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Senate Candidates face off in Pelham Republican Candidates’ Forum

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, August 4, 2017, the Republican Senate Candidate’s Forum was held in Pelham.  The event was sponsored by the Shelby County Republican Party and was moderated by Birmingham area radio host Michael Hart (101.1 FM WYDE).  Shelby County GOP Chair Joan Reynolds thanked all the candidates for attending.

Dr. James Beretta is a doctor, is married, has four children and lives in Indian Springs: “I have a healthcare plan that will work and can be implemented after the Healthcare law (Obamacare) is repealed.  The repeal of McCarren Ferguson will allow interstate commerce in the healthcare insurance market.  I have served as a physician for the veterans and active military since 1986 working with the VA here (Beretta attended law school).  “I am a great team player…I went to Catholic College.”

Dr. Beretta said that for three months he has advocated for raising the pay of enlisted man in the Armed Forces.  They received a raise today, the first in several years.

Beretta said that the nation has gotten off track. Democrats are on one track and Republicans are on another which is why we can never get anything done.  “I can align the tracks and get things done. We have an educational problem here in Alabama.  People need to get better educated so they can move up and get better jobs.”

Beretta warned, “We need to fix the healthcare law and fix trade or we will have a real bad time coming.”

US Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said that he and his wife, Martha, have been married for 41 years and have four children.  He also recognized his campaign chairman State Representative Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs): “Thank you for the effort.”

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Rep. Brooks was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, which is an invitation only caucus.  Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) is the only other member from Alabama.  Brooks asked everyone to remember Gary and his family as his mom had just passed away.

Brooks said that he has been part of the point of the tip of the spear as Republicans have taken over control of the State of Alabama. “When I was first elected to the State Legislature as a Republican we were outnumbered four to 136 in Montgomery.  I have been re-elected nine different times (as a State Legislator, a County Commissioner, and as a Congressman) no opponent has ever gotten within 30 points.”

Brooks said, “Ethics is a huge issue in this election.”  This Special Election is costing $15 million and was necessary because there was, “an ethical cloud over the appointment process…In my 30 plus year I have had zero ethics complaints against me.”

Brooks said that he was ranked as the #6 Congressman out of 435 by Heritage action and has similar high rating from Club for Growth, and Numbers US and has the endorsements of conservative thought leaders including: Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter and Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Saks).  “I have got the record, the experience, and the ethics for this job.”

Dr. Randy Brinson thanked his wife, Pamela, and campaign manager Johnathan Barbee.  Brinson served in the US Air Force at Maxwell Air Force base.  He is a doctor and was appointed as President of the Christian Coalition of Alabama.

Brinson said that he has developed a plan to replace Obamacare that the current bipartisan working group on healthcare says would work with some provisions.

Brinson said his opponents have no plan and have not presented any vision or leadership.  We have had ethic violations ignored.

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Brinson touted his very conservative vision and the competency to get things done.

Mary Maxwell began her introduction singing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Maxwell asked, “What will I do if I get there (the Senate)? I will make trouble.”

Maxwell expressed her support for Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).  Maxwell denounced the human trafficking that is occurring on interstate 20 between Birmingham and Atlanta and denounced a provision in  the National Defense Authorization Act, that Sen. Paul opposed, authorizing the Pentagon to kill Americans (operating in the field as terrorists).

Former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore praised his campaign Chairman Bill Armistead.  “I don’t know of a more respected, well dressed, gentleman.”  He also thanked his wife, Kayla, to whom he has been married for 32 years.  They have four children.  He also recognized Russell Pageant who was in Moore’s unit in Vietnam

Moore said that in November America voted for change.  That has not happened because of the entrenched establishments in both parties blocking the President’s agenda.  We need to have a strong military, not a military of inclusiveness transgenderism.  We need to revitalize our economy by removing great obstacle and that is the federal government and all the regulations that keep businesses from operating.  “We need to restore the United States Constitution.”

