Tancredo’s flack: His days are numbered

As spokesman to Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), T.Q. Houlton makes no bones about the fact that his boss is a true conservative.

That’s why I love working for him. It’s the honesty,” Houlton said. “He takes on the tough issues and tackles them head on.”

In January, Houlton was promoted to spokesman for Tancredo’s presidential campaign. Several months and promotions later, Houlton — whose initials stand for Tyler Quill — is now a press secretary in Tancredo’s Capitol office.

But Houlton, 23, got dealt a curveball recently when Tancredo announced he would not seek another term. Houlton plans to stick it out in his post for the next 14 months.

“I don’t have to jump ship right now,” he said. “I’ll see what comes my way. I’d like to stay here.”

Like his boss, Houlton doesn’t shy away from making strong statements, preferring to write his press releases with headlines such as: “Tancredo calls on Pelosi to stop flag censorship” and “Tancredo criticizes rogue mayors’ decision to thwart border fence.”

Houlton grew up in Tancredo’s district in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and began working for the congressman the summer before his senior year at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

He kept in touch with Tancredo, and after graduating with a political science degree, he accepted a position as the Republican’s legislative correspondent.

Most people would loathe the idea of being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but Houlton doesn’t mind.

“I like that — being able to help out in that kind of fashion,” he said.

 Talking to members of the local and national media doesn’t intimidate him, he said. It keeps him on his toes.

 “You have to be prepared,” he said.

 Houlton said his boss is exactly what a representative of the people should be: “an average citizen.” He admires that about him.
 “He goes hunting. He goes to his grandkids’ football games. He’s very normal,” Houlton said of the fifth-term congressman.

 Living in D.C., Houlton is a long way from the creek where he grew up, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. At least not right now.

 “I’ll be back,” Houlton said of Colorado. “It’s where my heart is, and D.C. is not a good place to raise kids.”

 That said, Houlton admitted that he wouldn’t mind commuting between Colorado and Washington under certain circumstances.

 “It would be a lot of fun being a congressman,” he said. “It may be stressful, but it’s worth it.”

 It may just be a matter of waiting for the right time, Houlton added.

“You think you can make a difference in something and a spot opens up and you put your heart and soul into it,” he said.