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Sixth Congressional District Candidates Bring Diverse Experience to Office

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Republican voters in Alabama will be confronted with many different choices when they go to vote in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District on Tuesday, June 3.  Seven different candidates are on the primary ballot.

Senator Scott Beason from Gardendale has the most legislative experience having served two terms in both the Alabama Senate and the Alabama House of Representatives.  Beason has also been very outspoken on the conservative issues that he cares about like: opposing illegal immigration, repealing Common Core, removing legal restrictions on Alabama gun owners, promoting Pro-Life legislation, etc.

Beason says that he has been the “tip of the spear” on conservative issues while in Montgomery.  Beason has also generated the most controversy.  His “aborigines” comment about Blacks at Greene County bingo halls/ illegal casinos has been widely condemned and his signature anti-illegal immigration bill, HB-56, was widely denounced across the country.  Many of HB-56’s provisions were later ruled unconstitutional by the Federal courts.

Representative Paul DeMarco has similar legislative experience having served three terms in the Alabama House of Representatives.  DeMarco is an attorney who has promised voters that he will fight for them in Washington.  DeMarco, while less outspoken than Beason, has also generated controversy in his tenure as a State Representative.  DeMarco has campaigned relentlessly in Montgomery to reform the leadership of the Birmingham Waterworks Board, like Beason he fought against the unpopular Jefferson County Occupation Tax, and angered fellow Republican representatives by running for Speaker of the House (with Governor Robert Bentley’s support) against powerful Rep. Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn.

Tom Vigneulle is the owner of Royal Mattress Manufacturing in Pelham and dismisses the idea that Congress members need any legislative experience.  Vigneulle says that if we keep sending the same kind of people to Washington we are going to continue to get the same results.  Vigneulle (like Beason) is an advocate of scrapping the bizarre and confusing mixture of federal taxes and tax rates (death, capital gains, income, dividend, FICA, FUTA, medical device, various embedded taxes on manufacturers, etc) with one national sales tax on new goods – the Fair Tax.  Vigneulle has also vowed to fight the expanding regulatory overreach of the federal government.

Gary Palmer is the co-founder and former President of the Alabama Policy Institute.  Gary has spent two and a half decades of his life thinking about, writing about and advocating for conservative policy iniatives.  Palmer is for developing America’s vast oil, coal, and natural gas resources and using revenues obtained from that energy boom to pay down the national debt.  Palmer says, “We aren’t broke, we are stupid,” referring to the vast oil and gas fields that we could be developing (most of them on federal lands and waters) generating perhaps $trillions in royalties for the federal government.  Palmer believes that his long relationships with the dozens of conservative policy think tanks (like API) gives him the contacts to promote and pass conservative policy reforms.

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Will Brooke is an attorney, a former corporate counsel and chief operating officer for the powerful Harbert Corporation.  Brooke says that his business experience makes him ideal for the position of representing Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.  Brooke says he understands economic development and creating jobs……being responsible for creating 600 jobs in the Sixth District in his time at Harbert.  Brooke is a former Chairman of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) and has worked with a number of charities in central Alabama.  Brooke said that we can save over a $trillion in future federal spending simply by doing away with Obamacare which is putting too much of a drain on our economy.  As a successful businessman, Brooke said that he does not need a career he has already had one and does not need a job.  Brooke has said that he will refuse to take a pension from the Congress having already paid for his retirement from his work in the private sector.

Dr. Chad Mathis is an Indian Springs orthopedist who co-founded the Alabama Joint and Bone Center.  Mathis said that Obamacare motivated him to get off the sidelines to go to Congress to fight against the President’s signature healthcare law and the national debt. Mathis has unveiled complex 12 point plans to repeal and replace Obamacare and to reform federal taxation.  Mathis is widely supported by national Tea Party groups like: Freedomworks, Red State, Gun Owners of America, Club for Growth, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, Young Americans for Liberty’s PAC, and the Liberty Action Fund among others.  Mathis has also been the most negative campaigner in this group.  His “Gang of Four” commercials accused Palmer, Beason, Brooke, and DeMarco of having been closet liberals who were too willing to compromise conservative principles.  His opponents have denounced his advertising and have even accused him of spreading falsehoods.  Beason, Palmer, and Brooke held an unprecedented joint press conference on Tuesday, May 27 to denounce Dr. Mathis’s campaign tactics.

Retired attorney Rob Shattuck is the least orthodox Republican in the group.  Shattuck says that Congress is broken and until it is fixed there can be no meaningful reform accomplished by either party.  Shattuck believes that America has been intentionally divided by what he calls “the political class for their own benefit.”  Shattuck said that ordinary Republicans, ordinary Democrats, and ordinary Independents should temporarily come together to fix and reform the campaign finance system which is corrupting the process by which we choose our representatives.  On many issues Shattuck does not give a policy position because he has not made his mind up yet and does not want to lock himself in to a position before he goes to Congress.

None of the polls that we have seen show any candidate running away from the field, so there will likely be a Republican runoff in July.  Any of the seven candidates can make the runoff field if they can make a connection with the people who come to vote on Tuesday so getting out their vote is critical to the seven campaigns.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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