Editor’s Note: The interview took place via zoom on 08/17/22. Senator Hall currently represents Senate District 2. He was first elected in 2014 after defeating incumbent Senator Bob Deuell in the Republican Primary. Hall is consistently ranked by numerous scorecards as one of the most conservative members of the Texas Senate. Senator Hall will face Democrat Prince Giadolor in the November 8th election. Hall is a graduate of the Citadel, an Air Force veteran, and a small business owner. Senator Hall’s website can be found at senatorbobhall.com.
Garrit: Since taking office in 2015, you’ve been one of the most conservative members of the Senate. In fact, you’ve been ranked as the most conservative member of the Texas Senate by The Young Conservatives of Texas and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. How have you been able to stick to your principles for the past several years, especially as we’ve seen many conservatives “lose themselves” as they’ve stayed in Austin?
Senator Hall: That is an interesting question. That was something I was very concerned about when I got elected because I had seen what had happened to people. I really had a commitment when I got elected because what I saw was being done wrong. I come from a background of “promises made, promises kept.” That probably began with my four years at the Citadel–which was an environment where you didn’t lie, cheat, steal, or even tolerate those who do. It stuck with me. Combine that with the challenges we face, I learned to never quit on something, and I decided it was time to serve. I came here to do this. I didn’t come here to make a name or to be somebody. I didn’t come here to be a chairman, and I don’t vote in order to get re-elected. I just vote for the principles of liberty and the conservative values that I think our country was founded on. I think our Founding Fathers were divinely inspired to create a constitution. It was an incredible feat because as short as it is, but as comprehensive as it is, it takes principles from the previous Republics over about 5000 years and blended them with biblical principles to create a contract offered up by the people, to serve the people, in a capacity that would protect their liberties. The purpose of government is to protect individuals, to protect them physically, and to protect our other God-given rights. I felt I was led to do this, and I just couldn’t see doing it any other way.
Garrit: How has your reputation of being the most conservative member of the Senate affected your relationship with your Senate colleagues?
Senator Hall: It helps in understanding those that want to be thought of as conservative to take a look at what we’re doing and see if they’re able to vote that way. Others are more on the “woke” side, it puts us on the opposite side of the fence. There will be those that will say, “that’s what Hall is doing, and that’s what we ought to do.” The other group says, “that’s what Hall is doing, and we need to do just the opposite.” It’s kind of a lightning rod position to be in and that’s okay. I don’t mind that, because I will vote for my principles. I didn’t come here to get re-elected. I came here to do what I said I was going to do, and I’ve been very fortunate to have a staff that understands that, supports it, and helps keep me on that path.
Garrit: Do you have a favorite democratic colleague?
Senator Hall: Oh, I get along with all the Democrats on a personal basis. We’ve got some really good people. They’re all good people. There are just some that have a viewpoint of life that takes them down a different path. I talk about in the talks that I have given that there’s only one thing that we can control as an individual–the choices we make. The three most important choices we make are the principles by which we live, the people we trust, and our attitude. Some people have picked the wrong people to trust, and that has shaped their way of thinking. So, they have different thought processes and different views of what government is all about.
Garrit: With the general election less than three months away, how confident are you that we are going to have a more conservative Senate and House this next session?
Senator Hall: Are you talking state or federal?
Senator Hall: I have a concern about the outcome of the election because I don’t share the confidence that other people have that our elections are secure. I believe there’s a great deal of fraud. Too many people have seen fraud taking place over the last three or four election cycles. I am very concerned that the Republicans will have a hard time with enough turnout to overcome the fraud that I expect to happen. If you take away fraud, I think it may be close, but I do think the Republicans will dominate. I think we’ll win the statewide offices, we’ll certainly keep the Senate, and hopefully, we’ll add quite a few House members. The big concern I’ve got is the fraud that’s out there, that we’re not doing anything about, and that our election office has chosen to ignore and, in some cases, actually issue rules that help those who would commit fraud.
Garrit: What more can the Texas Legislature do to make sure that our elections are more secure?
