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Calhoun County GOP hosts forum for Senate Republican candidates

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, June 10, 2017, the Calhoun County Republican Party hosted a forum for Republican Senate candidates.

The county party only invited five of the ten candidates running. Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, former Christian Coalition President Dr. Randy Brinson, and State Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) all attended. US Senator Luther Strange (R) had a scheduling conflict thus could not attend. Luther also was unable to attend the Huntsville Republican Women forum on Monday.

Senate candidate Bryan Peeples was in Oxford at the forum but was not allowed to participate on stage. Moderator Jay Holland praised Peeples for participating.

Holland said that the Calhoun County Republican Party had been “slandered” by some people for barring candidates and that there were just five spots and the committee studied the polls to determine which five would get the invitation. Holland did not name businessman and Senate candidate Dom Gentile, but Gentile has been very outspoken about his being barred from the forum.

The panel included: former Congressman Dr. Glen Browder (D) Professor Emiratis Jacksonville State University; Lt Colonel Brian Reed, US Army Retired, former faculty member West Point, Dr. William Lester, Professor Political Science, Jacksonville State University, Fulbright Scholar and published author, and the Executive Editor of Yellowhammer News, Larry Huff.

Dr. Randy Brinson said, “This is a very serious election, electing a United States Senator. Brinson said that last year the Chief justice, the Speaker of the House and the Governor removed in the last year. “Washington wants to pick your next United States Senator. I think you should have a vote.” Brinson said, we need a business man like Donald Trump and not a politician.

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Rep. Mo Brooks said, this is the 12th most important position in the United States, behind just President, Vice President, and the nine members of the US Supreme Court. It is not a city council position or a county commission position. I have a proven record of conservative leadership. I was elected to Congress representing the Tennessee Valley four times. I was elected four times to the Alabama legislature starting in 1982 when Republicans were not elected. When I was elected to Congress I was outspent $2.4 million to $165,000 and beat them without a runoff. I have talked the conservative talk but I have also walked the walk. Mo Brooks said that he is the person that stands out in this for his conservative record.

Judge Roy Moore said that he is honored to be a candidate for the United States Senate. Moore said, “In 1776 Thomas Payne wrote, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” “The times that try men’s souls.” I think this is one of those times.” Moore said that the election of Donald trump was a good sign.

Moore told the crowd, “I will not only say what is right but I will act accordingly.” Moore said that the Senate filibuster rule needs to be changed.” Moore said that Senate Republicans are empowering Senate Democrats to halt the Trump agenda and the will of the people by having this rule in place. Moore said that we talk about draining the swamp, but Washington is more like quick sand. Elected officials get there and takes the money to just stay there.

Moore said that the Senators originally just represented the state; but after the 17th amendment they also serve the people of Alabama. I swore to obey the Constitution on the banks of the Hudson in 1965 and I went to Vietnam as part of that oath, the only one on this stage to serve in combat.

Sen. Trip Pittman said I am a self made businessman from Baldwin County. I served in the Alabama National Guard in Sylacauga. I served in the State Senate and for seven years I served as budget chairman. I passed the toughest immigration law in the United states. “You have got to be strong philosophically.” I lead by example. I support term limits in the legislature and I am leading by examples.

Pittman said he is committed to free enterprise. “It is the tide that rises all boats.” We also need personal responsibility. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Dr. Brinson said, “As a former military officer myself and an Air Force physician I do think we need to have a strong military,” but we also need to expand American business interests around the world to places like South America and Africa. When we withdraw, China tales advantage. Brinson said that there are eight world leaders that I consult on a daily basis. Brinson said that Donald Trump was able to pressure Qater to stop sending money to fund terrorists in Palestine.

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Rep. Brooks said that he understands the stress that our military has been under. I voted against the budget reduction act of 2011 because two thirds of the cuts were from our military even though they are only 11 percent of the budget. “That was wrong.” Our allies need to share more of the load in NATO and in the Pacific.

Moore said that as a former graduate of the United States Military Academy I would support greater spending on the military. My son is in the military. I am against homosexuals in the military. The military should not be committed to these conflicts without a declaration of war.

Brinson said that the US military should be some used for social experiments.

Brooks said that climate change has been going on since the world began.

Moore said that the Ice Age happened and we were not around then.

Brinson said that renewables have a place but it is in places like Malawi, Namibia, and Zambia where they don’t have an electric grid.

Larry Huff asked the group about a Yellow Hammer News report that 1200 Huntsville jobs on the ground based missile defense system were going to be moved to government researchers in other states on the recommendation of Vice Admiral James Syring, the head of the US Missile Defense agency. Pittman, Moore, and Brinson all vowed to fight the plan in the Senate. An angry Mo Brooks challenged the report saying that he was on the armed forces committee, knows Admiral Syring, and no one, even the contractors who reportedly were losing that contract, has come to him with any of this. Brooks questioned the accuracy of Huff’s sources.

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All four Senate candidates condemned the controversial Common Core educational standards. Pittman said that he blocked controversial Common Core standards for social studies and science. Moore emphasized that under the Constitution the Federal government has no role in education. Brooks advocated abolishing the Department of Education.

All the candidates opposed illegal immigration and supported building some sort of a border wall. Judge Moore favored using the national guard to defend the borders and empowering the states to fight illegal immigration. Brooks said that the nation can not afford to continue this. Brooks said that 60 percent have families with an illegal alien member has a member receiving welfare benefits.

The Special Primary Election will be on August 15. The Special General Election will be December 12, 2017.


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

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