Heard on the Hill

Texas Republican Is on His Fourth Election of the Year

Take Five: New congressman Michael Cloud never left the campaign trail

Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, was sworn in July 10. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been a long year for Texas Republican Rep. Michael Cloud, who joined Congress in July.

Before he could replace Blake Farenthold — who resigned from Congress amid allegations of sexual harassment — he had to fight through a primary, a primary runoff and a special election. And now the midterms are closing in. 

So what’s the biggest fear for Cloud, 43? Wasting his shot.  

Q: What about Congress didn’t you expect?

A: I knew it would be a whole new experience, so I didn’t really set an expectation. I’d say one of the things is how little we plan and look ahead, how often the urgent overtakes the important.

[Mitch McConnell Had a Fun-Free August]

Q: Your wife, Rosel, emigrated from Mexico. What perspective does that bring you in the immigration debate?

A: Down the line, I think I’ll be able to bring a different voice to it. Our family’s gone through the immigration process. My wife, we met when she was 15 and I was 17. We had a long-distance relationship for about seven years back before email. We have boxes of letters. I remember when Telenet came out. It’s kind of like you could send a message all of a sudden, and actually they could get it instantaneously. This new thing, it was amazing.

We went through the whole legal process, did everything exactly as you’re supposed to, but when we crossed the border with her fiancée visa, they literally did not know what to do with it. We were at the border for two hours — they pulled out a big, huge manual, they stuck it on the desk, they’re looking through the book trying to figure out, do we stamp it? Do we sign it? They’re calling Washington, D.C. It was kind of like, ‘We’ve never seen anybody do this the legal way. What do we do?’

That was just the beginning of a many year process of going through immigration. I think once we get into these policy discussions, I’ll be able to bring in a human side to it.

Rep. Michael Cloud, right, and his wife Rosel, left, on his swearing in day. (Courtesy of Cloud)
Cloud and his wife, Rosel, on his swearing-in day. (Courtesy Michael Cloud)

Q: You have a background as a church communications director. What do you want that to bring to your time in Congress?

A: It’s been interesting to me how my background in the church world has actually been a huge benefit in the political world. You’re dealing with people and working to make their life better. So much of it’s all about relationships, and so that’s been a positive. Of course, my background in media helps, because you’ve got to help sell your story. In order to get legislation passed, you’ve got to be able to communicate it well. It’s something I think I can hopefully help bring to the table down the line.

[Take Five: Stacey Plaskett]

Q: What is something about you that your colleagues wouldn’t know?

A: This is a little political, but we’re headed into our fourth election of the year. That’s unique. I think it will be our fourth in less than eight months. [And] I used to be fast. I ran track and cross country in college.

Q: What is your biggest fear?

A: Not living up to my God-given potential. Wasting, I guess.

[Take Five: Cindy Hyde-Smith]

Quick hits

Last book read: “If You Can Keep It” by Eric Metaxas.

Pet peeve: People who cut in line in the school drop-off line.

Cats or dogs: It depends on the cat or dog. My kids have a fish. That was the first thing: Let’s see if you can keep the fish alive first.

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead: My wife. The things that have passed for a date night over the last year on the campaign trail ...

Closest friend across the aisle: I think it’s too soon to tell. I’ve met a lot of people who are neat and intriguing.

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