Editor’s Note: The Interview took place via zoom on 1/7/22.
Garrit: Can you introduce yourself?
Jonathan: So, my name is Jonathan Hullihan, and I am running for Congressional District Eight. I grew up in Montgomery County. I played football at Texas State University. I graduated Cum Laude from there with a double major in political science and history. I went to Loyola College of Law in New Orleans. 9/11 had happened, and I felt this desire to serve. So, when the Navy JAG recruiter came around, I signed up and was accepted. My first duty station was in Jacksonville, Florida. I served with the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was the East Coast base Navy SEAL attorney. Following that, I was the Navy JAG for the Blue Angels. After that, I went to Tampa and worked with Special Operations Command, where I really opened my eyes to what’s going on in the world and within the government. I saw the rot in the dysfunction within and between the interagency, the budgetary process, and even the Congress. I would work on a lot of those reports, I would deal with their staff, and I would just watch. They really didn’t understand what was going on most of the time or how the money was being spent. It really bothered me. I was also bothered by what was going on around the world and the lack of understanding between the departments, the executive branch, and Congress. I then came home to Montgomery County. I did 13 years as a Navy JAG active duty—I’m still in the reserves as a commander. It really strengthened my resolve when I got here with the lockdowns and the mask mandates. I work at a law firm in the Woodlands, and while watching the loss of our liberty across the board— our individual liberty, medical liberty, and economic liberty— I decided to run for Congress. I believe the fourth branch of government is the administrative state— which goes all the way back to Woodrow Wilson. We’re at the end of this 100-year centralization, this Marxist, elitist, liberal agenda where President Woodrow Wilson didn’t believe Americans could think for themselves. He wanted these panels of experts where these bureaucracies and agencies that really govern us were set up. What people don’t understand is that these unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats are the ones that are running things. Congress is happy with that because they can just sit back [and] go to their cocktail parties and fundraisers. That’s not what the founders envisioned. So, we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and go back and look at some of these statutes—like the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, and these OSHA statutes that have been granted these emergency authorities. Congress wonders how they have this much authority and it is because they gave them at least a scintilla of statutory authority that they can hang on to. So, we have to go back on the statutes and make crystal clear on these matters of liberty and the overreaching of the states. Congress uses the Spending Clause or the Commerce Clause to hook these states into these federal monies, and then they’re obliged to the federal government. We need to reverse this and give liberty back to the states and the people. Those powers are not enumerated to the federal government—they are reserved for the states and the people. As to why I’m running, I deal with these vaccine and mask mandate cases, and it really strengthens my resolve. It proved my whole thesis of the centralization of the government and how we get our liberty back.
Garrit: Yeah, absolutely. Could you talk about how your experiences, particularly those in the military, will transfer over to Congress?
Jonathan: So look, I think it’s great to have veterans run but it’s not my qualifying factor. Just because I’m a veteran doesn’t mean I’m qualified for Congress. What it does is it gives me perspective. It’s given me so much perspective on the power of the United States and how policy and law decisions affect those people on the ground defending our nation. It gave me a lot of perspectives because I was a Navy JAG— like Ron DeSantis— my role was not to pull the trigger but instead advise the commander. I was mostly in national security law, cyber law, intelligence law, what the United States could do in foreign countries, whether it was domestic law, intel oversight issues, use of force issues, or rules of engagement issues. Again, that gave me so much perspective on the role of Congress and how they find the perspective on the War Powers Act. I worked on reports for the Congressional Oversight Committee and Armed Services Committee. I wrote legislative proposals that went up the chain of command to enter into the legislative process. So, my military experience is not going to be your typical military experiences like that of a guy that is a trigger puller or door kicker. My experience dealing with policy, law, and advising the commander. I mean, I was in the kill chain when I was at the SEAL teams. My primary job there was to advise the commander before we struck targets. So, I’ve been in that pressure cooker situation where the commander wants to drop bombs. I’m the last one in the decision tree before the commander makes that call. So, to answer your question about why my military experience is relevant. It gives me a lot of perspective on what a member of Congress should be doing.
