With presidential primaries on the horizon, Congressional candidates at every level attempting to set themselves apart before the general election this November. While most of the attention has been pinned on the presidential and Senate candidates looking to maintain or flip seats, many are trying to flip seats in the House of Representatives as well. One of those men is former Navy SEAL, Floyd McLendon.
Floyd McLendon lives in Texas’s 32nd District and is looking to challenge Democratic incumbent Colin Allred. The 25-year naval veteran served as both an Electronic Technician and a special operator in the United States Navy, serving his nation with courage and integrity. He deployed five times to over twenty-four nations, two of which were combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In his campaign, McLendon places a strong emphasis on a number of characteristics including accountability, personal responsibility, the importance of family, and the necessity of faith and religion. On January 29, 2020, The Roundup had the unique opportunity to sit down for lunch with Mr. McLendon and discuss his campaign and views.
What is the importance of getting your message out to young Americans?
This is huge. Most young Americans are not interested at all in politics. The fact that you are here says a lot about you. It is important that there are more young adults like yourself who need to educate themselves because this has been a problem especially from a conservative’s point of view when it comes to pushing our views of God and conservative principles which just happens to be what the Republican Party’s foundation is. And the fact that you’re going to be the future, and you’re interested right now in things that are going to affect you’re family and are going to affect your community when you get married and have kids, and you have your own business, you are going to have a leg up to the other young adults who are not engaged.
Why should people vote for you over Colin Allred?
Let’s start from the beginning. I graduated high school and about a year later, I went into the Navy. Coming out of high school, I had no desire to go into the military. I was going to go to college and become a computer engineer. About a year afterward I figured out the only reason I went to college was to get out of the environment I lived in. I grew up in the inner cities of the south side of Chicago. I knew if I went back I’d either be dead on in jail within two years, so I decided to go into the Navy, see the world, mature a little bit. I wanted to go into a profession where I could come out and work and live a normal family life.
So I chose to be an electronic technician which put me back in school for two years. And then I became a radar and satellite communications technician and then just kind of went from there. About six years in, I started to debate on whether I wanted to make the military a career, but I didn’t like being an electronic technician. So I looked into other professions, and the Navy SEAL profession looked like something I could really hold on to and do good with. So I said the first thing I had to do was learn how to swim. So I learned how to swim, and I went to BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL school), and my first time there I quit. I rung the bell because I had a gastrointestinal virus. At the time when I went through, the medical department at BUD/S was either you quit or kept going, there was no in-between. My first Hell Week, they pulled me out and put me into the class behind so I could recover; I didn’t recover. By the time I started my second Hell Week I was thirty pounds lighter. My second Hell Week, I started to lock up in the water from the neck down. I knew this was a serious problem so I quit and rung the bell.
Fifteen months later, I was blessed to come back my second time and finish. When I was at BUD/S, I started to learn what is called service: being a servant to your brothers and to your mission and to the team. Because before that it was all about Floyd. So I used the phrase “I grew into service.” And I did. I grew into service. Once I got put into the harsh environment of becoming something greater than myself was when I started learning the ramifications of my actions. By the time I got to the team and started working with my brothers who had already seen and experienced combat, it just exponentially grew from there. It really started to weigh on me what my actions meant to the American people, to my country, to my brothers, and to my mission. Whatever I need to do in order to be successful, I was going to do it.
About 2013, which is about 4 years before I am about to retire, I was speaking at an engagement I was supposed to speak at, and afterward, a former congressman from California walked up to me, and he said, “have you ever thought about politics?” And I laughed at him and said absolutely not. That is not anything I am remotely interested in. And he told me, “I think you have what it takes, here’s my card. Here are my people. I want you to get in contact with either me or them if you change your mind.” At the time I was heading over to Guam for a couple of years to work southeast Asia. I started to think about what was going to be my next mission after I retire? What was going to be my next service?
When I got back, I called him up, and he started to mentor me. I went through a career readiness institute called the Honor Foundation for special operators to shift to civilian life. It helped you find your next purpose. When I told them I wanted to run for Congress, they laughed at me. We started doing the assessments and the assessments on my passions resonated with me and wanting to run for office. They connected me to another program called Hill Vets which put me in Capital Hill working for a congressman, working on military, veteran, and China legislation. And this is where it sunk in. I saw the lack of leadership that our representatives were missing. And I also saw the very low representation of military veterans.
