was blessed enough to meet Joe and Jill Biden and over the past 10 years I have come to know them as a family and even had the opportunity to work for the Obama/Biden administration as the United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

It was during my opportunity to work directly with the former vice president that allowed me to truly get to know him personally. He is a man that has experienced significant tragedies in his life and overcome those tragedies through his faith and at the same time providing comfort to those around him when he was the one who needed comfort the most. Joe Biden is a man whose primary focus is on family, but not just his own, but on your family as well. He has spent his entire adult life working for the benefit of others and ensuring there is a fair playing field for all Americans.

There are times in most everyone’s life when we face hurdles in front of us that alone we just can’t jump. Communities of faith teach us that extending our hand to those less fortunate in times of need is our purpose. We all at some point have had a door opened for us, a bridge built or a meal of comfort placed before us during a crisis. Today our country is in a crisis, in fact we are facing multiple challenges and we need calm, collected and experienced leadership that understands the very definition of the word crises and how to maneuver through such a dynamic.

The current unemployment statistics continues to show that Texans are being dramatically impacted by this fragile economy. The most recent data reveals that since mid-March that 3.7 million Texans have filed for unemployment, and the current unemployment rate in Texas is 8.3 percent resulting in a 6.1 percent decrease in sales tax revenue. As a result of this shortfall in sales tax revenue, and if we are not able to re-engage Texans with jobs, then the only way to overcome sales tax shortfalls is with property tax increases. Fortunately Joe Biden has a proven plan to create millions of good-paying jobs that will stimulate the economy and keep your taxes from increasing. There is significant evidence that the increase in employment provides stability to the local economy and on a national scale provides a significant impact on the influence the United States ability to establish global practices that positively impact American citizens and more specifically Texans. Joe Biden’s plan provides America’s working families the tools, choices, and freedom they need to build back better.

The current economic policies of our government have failed us as we face this global crisis. As we have learned it is not possible to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. In fact we are the world’s global leader and that is a responsibility we fought for and rightfully earned. Placing the tax burden on working families, those with limited incomes and Texans who live paycheck to paycheck is morally delinquent. Joe Biden will ensure everyone gets a fair shake as he will pay for the ongoing costs of our recovery by reversing some of tax cuts that were designed solely for corporations and their wealthy stockholders by passing common-sense tax reforms that finally make sure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. Taxes will not be increased on anyone making less that 400,000 a year. This plan allows 99 percent of Americans, including Texans, to keep more of their paycheck and the freedom to choose how they spend their money.

The current administration has refused to protect those who have lost their jobs to no fault of their own. It has also refused to protect those small businesses that are now closing because when unemployment rises, customers become non-existent. Joe Biden’s economic plan will provide relief funding for those who have lost their jobs due to this global pandemic and provide relief to real small businesses so they can avoid laying off their employees, continuing to provide an economic engine to the communities of East Texas. The main streets of America will be the focus of Joe Biden’s administration because without the main streets of East Texas, there is no East Texas. You don’t have to believe science if you choose to ignore the facts of this pandemic, but when you take a drive down the main streets of East Texas and the local shop that has been in your community for decades has closed, when community hospitals and clinics close requiring you to drive long distances to receive medical care, when you can no longer afford your food and utility bills because you have been laid off from work and your unemployment has run out and when your property taxes have risen because sales tax revenue has fallen, COVID has impacted you. Joe Biden will address these challenges we all face on day one of his presidency.

As a diplomat I have sat next to Joe Biden and watched him be tough with world leaders but also do it in a respectful way. I have been an eyewitness to his compassion for the less fortunate. I am the recipient of his council when I faced challenges maneuvering a sensitive diplomatic environment only to successfully achieve a solution with his guidance based on years of experience. I am a Christian, proud Texan, East Texas boy who was honored to represent the United States. I stood on my Christian faith and overcame those challenges and former VP Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden stood beside me and will stand beside you too. Joe Biden lives by the same values as you and is often quoted as saying, “I’m a practicing Catholic. I believe faith is a gift. And the first obligation we all have is, ‘Love your God,’ the second one is, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ … ‘Treat people with dignity.’ Everyone’s entitled to dignity, that’s a basic tenet in my household.” This is why I am supporting Joe Biden for President of the United States and Tuesday when you cast your ballot, I encourage you to vote with these values in your heart.

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Editor's Note: James "Wally" Brewster is a native of Lindale and graduate of Lindale High School, Tyler Junior  College and Texas A&M University. He is an an internationally recognized diplomat and business leader, now  serving as CEO of Insignias Global, a political and brand development firm. He was appointed by President Barack Obama as the United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic on Nov. 22, 2013 and served in that role until Jan. 20, 2017.

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