From rider nation to republican land

Former Saskatchewan Roughrider Matt Dominguez will always bleed Rider green but the talk around him these days is about Republican red and Democrat blue.  The tumultuous US election campaign is about to wind down with the vote on November 3.

“Everybody is pretty much entrenched in their sides,” says Dominguez, who moved with his family back to his home state of Texas after living 15 years in Saskatchewan.

Dominguez lives in Frisco, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Texas has been a Republican stronghold for decades. A Democratic presidential candidate winning in Texas is about as rare as a Roughrider Grey Cup win.  The last Democrat president to receive a majority in Texas was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Johnson was a Texan.

It was a thrill chatting with Matt on In Real Time. Dominguez is an astute observer of US and Canadian politics. He was surely influenced by his mother Mary Calixtro, who is an elected member of the city council in Georgetown, Texas.

The focus of our conversation turned to the 2020 campaign of Biden versus Trump.

“Very few people want to meet in the middle. Very few people want to hear anything negative about their candidates. It’s unfortunate but that’s where we are. It’s very polarized here right now,” says Dominguez. “All my friends are respectful even of those that they don’t agree with.”

Dominguez was an all-star receiver for the Roughriders for six seasons. He remained in the community following his retirement in 2008, working in real estate in Moose Jaw and Regina. He was inducted into the Riders Plaza of Honour in 2016.

Matt Dominguez made his mark in the CFL as a Roughrider receiver. He was also a member of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and New York Jets. (Photo: EMJ Marketing).

Dominguez and his wife Jennifer moved to Texas in the spring to explore more opportunities for their three children.

Since returning to Texas, Dominguez sees a shift to greater support for Democrats, particularly in urban areas.

“For me, I just want a policy debate. Let’s talk about policies. I don’t need bluster and I don’t need hyperbole,” says Dominguez. “Unfortunately, a lot of people just want to hear all the loud talk and the insults and they never really get to the meat of the issues.”

As you might expect, mask-use during this pandemic is a political ‘hot button’ in much of the US including Texas.

“There are those that are going to downplay masks. There are those here that are for masks and those against. My personal opinion is you need to wear a mask. People think that is infringing on their rights. But for me and my family, we wear masks,” says Dominguez.

Dominguez believes the pandemic has prompted some of his fellow Americans to rethink their country’s role in the world, as well as give them the urge to vote.

“We have been joking that there is a higher turnout because people are tired of staying at home. It’s something to do,” says Dominguez. “It (pandemic) has made people focus on issues and on the candidates and what they will do. We can’t be nationalist anymore. We are global. The pandemic did not care where it started and you now need to have a world view in my opinion. This is how interconnected we are and we need leaders that are also thinking that way.”