Editor’s Note: The Interview took place via zoom on 5/24/22. Mondick is the Republican Nominee for Texas House District 95. He will face incumbent Democrat Representative Nicole Collier. Mondick’s website can be found here at mondickfor95.com.
Garrit: Firstly, can you introduce yourself and talk a little bit about your background?
Taylor: Yeah, sure. So, my name is Taylor Mondick, and I am a longtime Fort Worth resident. I went to college at Hawaii Pacific University on the beautiful island of Oahu. I started a business in 2012. I own a gym; we train youth athletes in tumbling, gymnastics, karate, parkour, and things like that. So, I’ve had that for a little over 10 years now. I’ve been a resident of District 95 for about that length of time as well. Now, I’m running to represent District 95 in the Texas House.
Garrit: What made you decide to jump into this race and run?
Taylor: Well, having been here for 10 years and just seeing a complete lack of accessibility to the office, and a lack of representation on both sides of the aisle (whether Democratic or Republican). We just have a representative who’s non-existent. Historically, our district is blue. So, rather than me jumping in there, I tried to get as many people as I could think of to get in there and run. However, no one would do it. The answer I would get most of the time when I’m talking to people about this was that this is a Democratic district: “A Republican is never going to win.” That just upset me. We definitely don’t see the Democrats shying away from running just because there are conservatives. We can’t do that any longer as Republicans or as conservatives. We can’t sit on the sidelines and just let things be. That’s really what inspired me to run, and no one else was doing it. There is a problem and there are needs that need to be met over here. Just to give our community a voice in Austin. We haven’t had that in a long time.
Garrit: You mentioned that the district you’re running in is historically a Democratic district. In the past 10 years, a Republican candidate has not garnered more than 25% of the vote. In 2020, a Republican didn’t even run against Representative Nicole Collier. So, given the very poor performance of Republicans, do you think that this time will be any different for you?
Taylor: I do. We saw that in the primary I had earned more votes than any other Republican candidate in the district. So, there’s something to be said about that. Democratic enthusiasm is at an all-time low right now. GOP enthusiasm is high. We’re seeing it really from the top down with the Biden administration. It’s hard to get Democrats to the polls right now. There’s nothing to be excited about. We’re seeing the effects of Democrat policies. We’re feeling it in our pockets. So, GOP enthusiasm is at an all-time high. One of the things that I’m really pushing is voter contact because the people in District 95 for the past 10 years have had the same representative who has done little to no campaigning, and who has done little to no outreach (especially the past three terms). Our voters not only deserve it, but they’re hungry for it. I’m getting out there and engaging in the community and letting them see what accessibility looks like. My ultimate goal is to bring that back to the office. So, I think this is going to be the election that changes things. I know we’re very excited over here in HD95 about that.
Garrit: What are some of the top issues for district 95?
Taylor: I know that our border, which was surprising to me, has been an issue that every single voter I’ve talked with is deeply concerned about. I’ve told them that I can only do so much as your state representative. One thing that’s not being done right now is using the platform of a state representative to voice the objections to this open and porous border happening right now. To be able to do that, I think you could put a lot of muscle behind the fight. Another big issue would be our crime. In 2022, we’ve lost over 22 teens to gun violence on the east side–which is the majority of district 95. So, forging community partnerships with our local PDs and neighborhood police officers, and just building those relationships, I think, is incredibly important. Those two things have been pretty big. I get a lot of questions about Trump, and I have to remind people that he’s not running. As polarizing as he was, my job as a representative is to represent the district. I lean on the conservative side, and that’s absolutely going to influence some of the things that I push for. However, at the end of the day, my role is to give a voice to the people of HD 95. That’s the message that we’re trying to get out.
Garrit: You mentioned bridging that connection between law enforcement and the people. How do you think you can do that? Are there specific things that you think need to be done?