Senator Hall: A series of things. One is to move away from technology, go to hand-marked paper ballots, and use paper that is similar to the paper that money is printed on with a watermark and that could be identified with a marker as being a valid ballot. Handmark them with a ballpoint pen, and have them read by an optical reader that reads the marks on the paper. Go into an optical reader that has a ‘write once’ memory card so that once it’s used at the precinct, it cannot be downloaded and then reloaded with new votes. We would then also have a single voting period–instead of having two separate in-person voting times (early voting and election day)–that would start a week before election day and end on election day. By doing that, we could then print what we call the zero tapes. Those are tapes that are printed just before the poll was opened by that optical reader that shows there are no pre-stored ballots in it. Then immediately after the polls close on election day, they run what is called a tally tape that would print the results of that precinct that was taken before the machine has moved before anything is done so you’d have a hard copy of what the votes that were cast–in addition to the paper ballots right there at the precinct. Then that memory card goes to the central county at the county level where they would print out–by precinct–what the votes were for the entire county. The precinct would be responsible for validating that the votes the county now has for their precinct–that have been accumulated to send to the state–are what they had at the precinct. The county sends it to the state. The state then assembles all the counties and provides the same information. The county then verifies that what the state has was exactly what the state had sent them so we have a hard copy of the votes at each stage where it changes hands that can be carried all the way back to the precinct. We would come close to eliminating the ability to manipulate the cards. For mail-in-ballots, the only other way of voting, we limit that to–first of all, they have to be requested–to the military, to the disabled, and to any person that will swear under oath that they will be out of the county the entire voting period. There’s no reason to be sending mail-in ballots to people just because they turned 65. If they can still go to Walmart and shop, they can go to the poll and vote.
Garrit: What do you think are going to be some of the priorities that the Senate focuses on this upcoming session?
Senator Hall: Well, I think the priorities that were voted on at the Republican Convention should be the priorities. Not all Republicans think that those are necessarily the priorities, but I do think they should be at the top of our list. It’s a pretty good list to go by. Of course, election security is the number one item on the list. Property tax reductions are going to be on there. Protecting women’s sports–protecting women in general–should be on there. Women should be able to use locker rooms and bathrooms without having to worry about men being in there with them. We need to stop the mutilation of young children whose parents seem to be identifying them as a gender other than what’s on their birth certificate and then putting them through surgery. I think that should be prohibited under the age of 18. There’s a great deal of people who feel that the legislature should stop appointing Democrats as [committee] chairs. That practice is more widespread in the House than it is in the Senate. I think we need to look at–now that we have seen what hospitals can do when they’re incentivized with money to keep people in a hospital and have as their objective profit as opposed to healing–a bill of rights for patients. We need to have a parent’s bill of rights so it is clear to everybody that the parents are responsible for the education of the children. I think those will be some of the top issues that will be addressed. The Governor has said school choice. That is a rather high-level title because there are a lot of options within school choice. There are a lot of different opinions as to what that really means. It’ll be interesting to see how that shakes out and what it actually means.
Garrit: Are there any specific policy issues that you are going to focus on in this next session?
Senator Hall: Well, in addition to that, we’ll be protecting our electrical grid. So, elections, the electrical grid, child mutilation, the patient’s bill of rights, and the parents’ bill of rights. I think those will be at the top of our list.
Garrit: What needs to be done in order to protect our electrical grid?
Senator Hall: We need to recognize what the threats are. We have cyber-threats, we have geomagnetic disturbance, we have physical attacks, we have EMP, and we have weather. We need to address all of those. It will be done over a period of time. We also need to look at protecting our critical infrastructures such as water and sewer, fire, police, transportation, etc in the event of a widespread EMP or GMD attack on our grid. Power companies like Centerpoint, in Houston, have developed what we call hard equipment: those that would be protected against that. There are other companies out there that have solutions such as microgrids, grounding devices, and mutual blockers that we need to apply to the system. We need to stop buying our transformers from China. We know that what we’re buying from them now has malware in it that they can simply just turn off whenever they want to. Trump tried to stop that. He issued an executive order prohibiting the use of transformers from China, and one of the first things Biden did when he got in office was rescind that executive order.
Garrit: Is Texas still buying transformers from China?
Senator Hall: I’m afraid we are. Unfortunately, there’s not another place to buy them from. We need to have that domestic capability.
Garrit: Shifting the focus of the topic to the issue of abortion. Given the results of the Dobbs decision, do you think there is more that the Texas legislature can do to address abortion and protect life?
Senator Hall: In what way? It’s prohibited now and, as I understand it, the bill we passed includes the abortion pill. I don’t see there’s much left that we can do. The biggest fight is going to be to stop anybody from trying to pull that back from where we are and start making exceptions like rape, incest, the health of the baby, and things like that. I think our fight will be more to stop people from moving us from where we are.
