By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Retired US Air Force Colonel Penny Huggins Bailey (D) from Leeds is running against Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia to represent Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. On Monday, Colonel Bailey took time out from her busy campaign schedule to talk with The Alabama Political Reporter.
We asked Colonel Bailey if she was enjoying her first run for public office. Col. Bailey said, “It has been better than I expected. I get to meet new people. I hear their ideas. I hear their concerns. I love meeting people.”
Colonel Bailey said that as it gets closer to the election more and more people are getting fired up about the campaign and her schedule keeps getting busier and busier.
The Alabama Political Reporter asked her if the electorate in one of the staunchest Republican districts in the nation has been open to this candidacy? She said, “Absolutely I am finding people are open to my candidacy. However, I believe the people in the district are more staunch conservatives than they are staunch Republicans. I am so encouraged by the number of people I talk with.” Col. Bailey said that she has gone on talk radio shows and talked directly with the people of the district. “I will be a safe vote. I am not a liberal. I am very encouraged by the response of the people.”
Colonel Bailey said that she was absolutely willing to debate with Congressman Bachus or appear in a town hall type format with him but, “So far he has not acknowledged our requests.”
On the issue of immigration Col Bailey said, “President Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million people at the time.” Amnesty was just a band-aid and not a solution. “We need a viable working plan.” “I have a plan on my web site.” “First the Federal Government needs to get control of the situation.” Bailey said that legal immigrants will pay taxes, buy houses and buy cars. “The problem right now is there are a large number of illegal immigrants.” There are, “plenty of jobs available for migrants” but we need to fix the system. Col. Bailey said on her website, “Once we have a national filing system in place, we need to offer illegal immigrants a 12 month grace period that allows them to legally document their presence. After we give people the opportunity to come into this country legally and if they chose not to, then they should be immediately deported and not allowed to re-enter the USA.”
The Alabama Political Reporter asked if she supported the repeal of Dodd-Frank. Colonel Bailey replied, “What I favor is tax reform. We need to look at the overall economic process. We need jobs. We need an economy that works for everyone. We don’t need to point fingers at everyone else. We need leaders who work with other leaders for the good of the country. We have a lot of partisan politics.” Colonel Bailey said that too many people in Washington are focusing on their career rather than coming together to get things done for the good of the country.
Col. Bailey said, “I have already had a career. I care about this country and the people of District 6. Our current representative (Rep. Bachus) has not brought in jobs to district 6.” Bailey said that Airbus, Hyundai, and Honda and other have all came to Alabama, but they did not come to District 6. “We need somebody who cares about District 6. Unemployment has gone up for the past 2 months in District 6. We need somebody who will focus on helping this district.”
Col. Bailey said that we need to get this economy back on track, “by working together. We quit making everyone else the bad guy.” “People pointing fingers at each other is not going to get it done.” Bailey gave World War II as an example of when the nation came together as one for a common goal. “Right now our enemy may not somebody who is trying to kill us, but our leadership back then provided a plan to the American people and everyone worked toward the same goal. If we can get leaders today who are willing to lead, the American people will again respond positively and our economy can recover.” ” Bailey said that unemployment in District 6 has gone up for the past 2 months. “We need somebody who cares and will focus on this district. I will do that.”
The Alabama Political Reporter asked: Do we need to tell Americans under 55 that they will have to wait to 68 or later for them to collect their Social Security and Medicare benefits? Col. Bailey said that before we cut any of our social safety nets we need to look at the pork and wasteful spending by Congress. Bailey said that Congress has to get its own spending under control before it starts dismantling Medicare.
On the subject of Obamacare, Col. Bailey said, “The Supreme Court has told us this is what we are going to live with and now we need to find out how.” Bailey said that we need to provide for those who can’t provide for themselves, but she believes government should help you in a time of need–not make you needy. Bailey said that the fate of Obamacare largely hinges on who is elected President. Col. Bailey says that she like the parts of Obamacare where college age kids can stay on their parent’s health care coverage and that people with preexisting conditions aren’t slaves to their jobs. Col. Bailey said, I think there is a lot of goodness in the package. I don’t like my health being a commodity. Bailey said that America needs a Congress that is willing to work for the betterment of America.
The Alabama Political Reporter asked: Some in the Military have called for leaving a force of 15,000 to 24,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan in a support role after the scheduled pullout. Do you support that or a clean break with a total withdrawal? Col. Bailey said, “I leave the military decisions to the military leaders, but as a wife of a soldier currently serving in Afghanistan I am ready for my husband to come home.”
Col. Bailey said, “One of the reasons I am running is less than 10% of Congress has any military experience. If we don’t have people in Congress who understand the mission and strategy, our defense is going to continue to dwindle down.” On impending sequestration cuts to the Department of Defense, Col. Bailey said, “A $500 billion cut scares the heck out of me. I was on the frontline of the terrorist attacks on 9-11 in the Pentagon. I know the danger of being unprepared.”
The. Alabama Political Reporter asked: Realclearpolitics lists the 50 Congressional seats that are most likely to switch parties this fall. None of the 9 Alabama seats are on their list. Are they missing something? Col Bailey replied, “Of course they are. My opponent is a 20 year incumbent. Of course they think he is set, but I think the people of Alabama are not as convinced. All of these pundits might just have a November surprise.”
Col. Bailey said that Bachus spent $1.3 million to win the Republican Primary (against Beason, Mickel, and Standridge). “You have got to ask yourself why somebody would spend $1.3 million in a primary for a $167,000 a year job.” Bailey said that is because Bachus obviously stands to personally lose a whole lot more money if he doesn’t win. “I have to question his reasoning why he wants to keep it so badly. He has done nothing for District 6.” Bailey said that Bachus’s contributions come from JP Morgan Chase and other large banks and corporations. “His net worth has gone up 20% while the people in the district have lost 10% of their net worth.” “There is no way I can raise more money than Spencer Bachus, but I do plan on getting more votes than he does.”
The Alabama Political Reporter asked: How do you reach out to disaffected conservatives who are anti-Bachus but are reluctant to vote for a Democrat? Col. Bailey replied, “I am reaching out to them. I am telling them to challenge me. I am answering their questions honestly. I tell them to pray about it. And, I am encouraged as many Republicans are telling me they are going to cross over and vote for Penny Bailey.”
Col. Bailey said that the people of District 6 have a clear choice this election. It is between a career politician who has been on Judicial Watch’s list of the top ten most corrupt members of Congress, who wrote the TARP bill, but did not stand up for the taxpayers when the banks were taking their homes; versus a veteran, who has served this country and her people for 24 years in the US Air Force, who is not a career politician, who is running because she cares for District 6, and who has leadership and integrity, and is willing to work with other to fix the system.
Colonel Bailey said, “I would just like for the people of District 6 to know that I care about them.” Currently, their voices are not being heard. Our current representative is not representing us. Washington DC is telling us what to do, not the other way around.”
Col. Bailey said that as their Congresswoman, “I will meet with the people. I will listen to them and make sure they are represented. I will work with corporations and businesses to promote what I believe is the best area in America and I will bring jobs to this district.”
Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District includes all or parts of Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, Bibb, Chilton, and Coosa Counties
To learn more about Col. Bailey’s campaign visit her website: pennyforcongress.com