Garrit: You’re not the only one running in this race. You have Morgan Luttrell— who’s endorsed by Dan Crenshaw. You also have Christian Collins— who is endorsed by Ted Cruz. So, why should the voters vote for you, and how do you convince Republicans to overlook those endorsements from Ted Cruz and Dan Crenshaw?
Jonathan: Look, I’m not an endorsement guy in the primary. I think we the people should make our own decisions based on qualifications, experience, and debates. That said, I of course feel pressure to go find endorsements when these guys are pulling in endorsements. So, Congressman Guy Reschenthaler from Pennsylvania has endorsed me—he’s a fellow Navy JAG and a good friend of mine. Dr. Paul Gosar—one of the founding members of the Freedom Caucus—has endorsed me. That was huge for me. I had breakfast with the man, and we talked about policy and law. I gave him my ideas on Title 8 and reforming the naturalization code. I gave him my ideas on reforming section 230 of the Public Communications Act. He was looking at me like, “we need you up here.” To answer your question, I wish folks would stay out and just let us debate and let we the people decide. Obviously, that’s not going to be the case and endorsements are flying around. So, I’m hopeful that the people can see my qualifications, my experience, my passion for this country, and my passion for the Constitution. I think, at the end of the day, I’ll be ultimately successful. I’d like it to be a template to the rest of the country so we can get folks in there that really focus on the grassroots. We have this crazy Marxist agenda going on, and they are fighters. I mean, they have a clear understanding of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. They will fight you to the death for their policy to get passed, but the Republicans don’t know how to wield power. I’ll give you an example, in 2016 all the Republicans in the House ran on was, “give us a majority and we will repeal and replace Obamacare.” Well, they had the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, but there was no plan. So, I’m fearful that with this red wave we’re going to have, are they going to be aggressive enough to shut down the last two years of the Biden administration’s agenda? So, it’s important we elect fighters that are willing to fight as hard as the left fights because it’s just going to be continued incremental loss of our liberty and growth of statism. We need to counter that every chance we get.
Garrit: If you’re given the opportunity, would you join the House Freedom Caucus?
Jonathan: Absolutely! I’ve told Dr. Gosar that I would join, but the ball is in their court. We’ll see what they do. I think that there’s going to be a lot of people that are going to try and get me over onto their side, but at the end of the day, I’m loyal to my constituents. So, I’m going to do what’s best for them. And the best part about me going to DC is that I will not owe anyone any favors.
Garrit: Are there any committees that you are interested in serving on?
Jonathan: Yeah, I think the Armed Services Committee, the Intel Committee, or the Oversight Committee. With my background, I still have a TS/SCI clearance. Obviously, I would like to know what the Democrats have in store or what they plan on doing with the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act has always been controversial—I think it’s unconstitutional in a lot of ways. I would hate to see them try and move that towards a domestic framework to spy on American citizens. So, I’d like to be on either the Intel or Oversight Committees. The Armed Services Committee would be good. These are big committees. You have to be in congress for three or four terms before they put you on these committees, but I’m telling you with background experience, I know more than a lot of people that are on those committees. So, I think I’m a shoo-in for those committees. I also want to be on committees that are directly tied to my constituency—obviously energy or veterans affairs. I know it’s not the sexiest committee, but we’ve broken a generation of men and women. I think we have a duty to make sure that we’re providing them all the health care services that they have earned. These wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have hurt a lot of families. As a nation, we have to ensure that we are taking care of our veterans. So, I would be interested in that committee as well.
Garrit: Moving on to some specific policy positions, you talk on your websites that you would like to “see a return to the rule of law.” Could you talk about exactly what you mean by that?
