A native of St. Joseph who long admired his grandfather’s work as a member of the United Auto Workers Union and learned at his knee, has today announced his candidacy for the United States Congress in the 31st Congressional District of Texas.
Eric Hanke, grandson of Hans Hanke, a toolmaker first at Whirlpool, and later for many years until his retirement at Allied/Bendix Corporation in St. Joseph, his thrown his hat into the Democratic Primary in a district on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee list of targeted districts.
Hanke has fond memories of the St. Joe shoreline, saying on his campaign website, those union jobs his grandfather had were, “good jobs that allowed him to support his family in a trade that my father (Mike Hanke) followed into.” Hanke adds, “Though by parents moved us to Texas when I was a baby, I would spend a few weeks every summer visiting with my grandparents. In those visits, they helped foster in me two truths about my life: that we are all given our own gifts from God, which we have the responsibility to use to support people, and my love of music. Throughout my life, I have sought to combine both of those truths.”
This afternoon, while announcing his first bid for elected office, Hanke said, “For the last few years, I have been traveling the State of Texas, counseling county and district employees on planning for their retirement. The folks I have encountered represent every demographic and political spectrum under the sun, but the underlying themes of their concerns are the same. They are all chasing the American Dream for themselves, their families, and their communities and they all share concerns about how much harder it has become to reach it. For folks my age and younger, we face the reality that we could be the first generation worse off than our parents were.”
He then says, “I’m running because I urgently believe that Congress needs more everyday folks willing to bypass special interests, block out the noise, and get to work for everyday people.”
Regarding the upcoming campaign, Hanke says, “Our Congressman, John Carter, is standing in the way of progress in Washington. He is financed by military-industrial corporations and by businesses that own the same for-profit prisons that have detained and separated children from their families on our border and rewards them with votes for record tax cuts and lax oversight. All the while voting against the desires and needs of his constituents on issues ranging from health care, to gun safety, to voting rights.”
On Hanke’s campaign website he says the district, “Has been my home for most of my adult life. In that time, we’ve seen fewer and fewer every-day people serving in Congress and therefore we don’t see policy for everyday people coming out of Congress. I’m running to change that.”
Of his opponent, Hanke says, “As they vote against the needs of everyday Americans, Carter and his allies in Congress remain silent on an Administration engaged in a dangerous form of populism that would have his constituents believe that facts are no longer true, that news is fake and media is the enemy of the people, and that science should not be trusted.” He concludes, “These are not the principles upon which this country is founded, and we desperately need new leadership.”
The Republican Carter has represented the 31st District for 16 years dating back to 2003.
Hanke, who is 40 years old, has never run for public office before, but is seriously motivated by the concerns he has shared. He is also an accomplished singer, songwriter, recording artist and country musician who performs around the Lone Star State for live audiences. One of his favorite songs, Factory Man, is about his grandfather who loved St. Joe and his work in the manufacturing industry.
You can click the link below to learn more about Eric Hanke and his campaign for Texas’ 31st Congressional District.
(Full disclosure: Eric Hanke is my wife, Carol’s, nephew and his grandfather, mentioned in the story above, was my father-in-law the late Hans Hanke.)
The photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market shows Hanke on the left, campaigning in the hill country of Texas.