By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Politcal Reporter
On Monday, October 31, 2016 David J. Putman (D) spoke to The Alabama Political Reporter (APR) about his campaign for Congress in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.
APR asked Putman why he was running for Congress.
Putman said that he decided to run for Congress became he was aware pretty early that if he didn’t there wouldn’t be a challenger in the Sixth District and, “We need to have options.”
Putman said that he views the Sixth Congressional District as two districts. My part of Jefferson and Shelby county one type of community and then I have got four counties around that are much more rural the people are farther apart. It takes a different approach.
APR asked Putman about how difficult has it been to raise money as a Democratic challenger in a conservative district.
Putman said, “I went into this knowing that raising money was going to be very very difficult.” Putman said that he has run a low budget. hard working campaign. I was not going to spend my time on the phone asking people for money. I have gotten some, but the campaign is mostly self-funded
Putman said that he had some television ads running til the election; but that TV is limited because so many people tape their shows and don’t even see the ads any more. Phone banks used to be the thing, but nobody answers the phone now. “Yard signs still work. I spent yesterday putting out signs.”
APR asked: The Sixth District is one of the most conservative districts in the entire country. It went big for Romney and McCain and will almost certainly go heavily for Donald Trump (R) over Hillary Clinton (D) on election day. How do you convince those Trump voters to split their ticket to vote for you?
Putman replied, “I feel like I have ideas I have got solutions to the big problems.” “I do recognize that it is a big Republican area. I am not running for or against the people running for President. I am running for Congress. Gary palmer is not doing a good job. He has not done anything for the people in the Sixth District. He has not brought jobs. He has not brought government investment. He is not able to work with the leadership in Congress. He has no influence. He can’t get anything done and he doesn’t seem to care.”
Putman says that he has the ability to bring people to the table to address the real problems; while Palmer represents just one faction of his own party. Putman said that Palmer’s own Republican leadership doesn’t like him.
Putman said that he did not understand what Palmer was doing in the campaign. He is not advertising on television. He is not putting up a lot of signs.
APR suggested that Rep. Palmer could be holding his campaign dollars to donate to other Republican Congressmen to grow his own influence there.
Putman replied, “I would think so but he hasn’t done that yet. He is hoarding his money.”
APR asked Putman about military spending and fighting ISOS.
Putman said, “It is important that we keep a very strong military and we have.” “We are doing the right thing in Iraq to try to drive ISIL out.” Iraqi forces with U.S. help are on the edge of Mosul preparing to retake the city. Putman expressed confidence that in the short term the President’s strategy will drive ISIS/ISIL out of Iraq; but long term: “I have great doubts I don’t see a long term solution.”
Putman said that we have to reduce ISIS numbers over there and their attractiveness to people over here. “Hillary will do a good job of that.”
Putman said that he spent a lot of years with Alabama Power Company and the Southern Company working with companies. His focus in Congress would be making sure that the people are well represented in Congress.
APR asked: Back when Ben Erdreich represented the Sixth District it consisted of all of Jefferson County. Since then the Seventh District was extended from Tuscaloosa to take Bessemer and most of Birmingham dividing Jefferson County into one mostly Black congressional district that includes much of the Black Belt, part of Tuscaloosa, Selma and even part of Montgomery. The Sixth meanwhile is the suburban and rural parts of Jefferson County along with Shelby, Blount and some rural counties.
Putman said, “That one was encouraged by the Justice Department to provide one majority minority district. I would like to get to a point in life where that is not important but we are not there yet.”
APR said that Alabama and the Sixth District have lost a lot of coal jobs due to the President’s energy policy. Should we reverse that?
Putnam said that Palmer doesn’t believe global climate change exists. As an engineer and looking at the science it is a real thing. “It is an obligation for all of us to do our part to reduce global climate change.”
Putnam said that we there are going to be winners and losers with the changing energy policies. We need to keep the coal miners from becoming big losers. We need to reemploy coal miners using the skills they have through federal funding to restore the strip mines and fill the mine shafts left by the coal industry. We would be doing good for the land and employing the coal miners. We need to take care of this generation of coal miners. Put them to work restoring the ground, restoring the land, plant pine trees on there to take CO2 out of the air.
Putman said that his focus in Congress would be on: fighting economic inequality, term limits, and gun safety not gun control.
The election is on November 8.