Garrit: To be more specific. In July, the City of Austin passed the GRACE act to decriminalize abortion within the city. In June, the Harris County Commissioners Court voted to use taxpayer dollars to lobby and support abortion and contraception. How can the Texas Legislature deal with places like Austin and Harris County that are trying to do things like that?
Senator Hall: We’re gonna have to look at a step that is kind of difficult to take. That is, as you understand, right now, the county attorneys have autonomy. If the county attorney decides not to prosecute, then there is not much that can be done. Our Attorney General has very limited capability when it comes to criminal prosecution. We’re going to have to look at some way of addressing that. It’s questionable how effective the city of Austin is. It’s kind of just something on paper. You still have the problem that people are not going to be prosecuted if they choose not to prosecute. Right now, there is no alternative to that. We’re probably going to have to look at some means of being able to prosecute. We need to look at that anyhow, because we already have, for other crimes, DAs–as we have in Dallas–that are not going to prosecute anybody for stealing something less than $750. That’s wrong. That’s just plain wrong. It was never intended for the prosecutorial authority there to be used in that way. That’s going to have to be looked at. We need to make sure that when a crime is committed if we have a DA that’s not going to pursue it, there’s another way to go after it.
Garrit: Another issue that you’ve certainly been vocal about is child gender modification. How confident are you that we’ll see some sort of comprehensive legislation addressing this issue and possibly banning it or criminalizing it?
Senator Hall: I have very little confidence that any bill like that will get through the House. In the House, we have an LGBTQ caucus. The Speaker [Dade Phelan] depends on them to get elected. As part of that, he’s made a commitment to them to not let any bills that address the LGBTQ issue get out of the House. That’s what we saw last time. Our bills got out of the Senate–we had a bill get over there to the House–and never got out of committee. Unless there’s a big enough change in the House, I don’t have a lot of confidence that we will be able to get anything out of it.
Garrit: Through your time in the Senate, has there ever been a piece of legislation that you’re most proud of?
Senator Hall: Oh, there’s a number of things I was very glad to see passed. I was glad to see every one of the pro-life bills that we have passed. I’ve been very happy with just about every one of our Second Amendment rights that we passed. In the last session, we passed a bill that made Texas a sanctuary state for the Second Amendment. That means that if the federal government decides to pass new gun laws, nobody in Texas can enforce those laws. It will take a federal agent to do it.
Garrit: Do you have any advice for young conservatives across the state?
Senator Hall: Be involved. Don’t just sit and talk to each other about the issues. Don’t sit in the echo chamber where somebody says something and everybody nods their head up and down and agrees with what you’re saying. Spend time talking with the folks that have a different viewpoint and work on your skills to be able to convince them that our country and future generations will be much better off if we have a country that is based on the principles that our Founding Fathers intended for. Our form of government only works with righteous people. It will not work with godless people. Only a secular government concept like the Marxist works with the secular people, and that’s what the other side is pushing us toward, and there’s not much freedom there.
Garrit: Do you have anything else you’d like to say as we conclude the interview?
Senator Hall: No, I appreciate what you’re doing. I appreciate your interest, and your activity, and I’ll be praying for you. We need more people like you in our universities that understand how precious the Liberty we have is. At a gathering here, I recently read a book that had a statement in it that was a wow factor for me. It was a book that was called Beyond the Golden Door. It was written by a man who was born a Pakistani Muslim to a rather wealthy family. They sent him to America to be educated. In fact, they sent him to Dallas. There he met a lady–she was a Christian. She broke up with him because he was a Muslim. A year later, he found Christ, and they ended up getting married. They had a family, and a successful business and the book he wrote was about the difference between life in a Muslim country and America. In it, he said, “The problem Americans have is that they really don’t appreciate the Liberty they live with because they’ve never lost it.” I’m afraid that’s where we are. People take the liberties that we have for granted. It is being slowly taken away from us, and they are not willing to stand up and fight for them. We are rapidly getting to the point of having to draw a line in the sand and say enough’s enough because liberty lost will be liberty never regained. We’ve become very precariously close to losing that over the last couple of years with what we’ve been living under–basically a dictatorship that forced the lockdowns, forced the face masks, and is still allowing the vaccine mandates, and is still trying to stop the free exchange of information that is counter to the government propaganda.