Jonathan: Yeah. So, the border is a perfect example. It is completely lawless. We have an open border, and the federal government has a duty and responsibility—it’s called the Guarantee Clause. It’s Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution. It talks about how the federal government guarantees us not only a republican form of government, but it also guarantees us from invasion. What we have at our southern border—make no mistake—is an absolute invasion. We have the largest fentanyl and opioid crisis that we’ve had—and it continues to grow. We’ve had more overdoses from ages 25 to 35 this year than we had COVID deaths. You have human trafficking, sex trafficking, and human smuggling. You have the CCP providing chemicals to these cartels on the southern border. We don’t control the border; the cartels control the border. I’ve been on the border, I’ve watched it myself, and the cartels have shut down the international bridges. So, there is complete lawlessness, and we have to return to the rule of law. We have to maintain the sovereignty of the United States. Look at the January 6th event. Look at the disparaging treatment between the Black Lives Matter rioters to President Trump’s inauguration in 2017. What happened when 240 some odd folks were arrested for destruction of government property—granted, they didn’t go into the capital— but it was bad. They burned vehicles and stores, they injured many people, and they committed assaults on police officers—I think it was like 200 police officers—and you know how many of those folks got convicted of a felony? Just one; that person pled guilty. The rest of them, the charges were dismissed or dropped by the Department of Justice. So, look at that versus what’s happening now where people are still being held without charges—a violation of due process, the Fifth Amendment, and the Sixth Amendment. So, returning to the rule of law means that your political affiliation doesn’t matter. Everyone is treated equally with due process. That is returning to the rule of law— ensuring that the laws we have in the books are enforced. One of my jobs in Afghanistan was as a rule of law advisor. So, I would, literally, have to go to these Afghan chiefs of police and religious elders and say, “yes, I know that you want to kill that person, but you should really turn them over to the Government of Afghanistan. So, they can be processed in accordance with your constitution.” They’re like, “why can’t we just kill them?” We had to be very careful with imposing American values on Afghans that have been in these tribes for hundreds of years—that’s all they know. We were attempting to advise and assist them in building some semblance of civil society that reflects some equal rights. We did the best we could working with the Afghans, but at the end of the day, that’s their country and culture. But our culture is based on those societal norms of rule of law. So, that’s what we need to return to.
Garrit: Yeah, absolutely. You brought up January 6, and, as you may know, yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of that. So, first off, what are your thoughts on the January 6 Commission?
Jonathan: I think it’s obviously a political commission. When Kevin McCarthy wanted to select certain members to be on the commission like Jim Jordan, Nancy Pelosi refused. Then they picked folks like Adam Kinzinger, who backs one of my opponents in this race, and Liz Cheney. It was a political witch hunt. So, I think it’s going to be difficult to trust anything that comes out of the commission. This is just like anything the Democrats do because they fight—like talked about earlier. They’re going to use this for their political advantage. I mean, look at what happened yesterday—it was like Christmas for the Democrats and the corporate media. All they want to do is talk about the insurrection. It’s funny that they say it was an insurrection, but nobody’s been charged with insurrection under the Insurrection Act. It’s all just political, and the Republicans just take it on the chin, year after year, and that’s why we’re losing our country. Republicans are not willing to fight back.
Garrit: Do you have any thoughts on what actually happened on January 6th?
Jonathan: I mean, I think people have a right to, under the First Amendment, to free speech. You have a right to assemble, and you have a right to petition your government. So, people were petitioning their government. I do not believe it was a mass insurrection. I do not believe it was a mass riot. Anybody who believes that 100,000 people who descended on Washington, DC to destroy the United States government is a fool. There were people that were excited and went into the Capitol that shouldn’t have gotten in. Those people that destroyed property and interrupted official proceedings are being charged with a misdemeanor, but it was not a mass conspiracy to overthrow the United States government. I mean, if it was then it was the worst conspiracy in history because I’ve never seen an insurrection with people that enter the Capitol with no guns—I think one or two guys maybe had guns concealed. I would say 99% of the people there were there to peacefully protest and petition their government. Then there was about 1% that were bad actors.
Garrit: Earlier you brought up reforms to immigration. What do you think can be done to secure the border, what reforms do you think need to be done regarding immigration?
