Shirley McKellar officially kicked off her 2016 Campaign for Congress in the shadows of the Smith County Court House. Earlier this year, KLTV Tyler introduced Dr. Shirley McKellar as one of East Texas' Freedom Fighters. Joan Hallmark features area soldiers who serve in combat zones in the U.S. Military.
KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News
"Shirley McKeller served 18 years in the U.S. Army as a nurse. Eighteen months of that time was during "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in an Iraqi Field Hospital that was under bomb threat every day and in a hospital in Germany where wounded soldiers were sent for further medical aid.
An accident ended McKeller's Army career, and she found out firsthand how difficult it was for veterans to get into the system for medical aid.
McKeller has become an advocate for veterans, and in she 2014 ran for Congress in the 1st District on the Democratic ticket. Although McKeller lost the election, she hasn't ruled out a future run." - KLTV Joan Hallmark
She is a woman who is not easily deterred. When she knows something needs to be done, is convinced that something should be done, she goes into action, almost as though on auto-pilot, to see that it happens. Multi-tasking while giving personal attention to everyone she encounters is innate with Shirley McKellar. She has lots of titles, all earned, but does not see her PhD or retired status as a Major in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps or honoree of so many awards that it is difficult to list them, as anything that should set her apart from others. She says she lists the PhD and other titles to show that she has done "her homework" and is prepared to serve. Her focus is always on how to get things done to improve the lives of others and to make our community and nation an even better place to live.
As the number of women soldiers (and women veterans) increased, the U.S. Military and Veterans Administration lacked many of the medical services women need. McKellar was at the forefront, helping to establish medical services for women. She was instrumental in establishing the Breast Cancer Awareness program for the European Theater of the U.S. Military. She was one of 16 clinicians from around the world to travel to Berlin and establish, "The Best Clinical Practices for Treating Breast Cancer Around the Globe". Baylor University Health Services named her their "International Breast Cancer Advocate" for Europe, to represent America at the 4th European Congress at a conference where her speech on the "Healthcare Disparities Among African-American Women" was aired to over 250 Comprehensive Breast Cancer Centers in the world, including The University of Texas at M.D. Anderson in Houston.
Once back in the U.S., it was natural for her to partner with UT Austin Health Science and launch the African American Breast Cancer Outreach Program and to serve as site manager for the program at UT Tyler. She served as the sexual harassment officer and EEOC officer in the military. In civilian life, she used her non-profit organization to employ social workers and nurse clinicians to provide sexual abuse and domestic violence services to women and children in 12 Texas counties.
McKellar did not intend to end her military career two years short of her 20 years of active duty. However, on the border of Iraq and Turkey, a fall down a flight of stairs abruptly changed her life. She spent over a year in Brooks Medical Center in San Antonio and some who knew her during that time reported that it was difficult to keep the patient, Shirley McKellar, from serving others. Some of her closest associates and most ardent volunteers today were other injured soldiers whom she met during those dark days while she was undergoing numerous surgeries and physical rehab.
Injured or not, she remained alert to the circumstance of others around her. She remained a thinker always looking for a solution. She was an "encourager". She worked hard on her own rehabilitation, fighting her way back from injuries which often seemed insurmountable. She didn't fight just for her own recovery. Shirley was fighting for others, some of whom were too injured to fight for themselves.
Shirley has never been a person who fought just for herself. She is someone who always is extending an invitation to others "to get on the bus." She has done that as an educator, as a founder/director of a Non-profit organization, as an military officer, as a wife and mother and grandmother and friend. "Until we all have succeeded-none of us have succeeded" and "Reach one, Teach one" are more than mottos for Shirley McKellar.
Some solutions are "high tech" or require enormous co-operation and legal /legislative involvement. However, there are some obstacles which deter people which can be solved with application of common sense and basic East Texas community co-operation when there is someone to lead. Frequently Shirley McKellar is the person who leads, who enlists others, who mentors, and who monitors until it is accomplished and implemented.
Shirley has worked consistently to create jobs and to enable people to get vocational training for available jobs. She problem-solves to remove obstacles preventing people from becoming or staying gainfully employed. As an R.N. she knew that there were jobs in the medical profession which were unfilled. She also knew there were jobs in the community working shift work or weekends. She heard the frustration of parents who needed work but did not have safe, appropriate child care for evening or weekends. Through her non-profit organization, she partnered with others to establish a 24/7 childcare center. This fall she is launching a medical transcription school in Tyler to train people to fill some of those unfilled medical slots. These are things which she has accomplished as a private citizen. It frustrates her to see the Congressman from East Texas "grandstand for soundbites" and "neglect tackling issues which are truly life and death for East Texas families." She is determined to change things for the better. She knows that she can do more for people as a member of Congress than as a private citizen.
