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U.S. 13th District Rep. Ronny Jackson addresses supporters in downtown Amarillo during his re-election campaign event Friday evening.

In the third and final stop of his first re-election campaign events, U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson met with supporters at Hodgetown Friday night to discuss his priorities for his next term.

Hitting many of the same notes that got him elected, Jackson, who represents the 13th District, spoke about the importance of conservative values to the Texas Panhandle region to the intimate crowd. During the 90-minute event, Jackson met with supporters and gave a short speech about his vision for his second term.

Congressman Ronny Jackson talks with Jacque and Louis McKnight during his re-election campaign kickoff at Hodgetown in downtown Amarillo Friday.

During his speech, Jackson made jabs at the competency and health of the current president. He called the current administration an abject failure that is not representing the values and interests of most of the country. Jackson did express that he was very concerned with veteran issues and will be a strong fighter for those issues in congress.

Some changes in his district cover the Texas Panhandle and areas to the east in the Denton, Texas, area, which will somewhat change the demographics of his voters. Jackson said that the Panhandle had been considered the most conservative district in the country before the redistricting, but he expressed confidence that the change had little effect overall in the district and allowed the party’s growth. He stated that regardless of the makeup of his district, his own values would be his guide.

Irma Heras asks Congressman Ronny Jackson a question during his re-election campaign event Friday at Hodgetown in Amarillo.

When asked what he thought about partisan redistricting, which both parties employ when in power to shape districts in the image and favor of candidates rather than the people and demographics of a region, Jackson pushed back on the notion of gerrymandering.

“That is a state issue, and I would not be in favor of federal control of redistricting,” Jackson said. “Elections have consequences. Our state House and Senate, which are Republican, will redistrict as we see fit, and some districts may seem oddly drawn, but the districts are legally defensible.”

Jackson spoke about the issues that have the potential for compromise with both parties.

U.S. Congressman Ronny Jackson poses with Hansford County Sheriff Tim Glass during Jackson’s re-election campaign event at Hodgetown on Friday.

“One of the big areas that we can see some agreement on is development and support of agriculture,” Jackson said. “Many Democrats represent areas with substantial interests in this area. There is also an excellent chance for a middle ground when it comes to military spending.”

Jackson, vehemently opposed to vaccine mandates of any kind concerning COVID-19, was asked outside of mandates if he, with his own background, had any possible solution to stem the tide of surging positive cases.

“The first thing that should be done is the government should get out of our business and vaccines, and masks should be a personal decision with the government getting out of the way,” Jackson said.

While not being rather specific in his response, Jackson seemed to imply that citizens should do as they feel in response to the pandemic and, overall, the mitigation strategy is to let the virus take its course without government intervention of any kind.

Jackson has been a staunch opponent of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for service members and supports House Resolution 3860, prohibiting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the military. Depending on occupation and position within the military, there are already about 17 mandatory vaccines soldiers must take. These vaccines range from covering hepatitis and influenza to anthrax. While there have been some religious exemptions to vaccines, some service members have been discharged or left service over previous vaccine concerns. More than 95% of all active-duty military are vaccinated at this time.

Jackson gave his view when asked whether he was at odds over religious exemptions or firmly against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all military. He was also asked to clarify if he was against all vaccine mandates for the military.

“I am against the vaccine mandate for everybody; there is a big distinction between this vaccine and other vaccines in the past,” Jackson said. “I personally believe that the vaccine is probably safe, but anyone that tells you they know the long-term risks of the vaccine is lying to you.”

U.S. Congressman Ronny Jackson kicked off his re-election campaign Friday at Hodgetown Stadium in Amarillo.

He said he understands the military’s need to be vaccinated in all other circumstances except for the COVID-19 vaccine. When the previous president rolled out the vaccine, Jackson said that he would be getting the vaccine even with the reservations to put his money where his mouth was in promoting its safety.

Local resident Irma Heras applauded Jackson’s efforts for his veteran support while in office. “As a spouse of a veteran, I applaud the work he has done for veterans in the district,” Heras said. “I just wish he was available to spend more time in the district, although much of that is beyond his control.”

Jackson appears confident about being selected for a second term and predicted during his speech that President Joe Biden would not make it through his term and once again cast doubt on the legitimacy of his election. He also spoke of his perceived “wokeness” permeating the military, which seems to be a hotly debated opinion divided upon political lines depending on whom one talks to.

His Democratic opponent in the heavily red 13th District for the upcoming election is Kathleen Brown of Wichita Falls.

This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Rep. Ronny Jackson kicks off his Amarillo leg of re-election campaign