Jonathan: Well, we need to reform Title 8. I think we should be a merit-based immigration system like Canada. I don’t want to compare ourselves to Canada, but if you want to come to the United States you have to bring some value to the United States. That’s how we can reform it. We shouldn’t completely shut down our border and have a moratorium—I think that’s going too far. People still should come here—we’re a nation of immigrants. We should control who comes here very carefully, and we should end the chain of immigration issues. First of all, you fully fund the wall and secure the border. No more illegal aliens—they should all be deported. Reforming Title 8 means increasing or decreasing visas based on need. If a company fires an American and brings in an immigrant off of that visa, then that company should have all those visas revoked and be penalized. Americans should not lose jobs. If you send the money that you took out of the American economy back to your home country, we should have a remittance tax on that. We should take 30% of the money that you’re sending out of our country because that’s a transfer of wealth. This is more of a state thing, but it’s one thing I’ve discussed in the past. We’ve had the federal government failing to enforce our borders and failing to do their constitutional duty under Article 4, Section 4. The state should band together and sue the federal government as a taking. Because under the Takings Clause, we’ve had so much of the property tax, the infrastructure, the school bonds, and the hospital bonds, have had to pay for additional infrastructure for non-citizens that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. So, that’s another idea to have on the border. We should declare the cartels as foreign terrorist organizations under Title 8. The State Department can declare them a foreign terrorist organization. That brings in some very severe penalties so we can prosecute those people that way. So, those are a few ideas.
Garrit: You also talked on your website about “stopping socialism.” So, can you give us some examples of how socialism has infested the culture and our government today?
Jonathan: Yeah, look at the funding—it’s not a limited government. It’s moving towards a centralized government. There’s massive taxation, massive regulation, massive statism, and massive dependency on the federal government. Look at the health care system, we need to free up the healthcare system to make it a free market system. The government should not be in control of these marketplaces. So, that’s another example of just the government slowly taking over so much of the economy—which is not a limited government that is for individual liberty. It is a more centralized government with centralized authority. It’s been happening incrementally since Woodrow Wilson. It’s going to continue to grow because we have these unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats that can do whatever they want. It doesn’t matter what party is in power, they can just continue the long march of socialism and centralization of the federal government.
Garrit: Yeah. During the pandemic and all of the lockdowns, I think we saw from a lot of people, the mainstream media, big tech, and government officials, that there is this condescending attitude towards individualism and individual liberty. You know, if you don’t wear a mask, you don’t get vaccinated, or if you don’t shut down your business, you’re “selfish” and you’re “getting people killed.” What do you think the future holds for the Constitution, individual liberty, and limited government?
Jonathan: If we don’t elect the right conservative members of Congress right now that actually understand all of this, and if we continue to elect incompetent people then we’re in trouble. So, it starts with that. I am a true believer that Congress is the key to this. Article One of the Constitution states “all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of the Senate and House of Representatives.” The Founders believed strongly that the power vested with the Congress—it’s the first article in our Constitution. What has happened over time is that we’re like, “oh, if the Supreme Court says it’s legal, then we’re good. Oh, the federal agencies can govern, because the Congress is too busy.” Congress has to take back the power from the federal agencies and from the courts. Do you know how many federal courts are discussed in this document?
Garrit: It’s one: the Supreme Court.
Jonathan: You nailed it. So, there’s one court. All the other courts have been created by an act of Congress. All of these agencies have been created by an act of Congress. So, Congress takes back to power by getting rid of these agencies, defunding some of these agencies, and then giving some power back to the States. That’s how we restore liberty. But one member of Congress can’t do it. We’ve got to elect people that think the same way, and my concern is the schools have been full of rot for so long—it’s Marxist indoctrination. People are always a victim in our country now. I still believe strongly that people could pick themselves up by their bootstraps, move about smartly, and make their own way. Look, I paid for my college through an athletic scholarship—my parents didn’t have a college fund. I paid for my law school—I took out loans and had a majority of them forgiven after 10 years of military service. Now I am running for Congress. So, you can be anything you want in this country if you just put your mind to it. But I think the Democrats always want to be a member of the victim class. They want to destroy—they don’t want to create. They don’t believe in individual liberty—they believe in authoritarianism and the socialist utopia. So, we have to reverse that tide.
Garrit: You brought up indoctrination in schools. One question I have for you is do you think FDR and the New Deal ended the Great Depression?
Jonathan: I think World War Two ended the Great Depression. I think FDR was a socialist. I think he was a court-packing socialist. So, you don’t hear this in school when you’re growing up. You just hear how great he was and how the New Deal and the Tennessee Valley Authority saved America. At the time it certainly helped get people employed, but it’s not what saved America. It was the economic boom after World War Two that really pulled us out of the Great Depression.