EDUCATION REALLY MATTERS
McKellar's husband, Bro. Danny C. McKellar, is an educator who retired from the Dallas Independent School Systems, and now serves on the pastoral staff of a church in Tyler as Minister of Christian Education. Juggling children, community, military service, church, and education was a constant in their household. Somehow they pulled it off and frequently amazed people with how effortlessly it appears from the outside. From the inside, there is teamwork and mutual affirmation. She is about building, nurturing, healing, leading. Both of their children are grown; now they have five grandchildren.
CONTRAST BETWEEN MCKELLAR AND LOUIE GOHMERT
Instead of working to bring jobs to East Texas, the Republican Incumbent Louie Gohmert's positions frequently make it more difficult for employers to keep people working. For over two years he fought to close down the Export Import Bank. He called it "Corporate Welfare" even though not one cent of taxpayer money was required for its operation. In fact, the fees and interest charged foreign borrowers who utilized the bank's services to finance their purchases of goods and services produced by American businesses employing American workers generated a profit which was transferred to the U.S. Treasury. In 2014 over $674Bil went into the U.S. Treasury after all expenses were paid by the Export Import Bank. It made no sense for Gohmert and others (who frequently voted for tax breaks and subsidies for their pet industries) to target the Export Import Bank. Yet they did. One of the last acts on June 30th, before Congress adjourned for their break, was Gohmert, Jeb Hensarling, and others succeeding in blocking the renewal of the 81-year old Export Import Bank's charter. There action is one which is causing American businesses to lose contracts to foreign competitors. It is an act which, in the short-term, is costing the U.S. Treasury the millions of dollars a year in profits the bank earns on interest and fees and, if not rectified, will cost the American economy in the long-term. The immediate consequence was loss of several large contracts by American based manufacturers. Without these contracts, corporations are announcing lay-offs. Loss of one satellite contract is prompting Boeing to announce the cut of 3,300 American workers by December 2015. There are reports of similar job cuts in almost every state in the nation. Why? Because some members of Congress decided to end our nation's bank of last resort for exports.
This makes no sense to Shirley McKellar. She views it as "an unnecessary and illogical move. Instead of focusing on solving real problems and working to keep American jobs here, and working to create new jobs, Congressman Gohmert's position in the Export Import Bank is causing American manufacturers to have to turn to foreign governmental banks to finance their exports." These governments are requiring that their citizens are employed instead of American workers. Without jobs, people do not earn. Without earnings, people are not taxed. Without taxes, the government has greater deficits. It makes no sense to many people and it certainly makes no sense to this problem-solving, logical, intelligent, obstacle attacking former U.S.Army Nurse and Officer.
CONTROVERSY NOT NEW TO GOHMERT
Gohmert's time on the bench as a judge had been filled with controversy. Once he even overstepped his authority and ordered a couple to marry within 24 hours under duress. He promised to commute the man's sentence only if he married his girlfriend. McKellar saw a pattern of failing to follow the Constitution and failing to focus on solving the real problems facing people in East Texas from Congressman Gohmert.
2016 will be the third time she has challenged Louie Gohmert for the US-TX 1 seat in Congress. The first time, was a learning experience. The second time she was able to build a campaign organization. This time she is strengthening her organization and reinforcing her network.
She also is host or co-host of three radio shows per week. She recruits volunteers locally and nationally. Working from a virtual office in Kentucky, co-host Rhena Piegols is a key part of McKellar's campaign staff. Traveling with her to many of her campaign events, Ellis County resident First Sargent (ret). Eddings is a familiar sight. They met in Brooks Medical Hospital, both injured soldiers who were helping others.
Her schedule is tight. Between campaign events, she always sandwiches in service at the V.A. Hospital in Dallas. It is not unusual for her to drive from Tyler on Tuesday morning, serve at the V.A. Hospital in Dallas until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, make a meeting or two that afternoon, drive to East Texas and speak at a Club or Democratic or Community gathering in Tyler, Longview, Marshall, Carthage, Nacogdoches or Lufkin and return to Dallas on Wednesday to serve again at the V.A. Her newly redesigned campaign logo reflect the many hats and roles this multi-faceted human being brings to everything she does. She is the great great granddaughter of one of East Texas' noted rose growers. She described growing up on "500 acres of roses and cabbage" in an interview with Joan Hallmark of Channel 7-Tyler. Her family has been farmers in business in Smith County for over 5 generations. Several generations of her family owned and operated Mitchell Erwin Roses of East Texas, which was a major supplier for roses for Tyler's Rose parade. She says: "I learned from watching them. They started businesses and ran businesses and employed the family and other people."
She has a strong network of supporters in East Texas and a network that spans across the United States. From former military associates, to educators and medical associates, to leaders in numerous groups and associations, and listeners on her radio programs which are broadcast in the Tyler/ET market, and across then nation on Blog Talk USA, she engages people. As people grow to know her, her supporter base grows. She is an individual who does not accept what is "hard" as being "impossible." She sees working for improving things as a calling and refuses to be deterred. Every time Congressman Gohmert distorts the facts or lies to the media or the people of East Texas, it strengthens her resolve and energizes her to continue communicating with people, to continue doing what she can whenever she can to improve things, to continue treating people respectfully and fairly.
