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story.lead_photo.caption U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, shakes hands with Lt. Col. Stephen York at a round-table meeting on Friday in the Texarkana, Texas, Convention Center. Photo by Hunt Mercier / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Texas — Conservative tax-reduction and anti-regulation policies are the best way to keep the economy strong, Sen. Ted Cruz told local civic, military and business leaders Friday.

Cruz, R-Texas, spoke to a roundtable convened by the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce at the Texas-side Convention Center. The visit was part of a statewide tour during the Senate's summer recess.

He said the country is making progress despite the "crazy times" we live in.

"The two most effective levels government has to create an environment where small businesses are growing and thriving and prospering are tax reform and regulatory reform. And if you look back over the last two-and-a-half years, we passed the biggest tax cut in a generation, and we repealed hundreds of job-killing regulations. The combination of those two, what we're seeing is an incredible economic boom. We've got right now today the lowest unemployment in 50 years.

"We're seeing wages rise all over the country, and the number-one state in the country for wage increases is the great state of Texas," Cruz said in opening remarks with news media present. The bulk of the discussion took place behind closed doors.

Cruz pointed to Republican judicial appointments as another area of progress.

"One of the great victories we've seen in the last two-and-a-half years is we have confirmed 146 new federal judges. For everyone who cares about free speech and religious liberty, everyone who cares about the Second Amendment, who cares about the 10th Amendment, it's having principled judges on the bench who will follow the Constitution, that'll defend the Bill of Rights, that's how we protect those rights," he said.

National security was another emphasis.

"I think when it comes to national security and foreign policy, we've seen dramatic improvements. We're right now in the middle of the biggest military rebuild since Ronald Reagan, investing once again in improving our readiness and growing our troop strength. And we're once again standing alongside our friends and allies and standing up to our enemies," Cruz said.

Cruz won election to his second term in 2018, edging out Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke with 50.9% of the vote.

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