Taylor: I think one of the biggest things that needs work would simply be communication. We need better communication between our local police officers, the PDS, the police, the neighborhood police officers, and the MPOs. Last night, I was at a meeting with all of our MPOs on the east side. The problem was that they don’t hear about the problem until it’s a massive problem. One problem is street racing. We’ve had hundreds of people coming in over here on the streets just racing in the middle of the night–one actually hit somebody. So, a lot of people don’t feel comfortable reaching out to the local neighborhood police officers, or they just have no idea that they even exist. That is something that can be facilitated by an elected official. Last night, it was a city councilwoman who facilitated that conversation–that was fantastic. So, communicating and building those bridges I think is going to be a huge issue. The police officers need it; they are going to need the community to back them if we’re actually going to see a reduced crime rate.
Garrit: You also mentioned immigration earlier. In what ways have you seen the crisis at the border affect district 95?
Taylor: So, this is what I’ve been telling people. I don’t think we’ve even begun to really see the implications of what’s going on at the border. Obviously, on a state level, we’re seeing an increase in drugs and human trafficking. But I’m not sure we’ve actually begun to feel the effects here locally. When I go around and talk to people, I know a lot of people are concerned about jobs. No one’s been like, “oh, I lost my job to an illegal immigrant.” No one has said that to me yet, but I know that that’s a big concern. Drugs are a huge concern, especially over here, because we do have an issue with crime already. Tarrant County, Fort Worth, and Dallas are huge as far as human trafficking goes and trying to combat that. So, I think these things are coming down the pipeline if we don’t actually take a stand and do whatever is necessary to secure the border. People know that it’s an issue. And though we may not see it right now, here on our streets, we’re going to, you know,
Garrit: How has the experience of being a first-time candidate been for you?
Taylor: It’s been fun; it’s been inspiring. There are so many people out there that are trying to fight the good fight. Your local grassroots activists have all got their little niche. We’ve got our group that’s really trying to push for election integrity, then we’ve got our group of amazing parents that have just been fighting against the school boards and trying to return some transparency back to public education. Then you have people that just want to live their lives free from government interference. Getting out there and being able to meet all of these people has been inspiring. It gives me a little bit more pep to my step because we’re building a coalition here of like-minded people that want to see district 95 thrive, be safe, and have a voice in Austin–which is something we haven’t had for so long. So, it’s been really good. I’ve met some wonderful people and some great legislators. It’s been an amazing experience honestly.
Garrit: What are some things that you haven’t particularly enjoyed about running for office?
Taylor: That’s a good question, Garrit. I would say seeing on a real kind of visceral level the infighting within the party. Right now we’re going through all of these elections, and we’re in runoffs and stuff like that. I’ve seen candidates running for the same position that are both good and honest, and just the bashing that comes with politics is…I haven’t liked that. There’s definitely a ‘good-ol-boy’ system. That’s why we are finding ourselves in the situation that we’re in now–not just on a state level, but nationally. I guess it comes with the territory, but that hasn’t been that fun to see. Especially right now with the runoffs. You’re seeing some crazy attack ads coming out. Other than that, there really hasn’t been much. Right now, it’s just getting my name out there because there are a lot of people that have no idea who I am. Some don’t even know that they have a choice on the ballot. So, overcoming that obstacle, I think, has been a bit of a challenge, but we’re getting there.
Garrit: Another issue that comes up that goes along with the infighting is having Democratic members of the House chairing committees, especially with a Republican-controlled legislature. What do you think about that?
Taylor: Right now, I think it is not a good idea. I appreciate the fact that there’s a willingness to want to work with both sides. But putting the opposing party, when we have seen such radical policies come from the left, I think is absolutely nuts. I think if we’re going to have a Republican majority, we need to run with it. We need to push every point of the platform that we have to its max. I love the idea of working together, there’s a time and place for it, but as far as chairing a committee, no. I always go back to if the Democrats were in the majority, do you think that they would let a Republican chair committees? Absolutely not. So, that’s something that definitely needs to be taken into consideration this next session.
Garrit: Yeah, absolutely. Our writers at The Texas Horn are young conservatives, and being a young person yourself, what advice would you give to young conservatives that are looking to maybe run for office one day?
Taylor: First, check your motivation. We need candidates who are running for the right reasons, who want to make a difference, and will be beholden only to their constituents. If you’re heart and motivations are in the right place, then do it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too young, have the wrong background or the wrong pedigree. Our founders were farmers, teachers, preachers… everyday folk! So run!