By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, June 21, 2017, Dr. Randy Brinson talked with The Alabama Political Reporter (APR) about his campaign to be the GOP nominee for the US Senate seat vacated when Sen. Jeff Sessions became US Attorney General.
APR: Mo Brooks has introduced legislation allowing members of Congress to carry firearms in Washington DC. Do you support this legislation. Why or why not?
Dr. Brinson: A better policy would to have somebody on their staff APOST certified and fully trained and qualified as a marksman. While I support this, US attorneys and federal judges have asked for this for years. Prosecutors are going after terror groups, the mob, and the cartels. They are even more at risk than the Congressmen. This needs to be extended to the federal prosecutors and judges.
APR: You recently negotiated a deal with the government of Zambia where Alabama farmers can go farm part of a 300,000 acre grant of land. How does an Alabama farmer get involved in this project?
Brinson: I am working with a number of groups of farmers, including some already working in Africa. We have the soil types, the rain fall, and the topography of the land. If a group of farmers will come to us with what crops they want to grow we will work with them to find the right land and they can partner with the local government, a Church, or even to get title to the land outright.
APR: At the recent forum in Oxford, Mo Brooks and Roy Moore argued for a straight repeal of Obamacare without replacing it with anything. You supported repealing and replacing the legislation. What sort of healthcare legislation should the GOP pass?
Brinson: Repealing alone will not solve the problem. You still have to deal with all of the after effects from Obamacare. Brinson said that there probably is going to have to be some sort of coverage for people making up to 125 percent of the poverty line. Anyone receiving Medicaid benefits now need to sign up for a medical home with a primary care physician and a hospital. Regional care organizations (RCOs) and managed care can eliminate emergency room visits. The RCOs would bid on providing indigent care. Managed care would encourage people to get preventive care like mammograms thus decreasing costs by incentivizing the hospitals to keep their clients healthy and out of the hospital.
We also need a plan for allocation of manpower. Medicaid originally covered children, the disabled, and pregnant women. When it was suddenly expanded, Obamacare had made no provision for the allocation of labor so the system was overwhelmed and many of the people receiving healthcare through Medicaid could not get access to a doctor because of the waiting list. Florida understood that they would need more doctors so they opened more medical schools to graduate more doctors; but they made no provision for increasing residencies. Those new doctors graduated from medical school and then could not do their residency in Florida and went to New York to get their residency. Florida increased their medical school graduates at a cost of $300,000 a piece but failed to get more doctors particularly in rural parts of the state. There needs to be planning.
APR: Should veterans be allowed to receive their health care from doctors and hospitals outside of the Veterans Healthcare system?
Brinson: The Veterans Health Care System need to be reformed. Many of the veterans systems are tied to the faculty at medical schools. They need to make sure that they are providing the care we are paying for and that the veterans aren’t on a waiting list trying to get care. When the system is overwhelmed certainly they should be able to seek private care. I see a lot of veterans at my Montgomery practice through a program allowing vets to seek private care. That should be expanded.
APR: If the Assad government in Syria uses chemical weapons against civilians again despite being warned not to do this by both the Obama and Trump Administrations should the US send in American troops to overthrow the Assad regime?
Brinson: We need good intelligence to know where the chemical stockpiles are in Syrian and if they are being moved. Brinson said that he is concerned that the Americans shooting down the Syrian jet could escalate the conflict. Brinson said that most of the fighting forces are being funded from outside Syria. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States want to build a pipeline through Syria and Turkey to Europe so they can supply Europe with energy instead of Russia. The Russians and the Iranians are opposing this so they are backing the Assad government. Brinson said that we should put diplomatic pressure on the gulf states to dialogue with the Syrian government.
APR: The President has discussed spending a $trillion on infrastructure needs. The National budget deficit is $567 billion. Do you support the President’s infrastructure plan even if it means increasing the debt?
Brinson: This is a complicated issue. He said that he favors more private and public partnerships, including privatizing roads and airports. Privatizing more of the infrastructure would make things more efficient. As an example Brinson cited the port of Mobile. Even though exporting Alabama cotton through New Orleans or South Carolina is much farther out of the way it is cheaper because the port is managed in such a way that there is no incentive to be efficient.
APR: Tax reform is becoming a major topic of discussion in Washington. Do you support a fair tax, a flat tax, or simply reforming the present multi-tier income tax system?
Brinson: We have to look at that which is possible. I would like to see a value added tax (VAT) or a consumption tax as that would be more fair; but that is not going to pass through Congress at this time. Our corporate income tax rate is the highest in the world at 35 percent. We need to lower that to something like 15 percent and we need to lower marginal tax rates. Every time we lower tax rates it stimulates the economy and increases economic growth. We need to have both long term and short term goals. The short term goals should be to lower rates and simplification; while the long term goal should be to move to a consumption tax.
APR: Would you support an amendment to the US Constitution declaring that life begins at conception and banning abortion across the United States?
Brinson: Of course I would. It would be a wonderful thing. We need to welcome life from conception to natural death.” We can also reduce the number of abortions by putting programs in place to reduce unplanned pregnancies.
APR: Do you support a bill demanding that all 50 states honor the concealed carry permits of every other state, reciprocity?
Brinson: Yes I do. Gun owners should be able to travel with their guns. Some people have traveled through New York with their weapons stored in their luggage and they have been arrested. If those Congressmen and staffers had had guns at that baseball practice last week that could have ended a lot faster and less people would have been wounded.
APR: Do you support President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accords on the climate?
Brinson: Yes. but I would like to renegotiate. There is place for renewable energy particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and developing nations where building an economic grid. Also a deal should require polluters like China to do more. We also need to do something about unregulated mining in the developing world. There is a village in the north of Zambia where un-regulated mining has resulted in children with bloodstream lead levels far above any safe levels. There are things that we need to address and I also favor reducing global emissions.
APR: An American college student, Otto Warmbier, was essentially killed in North Korea custody and the Communist country continues to test multi-stage rockets systems that in theory could potentially allow the dictatorship to deliver a nuclear weapon to an American target. Is US efforts to contain the country diplomatically working or do we need to change our policy?
Brinson: China is the key to North Korea. North Korea has no access to food, currency, or trade unless it is through China. They are propping up that regime. You put pressure on China diplomatically thru trade agreements with China. They sell large qualities of cheaply made goods. They allow North Korea to make threats because it serves their global strategic ends.
Brinson: We do have ways to intercept their missiles. We need to invest more in those technologies and put more pressure on North Korea through increasing our military presence in the region. We need to work to make the regime more isolated.
APR: The number of people entering the U.S. illegally has decreased with Trump’s enhanced border enforcement efforts and talk of even building a wall on the southern border. Some farmers are already complaining that this is making it harder for them to find workers to harvest their crop. If we tighten enforcement further could there be a negative affect for many American farms and businesses?
Brinson: When the Alabama legislature passed HB56 a lot of people came forward and claimed this so, I put in a program that we would provide 1500 migrant workers to farmers that need help; but the farmers would be responsible for providing adequate housing, living wages, and the community would not be on the hook for educating the worker’s children. “If you want them, we can get them. No one signed up. I am convinced that some people want the cheap labor; but want us to pay all the social costs.”
APR: If the people of Puerto Rico vote to apply for statehood in their current referendum, would you support of oppose making the island territory of 3.4 million people a state?
Brinson: “I don’t support that because their finances are in disarray.” It would be foolish to do that at this time. Their economy is in shambles and we would be on the hook for a bailout. Puerto Rico needs to get their financial house in order and increase their agriculture output. It would not make sense at this time.
The Special Republican Primary is on August 15, 2017. The Special General Election is December 21.