Meet West Hansen
Get to know West Hansen, his life, what he stands for and his plans for our country.
Who is West Hansen?
West Hansen is about as Texan as they come.
Born and raised in Texas, West has lived in the Texas Congressional District 25 for 20 years.
West holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Southwest Texas State University. He holds a certification in Prevention and Management of Aggressive Behavior (PMAB). He is also a dispute resolution counselor and a licensed social worker. He worked for the Gulf Coast Regional Mental Health Authority for eight years where he met his wife, Lizet. He then worked for the Texas Department of State Health Services for 13 years.
After the birth of his daughter, West started and operated his own custom barn building business, Hansen Barn Construction for ten years. He then returned to the social work business providing services for seniors and veterans and continues this work today.
West and Lizet have been married for 26 years. Their 19-year-old daughter Isabella attends Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. studying pre-med.
A Leader in Healthcare
During his professional tenure at Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TDMHMR) and the Department of State Health Services, West worked at the Austin State Hospital in charge of the Admissions Department. He then worked as a Quality Assurance and Utilization Review specialist charged with maintaining compliance with the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and other treatment and management laws and guidelines.
For several years he participated in and led teams to author Texas Administration Code (TAC) rules for legislators to vote into law, specifically targeted at inpatient and outpatient care. While in the Quality Management Department, he monitored patient care in outpatient mental health facilities to assure patient care was up to standards and billing streams complied appropriately with Medicare, Medicaid, third party and general revenue appropriations. While working in community based mental health programs, West was charged with HB 1154 programs and still accesses this option today for veterans and other clients in need.
For three years, West taught a course in the Nursing School at Lamar University, on the history of health care in the U.S., including current Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, Teachers Retirement and VA guidelines.
Currently, West works in his family’s business, which contracts with home health care agencies to provide social work and advocacy for Medicare, Medicaid, VA, TRS and private insurance beneficiaries, to optimize their coverage/treatment and negotiate the myriad bureaucracies involved in their health care coverage and providers.
In short, there is little West does not know about health care coverage issues and he will take this knowledge to Congress to stabilize and improve Medicare coverage and employ sound, economic methods to get health care, on all platforms, affordable for everyone.
- In 1999, West was the recipient of the Helen Farabee Award for developing a patient and family education program. He also taught classes on HIPAA compliance, Medicare, Medicaid, VA and Social Security.
- West has been involved in Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Harvey relief efforts. He was also a part of the search and rescue efforts during the Memorial Day floods in both 2015 and 2016 in Austin, Texas.
- West is an ultramarathon canoe racer, finishing 20 races and winning twice overall.
- In 2012, West was given a grant by the explorer’s council of the National Geographic Society to explore the Amazon from its most newly discovered source to the sea. The expedition lasted 111 days and spanned 4200 miles.
- Two years later, he was the first person to paddle the entire length of the Volga River in Russia from its most distant source, traveling more than 2100 miles in 51 days.
- To document his expeditions, West wrote his first book, The Amazon: From Source to Sea due to be released in Spring 2018.
In the 1800’s, my great-grandparents came directly to Texas from Denmark and Sweden to settle and farm the fertile soil in New Sweden and Rockdale. My great grandfather Nielsen was appointed the Danish Consulate to Texas, and he moved to Port Arthur, which was the primary port of entry at the time. His son (my grandfather) and daughter opened Nielsen’s Office Supply in downtown Port Arthur, which remained in business over 75 years. My great grandfather Hansen suffered the tragedy of losing two wives in the difficult farming life just outside of Austin. He raised several children in Taylor and now rests in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, a memorial to his pioneering contribution.
My grandparents met in Edinburg, Texas where my grandfather, “Swede” Hansen, was a roughneck in the 1920’s. My grandmother moved to Texas from Archie, Missouri years earlier after her parents retired and sold their farm. It was love at first sight when they spotted one another in the train station. They moved to Port Arthur where Swede found work as an electrician in the new oil refineries that soon became the largest in the world.
My parents met in high school and grew up alongside the likes of Texas legends, Jimmy Johnson, Bum Phillips, G.W. Bailey, Janice Joplin, Bubba Smith, Edgar and Johnny Winter, and Mary Karr. Port Arthur and Beaumont were a hotbed of talent, especially during the oil boom of the mid-1900’s.
My father is retired, and my mother owns a thriving company in Port Arthur that helps senior Texans negotiate bureaucratic healthcare systems.
After graduating from Clear Creek High School in my hometown of League City, I was accepted into UT and Texas A&M, but the thought of attending a college larger than my small town seemed a bit daunting for me. So, I attended Southwest Texas State University; home of the National Champion Bobcats (and the Mighty Bobcat Band). Though I wanted to continue playing football, Coach Jim Wacker gently explained to me in his fatherly voice, the physics of how a 185-pound lineman, like myself, would quickly be reduced to the thickness and consistency of an undercooked pancake, should I make any efforts on his gridiron, no matter how successful I had been in high school. Though disappointed, I heeded his advice and wound up having far too much fun on the cheerleading squad, supporting the team as it won two national championships.
I persevered while working full time and going to school full time, eventually earning a degree in Psychology. I met my wife, Lizet, while working at my first professional job. She was a counselor, and I worked with people who lived with chronic mental illness in the Galveston area. We were married after three years of dating and recently celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary.
Our daughter, Isabella, was born and raised in Austin. She graduated from LASA High School and now attends college in Washington, D.C. in a pre-med program. She is the recipient of top statewide scholarships from the Optimist Club and the Rotary Club for her academic and public service achievements.
National Geographic Amazon Express Expedition
In 2012, I led the first expedition to paddle the entire 4200-mile length of the Amazon River from its most distant source, at over 14,800’ elevation in the Peruvian Andes, through 500 miles of treacherous whitewater and 3800 miles of jungle, to the Atlantic Ocean in northern Brazil. The expedition helped establish a universal definition for scientific comparisons for geographic measurements of rivers and established the Amazon River as the world’s longest. Our story is chronicled in the documentary “Peeled Faces on the Amazon” and in a book to be released in Spring of 2018. www.theamazonexpress.org
Volga River Expedition
In 2014, I led the first kayak expedition to descend Europe’s longest river, the Volga in Russia, from its most distant source, located between Moscow and St. Petersburg, 2200 miles to the Caspian Sea, on Russia’s southern border near Astrakhan. www.volgariverexpedition.org
Peeled Faces on the Amazon
- Cheating Death on the Amazon
- U.S. Team Conquers Amazon Race In Raft
- AMAZON EXPRESS
- West Hansen Ends Amazon Express Expedition with Record Speed Descent
- THE DEADLY CALL OF THE AMAZON
- West Hansen, First Paddle Source-to-Sea on the Volga River
- West Hansen and Jeff Wueste paddling the Volga River
- American Kayakers Paddling Volga River Source-to-Sea
News From The Campaign Trail
AUSTIN, TX – West Hansen, an Austin explorer who led a National Geographic expedition in 2012 as the first to kayak the entire Amazon River from its newly discovered source, is running for U.S. House of Representatives in the 25th Congressional District. “Our elected...read more
We all know that something has to give in Washington, D.C. The overwhelming majority of Americans, Texans and, yes, residents of the 25th Congressional District of Texas, agree that our current Congress is an absolute disaster. This Congress is currently caught up in...read more
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