POSTED: Sunday, April 7, 2013 - 5:11pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 8, 2013 - 8:47pm
Tyler , TX (KETK) — Republican Senator Ted Cruz was introduced to a room of 200 people Saturday, welcoming him with a standing ovation.
In the crowd, was a mix of elected officials from district judges, county commissioners and the Smith County sheriff.
The dinner was sponsored by the Smith County Republican Club and the Smith County Republican Women's Club.
Sen. Cruz was invited to numerous dinner's across the state, but felt strongly about stopping here in Tyler.
"East Texas is such a vital region to the state," said Sen. Cruz
Two members of the Smith County Republican Women's Club told KETK they were honored to have Sen.Cruz attend the event, share his views and answer any questions the crowd had.
"He's had a wonderful discussion with Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the gun control subject and we're all for hearing about that," said Smith County Republican Women's Club member Mary Jo Smith.
Among the other attendees was the Robert E Lee High School Young Republicans, UT Tyler Constitutional Conservatives and TeenPact.
16-year-old's Ben White and Hayden Sparks, worked on Sen. Cruz's campaign and were eager to ask him questions about his support of pro-life and his stance on gun control.
"It's just refreshing that someone is willing to come back and give us a status update of what's going on in Washington and explain what his future plan is to fight for our liberty and values," said White.
"He is really a poster child for what Texas conservative values really mean," said Sparks.
Sen.Cruz said while in office he will "stand for principle and "champion growth and opportunity" in our country.
I'm spending every day trying to travel the state, listening to people's concerns and stand up for Texas, fight for our rights and fight for our constitution."
But, in an exclusive interview with KETK Sen.Cruz told us his number one priority in the U.S.. Senate is to restore economic growth.
"Republicans and Democrats should work together to reform our taxes, to limit the burden of the complexity of our taxes and to lift the regulatory burden off of small businesses."
Sen.Cruz said how we create economic growth is by either two patterns.
He says right now the country is following a path of high taxes, high regulations, high spending and high debt.
Cruz said how to fix that is by following the policies of President Reagan's Administration.
"Limit the growth of government spending, cut and simplify our tax code, reduce regulation, unchain the private sector and allow small businesses to flourish. Growth is the key to opportunity."
Another point he wanted to make clear was his efforts to defund and repeal ObamaCare, which exploded into a round of applause from the audience.
Cruz said all 45 republican senator's voted to defund ObamaCare.
Cruz said because of ObamaCare the odds of not getting a job are substantially higher.
He said more and more businesses, especially small businesses, are not hiring and dropping health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.
"If you're lucky enough to get a job and have health insurance, the odds are virtually 100% that your premium's are much much higher," said Sen.Cruz.
And finally his firm stance about gun control.
Sen.Cruz fired back at California Sen. Dianne Feinstein's proposed ban on assault weapons.
Sen. Cruz said his goal is to safeguard the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.
"I sent a letter along with Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Mike Lee to Sen. Harry Reid.The three of us sent a letter saying that we will use any procedural needs necessary, including another filibuster, to stop any legislation that violates our Second Amendment Right to keep and bear arms. "