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Former CIA officer now Congressional candidate

By Misha Yurchenko
On January 19, 2010

  • Hurd said that he wants to revamp the educational system making college more affordable and he hopes locally that he can help UTSA grow to a tier-one university. Burk Frey/ The Paisano

Congress needs to revamp the educational system. Congressional bills should not contain riders. Mexican drug cartels should be treated like terrorists.

These were some of the points former CIA officer and Congressional candidate Will Hurd made during a visit to UTSA Jan. 15. The event was hosted by the College Republicans, an on-campus organization aimed to create increased political awareness and understanding.

Before deciding to run for Congress in the 23rd district of Texas, Hurd was an operations officer in the CIA where he was responsible for collecting foreign intelligence for the President and government policymakers. He has had the opportunity to live and work on the frontlines of several countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

After nine years in the agency, he made the difficult decision of resigning so that he could run for a seat in the House of Representatives.

When asked why he decided to run for Congress, Hurd said, "Frankly, I am disappointed with the caliber of our politicians." He followed his statement with a personal anecdote.

During a debriefing in the CIA, Hurd was seated next to one of the senior government officials who was responsible for heading the meeting. The official was in charge of important decision-making and several operations in Afghanistan.

Hurd recalled that halfway through the meeting, the official turned to him and asked Hurd to remind him of the difference between the Shia's and the Sunni's.

"I laughed, because I thought he was joking at first – but he was dead serious," Hurd said.

Furthermore, Hurd believes that his experience overseas and in D.C. politics gives him a fresh and unique perspective on the problems facing the nation. Hurd stated that one of his strengths is his strong grasp of America's national security issues, and also local issues, with realistic solutions to the border and drug cartel problems.

"The last decade with the CIA has been incredibly exciting, and I've gained an insight into how our government functions and the impact that our congressmen have on our society through determining how our tax dollars are spent to establishing the particulars of our foreign policy," Hurd said.

The 23rd Congressional District is geographically the largest in America, stretching all the way from San Antonio to the east side of El Paso, Texas. It includes about a fourth of San Antonio and also encompasses UTSA.

"I will do my best to help UTSA reach its goal of tier-one status," he said. He also said that he will ensure any necessary partnerships that will benefit and provide resources and programs for UTSA and the city of San Antonio.

Hurd thanked the students who came to the event. He encourages students to "get involved in campus issues and join a campus organization that is active in politics." Hurd graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in computer science. During college, he served as the Student Body President, which gave him invaluable skills that he is now applying to his campaign. Hurd believes that involvement in college brings about change in the community.

Kristina Henbest, freshman anthropology major and the chair of university advancement committee of student government, attended the event and had a chance to meet Hurd personally.

"I think it's wonderful that Will Hurd has taken the time to come and speak at UTSA. Although I didn't agree with all of his views, he has my vote. Most politicians don't bother to listen to what college students have to say. It means a lot to know that he does," she said.

Hurd will be running against Republican candidates Francisco Quico Canseco and Dr. Robert C. Lowry in the March 3 primary. Canseco ran in the last election in 2008, and despite a substantial budget, lost the primary election to the incumbent, democrat Ciro Rodriguez. The other candidate, Dr. Lowry, is the CEO and founder of Alamo Healthcare Systems, and he is running for political office for the first time.

The College Republicans, who hosted the event, plan on bringing Hurd back on campus in February for an open Candidate Forum with Quico Canseco and other congressional and judicial candidates.


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