Garrit: Yeah, I was taught in high school in a school that FDR and a lot of these big government programs got America out of the Great Depression. I soon found out upon entering college and doing my own sort of independent reading that that’s not true at all. That leads me to my next question, which is do you think there’s Marxist or statist indoctrination going on in our public schools today?
Jonathan: I think it depends on where you are. I helped my daughter with her homework last night, and I was very surprised by how factual her social studies and history assignment was. It was surprisingly good. I was very happy to read it, and that’s why I review their homework with them. But of course, it is happening. We’ve allowed these teachers to supplant the curriculum that’s been approved by many of these school boards, and they’re just going rogue. It’s part of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. It’s part of Lenin and Marx’s plan to take over the schools. It’s always been the goal to take over the youth and to take over education. So, of course, I believe it’s happening. Why else would our kids be coming out so broken? The government has controlled their education curriculum for a long time. I mean look at the reaction from the Biden administration. Parents are going to school boards, and they’re very angry about what they’re finding in their kids’ curriculum. What does the Department of Justice do? They want to start a task force to reach into school boards. The federal government has no authority over the school boards. That’s a state power, and that’s why the Department of Education should be canceled. Just look at the garbage our children are being taught—FDR, victimhood, and “America is not the greatest country in the world.” America is the greatest country, period. Do we have our battle scars? Yes. But because of the United States, the beacon of freedom was lit for the entire world. Before the United States, it was centralized monarchies—there weren’t real Republics or democracies. We have the longest-running constitution in history. So, we should teach about our founders, our civics, and our Constitution. Those are the things that teachers need to talk about. We need to build up America—not tear it down.
Garrit: What do you think the role of the federal government is as it pertains to education, and how do you think we can give control back to states and local governments?
Jonathan: They have no authority. It’s not even an enumerated power, it’s not a specific power, and it’s not necessary and proper power that could be found in the Necessary and Proper Clause. The Department of Education was sponsored by legislation from Jimmy Carter. So, it should be canceled right now. There’s no reason for a Department of Education. If Congress wants to fund schools through appropriations, they’re going to have to find a constitutional basis for that. I think that’s how we do it—we just let the states make their own decisions. I mean, we don’t have to have a universal curriculum across the United States. It’s not what our country is. We are a republic—if you can keep it. We are a constitutional republic. That means those powers not enumerated to the federal government are reserved to the States or the people.
Garrit: The national debt has reached over $29 trillion now. Inflation is also a big issue. What do you think can be done in order to curtail that?
Jonathan: I would sponsor a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget. Obviously, the national debt is getting out of control. We need to stop having these omnibus bills and we need to have a more streamlined and predictable budgetary process to stop taking on this debt. It scares me with what I know about national security that the CCP has been buying our bonds for a long time and manipulating our currency. If you own enough of our debt, you can potentially crash our economy. So, I’m very concerned about the debt. I think debt is a national security issue. We also need to continue manufacturing in the United States. It just takes one global supply chain issue to shut us down. I mean, if you created a food crisis in the United States can you imagine what Americans would do to each other? So, all of these issues are national security issues. So, to answer your question we need a balanced budget amendment, a normal budgetary process, and we need to stop taking on more debt.
Garrit: How will you take on the establishment when you get to Congress?
Jonathan: I think supporting good candidates that are constitutionalists and have the background and experience. Look, I’m not going to go crazy and endorse people like they’re doing around here. But we need good team members up in D.C. that are going to support the Constitution and get to this point where we can get to Congress back to what it’s meant to be. So, that’s going to be my role. I’m big on constituency services to make sure that my constituents feel like they’re being heard, that I can do whatever I can to help them as a member of Congress, and also just vote on good legislation that represents my constituents.
Garrit: Do you have any final thoughts as we conclude the interview?
Jonathan: I just want to say thank you. I wish good luck to you and America! Everybody should look for the most conservative candidate that looks to the constitution for guidance, and won’t lose their character or integrity when they feel like they are not getting the support. Don’t compromise your integrity because once you compromise your integrity, you can’t get it back. So, just continue to stick to your guns— metaphorically. If I lose this race, I lose this race. But I’ve got a lot of support, and I think I’m doing it for all the right reasons. So, I’m going to continue to push.
Editor’s Note: Check out Jonathan Hullihan’s website at hullihanfortexas.com.