Those two things made me think this is something I definitely have to do. Retired to Texas. We had plans for me to run for Congress in 2020. I got on with the attorney general’s office. I was the attorney general’s executive aid for fifteen months. That allowed me to see state politics behind the curtain. So I have almost two years worth of political experience in addition to my twenty-five years of military service. I am married with four boys, twelve to twenty-three.
What makes me better than Colin Allread is not something for me to answer; that is for you to answer based off of the information that you have and the research that you do. All I am going to do is tell you who I am, what I came from, and where I stand.
In the SEAL teams, we like to call it the whole man construct. We look at the objective and subjective. The objective is how fast you can run, are you meeting that time, are you meeting the swim time, are you passing your tests? The subjective is what are you doing when nobody is looking, what is your character, what is your integrity? We want the two to marry together. We will prefer a candidate who is strong in the subjective area and struggling in the objective area because we can work with that.
So when it comes to what makes me unique, I like to consider myself the whole man. Look at District 32; fifty percent is white, twenty-five percent is Hispanic, the other twenty-five percent make up Asian and black Americans. Sixty-two percent are family households. Forty percent are forty years and younger. Forty percent are fifty years and older. Thirty-five percent make fifty-thousand dollars or less. I’ve been at that fifty-thousand dollar point. I’m forty-six so young people can relate to me, and older people can relate to me. I’m a family man. I resonate with sixty-two percent of the district.
I grew up in the Church. Faith is strong throughout my daily life, and I live by conservative principles and values. I was raised on conservative principles and values. What is funny is my parents are Democrats, but they raised me on conservative values and principles. So I like to think that I am the whole man. I like to think that I represent District 32 more than the other candidates. But here is the key, I have twenty-five years of proven service, and a lot of that is as a combat veteran. And, I have earned my leadership throughout that process through leading men through very dangerous situations.
I am an unapologetic American. I truly believe in America’s First agenda. I believe that the President is doing a wonderful job in bringing that back to the spotlight for the rest of the world to understand that we are not going to be taken advantage of anymore. There are individuals who are going to stand up and defend our country. I believe I am one of those individuals, but I also have the reputation to back that up.
I think I am in a better position to unseat Colin Allred. I’ve tried talking to Colin Allred, but he doesn’t want to talk to me. I’ve been talking to the leaders in the district. I’ve been talking to the industries locally and also those when I go up to Washington.
There is a common theme: our congressman will not talk to them. He will not pick up the phone. He puts me on a thirty to forty-five-day waiting list. Leaders in our community. He will not sit down with me at the table. I’ve been on an infrastructure and transportation radio show, talking about transportation and infrastructure. He’s on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and he will not go on that radio show and talk about issues. Why am I doing his job? I am doing his job for him. The people are saying we don’t have a relationship with the congressman. I am saying I do have a relationship. This is what the people say when they open their doors, and I am having a conversation with them. Our congressmen over the past ten years would not listen to us. So how do you represent the people when you won’t even talk to them? But I am doing that. If it is based off of God, US Constitution, and conservative principles, I can go up to Washington and fight for that. I’ve been representing you for over twenty-five years through servant leadership. It is about what I am doing and how I am doing it.
Go do your research on the other candidates and then make up the decision yourself on who you want to support.
How would you describe your campaign?
My platform is based on three things: security, opportunity, and personal responsibility.
Security is the most important issue that Congress should be addressing right now and is not. Meaning our border is wide open. What does this entail? Human trafficking, drug trafficking, and sex trafficking. Cartels coming across our border as they please. What they are not talking about is that there are individuals and organizations that are coming across our border, and they are setting up cells throughout our country, and they are waiting for the right time to start an attack on American soil. That is what we are not talking about. We are at risk.
Let talk about opportunity: individual, family, and community. Right now, businesses and entrepreneurs do not want to come into Dallas neighborhoods and start businesses because it is unsafe. They do not want to take their business there. We need to make the community safe. But yet our law enforcement is around a thousand personnel undermanned and undertrained. I’ve been to their training facilities, and it looks like six-year-olds built it. It’s in the backyard of a neighborhood and the people are trying to push them out. Dallas PD is supposed to be one of the top police in the country. So how do you expect to become safer when we are not even providing our peace officers with the things to make that happen. So businesses aren’t going to come in to provide opportunity, to provide for their family, to contribute to our economic growth. The money is there, but for some reason, the city council is not allowing it to go where it needs to go.
