By Kristen Tribe

Longtime Congresswoman Kay Granger spoke to a luncheon crowd of more than 100 Wednesday at the Decatur Civic Center.

Granger, first elected to represent the 12th Congressional District in 1997, is the only female Republican in the Texas delegation.

She recalled being asked at another event what it was like to be the only woman and “what do the men think?”

“They’re scared to death of me!” she said with a laugh.

Granger was once mayor of Fort Worth, and she’s a former teacher and small business owner. She represents the east side of Wise County, western Tarrant County and all of Parker County in Congress. Her counterpart, Mac Thornberry, represents the western side of Wise.

Granger is chairwoman of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and vice chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. She also serves on the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee.

Wednesday’s program was a Q&A with Messenger publisher Roy Eaton and questions submitted by the audience. Topics included immigration, ISIS, veterans and water, among others. Here is a sample of the questions she answered.

One of the major issues is the threat of ISIS. Give us your thoughts and where’s the end game in this battle?

“The Islamic extremists, their guiding message is to fight to the end of the world and destroy all infidels; an infidel is anyone who doesn’t believe the way they believe, and also to reestablish a caliphate, which is their land and property.

“If you follow that and watch what they’re doing with these individual terrorist organizations, they’re demanding they join ISIS.”

Granger went on to say that she’s been traveling in recent months and with a contingent visited with other countries to see what they will do to help in the battle against the terrorist organization.

What progress is being made to improve medical care, both mental and physical, for veterans today?

“In some cases we’re doing good work and in some we’re not at all doing what we should do for those who risked their lives, and their futures, to keep us safe.”

Granger said there was an issue with veterans not receiving care because some of their issues were considered pre-existing conditions, issues they had before war.

“We have to give care to those people, to men and women who served, and give the best care we can.”

Wise County has a significant Hispanic population. Tell us about the committee you chaired that visited the border to look into the children being brought across it.

Granger organized trips to see what was happening, and at that time there were about 50,000 children who had recently crossed with no family and no where to go.

She said one place had 1,200 children – 600 boys and 600 girls – and they had 72 hours to determine the status of their health before finding them a place to go.

Granger said they were doing nothing to determine where their families were located.

Her committee recommended these children be kept in facilities at the border instead of being shipped across the U.S. She visited Honduras, Guatamala and El Salvador, the countries with the most children here, and their government officials assure her that they wanted their children back.

They also visited with leaders about the problems in their countries that led to the children being sent to the U.S. alone.

She said so far, only 2,000 children have been returned to their home countries.

What do you see in the future of Wise County for water needs?

“Water is the new oil and what oil used to be. Communities really depend on a strong water supply, and every town, city and state is looking at that. I’m very confident about what’s happening here.”

Granger said she worked with the Oklahoma governor on an agreement between the two states to buy water not being used in our neighbor to the north, but in the end, it didn’t work out.

“The Oklahoma governor said, ‘I know it makes sense, but in this day and age you try to explain to citizens that you’re selling their water, even if you’re not using it, and it’s not going very far.”

You’re known for being accountable to your constituents. Can you elaborate on the importance of accountability of elected officials?

“I’ve always said that we all owe back to the community. There are people in this room that could do exactly what I’m doing, and I know this. You have allowed me to do it.

You’ve supported me, you’ve given me that responsibility and that trust, so I owe you 100 percent on everything – no less. I do try to do the very best job in everything I do.”