In July 2015 Gohmert addressed the Lions Club in Carthage and stated that "President Obama lied when he said no money would be transferred from Medicare to fund Obamacare." Gohmert continued, saying: "Over $70 Billion dollars over ten years was transferred from Medicare to pay for Obamacare." McKellar shook her head when asked about Gohmert's statement. No money was transferred form Medicare or Social Security to fund the Affordable Care Act. Gohmert knows this. He is probably counting on retirees thinking that the rise in Social Security Supplement Insurance premiums in Texas is because "President Obama did something to cause it."
One difference between her 2016 Campaign and previous races is news coverage. She has continued building her coalition, strengthening her team, training and learning and teaching and sharing. Instead of contacting the media trying to get them to mention her, this year, the media contacts her. She has already been featured or included on more television interviews in the East Texas market this year than in her two previous campaigns combined. The January 2015 feature Joan Hallmark did on her for "Freedom Fighters" which aired on Channel 7 was excellent. When Gohmert said he'd retire from Congress if the Iran Agreement became a Treaty she was interviewed again by Channel 7. "Skeptical. Of course I'm skeptical. He's just saying that to get news coverage." she said. "He doesn't intend to not run. I do agree with one thing he said. No one wants him in Washington anymore." She was referring to Gohmert's alienation of the Speaker of the House and G.O.P. party establishment. He is no longer chair or member of any important committees. When you challenge the Speaker of the House and lose, you become less effective at getting the job done for the people in your district. Gohmert only got 3 votes when he ran for Speaker in 2015. He lost much more than he gained and with his decline, went opportunities to make substantive improvements for his district. His attempt to defund Homeland Security earlier this year led to the Republican American Action Network, the sister PAC of the Republican Congressional Leadershp Fund, spending $10K on digital advertising in his district. This was he first time that organization has advertised against one of their own party's incumbents.
The Longview News ran a story March 3, 2O15:
"After a week of legislative chaos over funding the Department of Homeland Security, a Republican group is taking aim at U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, in his East Texas district over his opposition to a DHS funding plan.
American Action Network, which calls itself a "center-right" advocacy group, has bought $10,000 worth of digital advertising in the district in the hope of building support for a congressional bill that will fund the Department of Homeland Security.
"Global threats against our security are increasing … and some in Washington are playing political games with our national security," the ad says. "Tell Congressman Gohmert: Fund Homeland Security."...
AAN and its sister Super PAC, Congressional Leadership Fund, have unofficial ties with House GOP leadership. Former leadership staffers work for AAN and CLF, and House Speaker John Boehner participated in a CLF fundraiser in 2013, according to Politico.
Both organizations are capable of spending millions during campaign season. This is the first time either group used negative advertising against sitting members of the GOP."
The 2016 Campaign in East Texas will be interesting to watch. It is a rematch between the multi-term far right of center incumbent who has alienated the leadership of his own party and a highly decorated retired East Texas female soldier who considers getting fewer votes than her opponent on election day as "not as a defeat but as preparation for when I come back and win it."
Born: Tyler, Texas
Married: Danny C. McKellar
Parents of a son and a daughter and five grandchildren
Education: R.N., Nurse Clinician, PhD
Bachelors, Texas Women's University:
Nursing and ChemistryMasters, University of Texas, with honors:
Community Health Nursing
Organizational Speech Communications
Community Minority Business Advancement
Nursing Management with Dissertation on "Spiritual in breast cancer patients" written at the UT Health Science Center, Tyler, TXMilitary Services: U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Major (ret.)
- Served 18 years active duty
- Deployed overseas for 18 months in support of, "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and "Operation Enduring Freedom," serving in combat zone medical units in Iraq and at the U.S. Military Hospital in Stuttgart, Germany.
- Served as Major (rank 66 H-8A,MOS for the 94th Combat Support Hospital, Seagoville, TX.
- Served as the Officer-in-Charge of Combat Life Saving School,
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
Consideration of Others
- Served as Unit Sexual Harassment Team Officer
American Biographical Institute Research AssociatioAmerican Business Women's Association
National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer
National Black Nurses Association
The Intercultural Cancer Association
National Sisters Network, (cancer awareness for black women)
American Biographical Institute Research Association
American Business Women's Association
Texas Democratic Women
North Tenneha Church of Christ
Numerous Veterans organizations
Radio KGLD 13.30 AM at Thursday noon , "A View From The Top," covering local and national topics
Two Texas Democratic women have declared their candidacy for U.S. Congress in 2016. The Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC has an appeal for funding for these two candidates. With one click a donor can contribute directly to these two candidate's campaign and assist the Federal multi-candidate PAC in its assistance to non-incumbent progressive Democrats who are challenging Republican/ Tea Party congressional incumbents in Texas' currently red Congressional Districts. Donors can use debit or credit cards or pay pal securely on-line. https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/6ormorenow
To contribute to her campaign from her website: http://votemckellar.com/