In personal responsibility, it is your responsibility, as well as mine, to do the due diligence and the research on who your leaders are in your community, city and state. And you need to use your vote and your voice to get the right person in so that that money that is already there can be allocated appropriately. If you don’t do that, you have no right to open your mouth and complain.
We need to get out and start pushing our conservative message because most Americans are conservative. Most Americans are traditional families. They are Christians. They work hard. They want to spend efficiently. They want to invest more. They want less taxes. They want limited government. They want a strong military. You well me what American doesn’t want that? Those are conservative principles and values. It just so happens that is what the Republican Party stands for.
Personal responsibility is we have to do our job. We have to communicate. We can fight, but we do it behind closed doors, and we do it respectfully. When we walk out the door, we are united. We improve each other, and we improve our communities and country.
How would you promote bipartisanship and the bridging of the dichotomy between the parties if elected?
My strategy would be to be an example. To bring what I have to the table. If you look at the SEAL teams, a platoon of sixteen to twenty guys, you’d look at us and you’d see a bunch of ragtag bunch of dudes. Different ethnicities; some small and some big. With that diversity, when it comes to solving problems, and you sit down and you start to give your side of it, and you start to see someone else who comes from a completely diverse and different background, you start to think about other ideas. It is an asset to have a diverse group of people who work together.
Being an example of working together with some of those difficult and different individuals is how I set an example in Congress. It is going to be hard, but I have done it as a Navy SEAL for over fifteen years. You take out the pride and offense and focus on the mission. Whatever works to get the mission done is all that you hold on to. The rest of it is noise. So that is what I bring to the table. Is being an example of that. Not trying to force or impress my ideals because that is not how you get things done.
Rarely do you have a fellowship where both parties look at each other and say, “all right, we agree.” You walk away and you say your side, and they say their side and then you let it rest. And when you walk away, that other person starts to think about what you said, how you said it, how it pertains to the mission or topic. And based off your communication style with them will determine if they process and want to come together and work with you.
What particular issues would you look to work with on the opposing side?
All issue. I don’t have any problem working with any representative as long as it is about the issue. Period. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent. What is the goal? We are mission-focused. Military veterans are mission-focused. We do not let the noise get in the way of the mission. It may be there, but it will not show up on the battlefield. So that is where I come from. The battlefield is Congress and the committees. Your prejudices should not come into play because you are representing your district. And when you are representing someone else, your family, your team, your school, it is expected that you carry yourself in a certain manner. It is not about you, it bleeds over who you are representing.
Would you be in favor of implementing term limits in Congress?
Term limits are not really a hot topic. I don’t mind term limits. But we have a term limit. It’s called voting. Here is what most people don’t know. You have 435 House representatives. 50 of those seats are considered to be competitive. Those 50 are more inclined to be held accountable because they understand they can be kicked out at any time. They are more inclined to listen to the people. The 385 know no matter what they are going to get voted in. If they are not voting like they should and representing that district, the people need to vote differently. It is their responsibility. Your term limit is your vote.
I don’t have a problem with term limits, but now the power has shifted. You have the representative who is going to be out in a few years, so how the power has shifted to those who work on Capitol Hill like the chief of staffs and the legislative fellows. There is no term limits for them. Term limits might not necessarily fix the problem or what we think is the problem.
People are not voting representatives out when they are not doing what the wishes of the people are. I need to hold you accountable to know what is on your mind and how to fix problems. The divisiveness we see on national TV; the people control that. When people say they don’t want that anymore, it will happen. The power is in the strength and number of the community.
How would you describe Texas in three words?
America follows Texas. If we lose Texas, America is in trouble. Texas is the mecca for America. All the other states look at Texas when it comes to how we are governing. That is why Texas is so important to our enemy turning blue or turning leftist or turning socialist. Because they know if Texas turns that way, the country will eventually turn that way. District 32 is the gateway to either maintaining our conservatism or shifting to socialism. It is probably the most important district to turn back red.
What is your go-to order at Whataburger?
The double cheeseburger with no onions or lettuce with french fries.
Stay tuned to The Roundup for more political interviews and news on US Politics and the 2020 Election!