Moore said that Obergefell versus Hodges (the ruling legalizing gay marriage by judicial fiat) was unconstitutional and accused the court of “stealing of liberty from the citizens of the United States.  The United States Supreme Court just wiped out the Constitution.  Moore recommended that everyone read his book about what to do with judges who don’t uphold the Constitution.

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Moore said that we can be great again if we become good again and recognize God again.  “He is the source of our morality.”

Moore said, “In this campaign, both myself and Congressman Brooks have been attacked by scurrilous, false, and deceiving and misleading ads out of Washington, DC, by a Super PAC designed to keep people there they want to keep there, run by Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).  He is waging war because he is afraid that he is going to get somebody in the Senate he can not control.”

Bryan Peeples said, “This campaign is not about me it is about you….I am an averge citizen…I see the attack ads against Congressman Brooks and against Roy Moore.  They are a distraction, That is not what matters.  It is the issues that matter. Our elected officials are not worrying about the future. For 17 years we have been involved in war.  Your rights are under attack.  They passed a defense budget with $75 million set aside for gender surgery.  That is elective surgery.  Why are we paying for elective surgery?  I agreed with sanction on Russia because of what is going on in Ukraine; but the bill that Congress passed was unconstitutional.  Pres. Trump said it was un-constitutional  he did not want to sign it; because it limited the power of the Executive Branch to negotiate.”

State Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) said that the people of Alabama should pick the leader that they want to have.

Pittman said, “I was born in Birmingham and spent eleven years there then my family move to Mobile and I have lived there for 45 years.  I went to the University of Alabama.  I was in the the ROTC and served in the Alabama National Guard for five years.  I started a business in 1998.  Alabama has not sent a businessman to the Senate in over 100 years.”

Pittman said that we need to make sure we declare war before we get involved in these long wars.  “We are at  crossroads in the future of the country.  We need to elect someone who understands the American dream.  We need a revival of responsibility.  It was an amazing election last year.  The people understood that the trajectory we were on was wrong.  We need to balance our budget, but that begins by growing our economy.”

US Senator Luther Strange  said, “I was an Eagle Scout.  I grew up in the Jefferson County area.  I have been married to my wife Melissa for 35 years.  I was honored to be taking the place of Jeff Sessions. “He is going to be the greatest attorney general we have ever had.”

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Strange described himself as a common sense conservative that gets things done.  As Alabama Attorney General, I set up the best public corrupton team in the country and told them to follw the truth wherever it led.  Strange said that he ran for AG against a Republican incumbent “who had lost his way.”  I am not afraid to run against Republicans when they do the wrong thing.  As AG I had conservative results.  I tood it (the BP oil spill case) away from the private law firm that the previous AG had hired and handled it myself.  We got over a $billion to shore up our general fund and saved $180 million because we did not have to pay 18 percent to the law firm.  As AG, I sued Prsident Obama dozens of time.  He was shredding the Constitution.

On the failure to repeal Obamacare Strange said, I am shocked at the Republicans who voted against repeal.  “I was almost physically ill.”  People talk about not having the 60 votes, we don’t have 50 conservative votes in the Senate.

Judge Roy Moore said, “I would definitely repeal Obamacare as quicly as possible.  We should also repeal McCarren Ferguson.  I do not think we need to replace it (Obamacare). The Federal government does not have a role in healthcare.  If Republicans try to fix it,  Republicans are going to get blamed for it.”

Trip Pittman said that healthcare is 17 percent of GDP.  As a State, we did not expand Medicaid. That would have added 300,000 people to the rolls and cost us $tens of millions.  Obamacare is destroying the individual market.  Insurance is not a right.  We have got a serious issue with living up to the promises that the Federal government has made to some of our citizens.

Peeples said that he favored a free market solution and his own five point plan on his website.

Mo brooks said, “Obamacare is a fraud.  It was a fraud at its inception.  If you like your plan, you can keep your plan was a fraud.  If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor another fraud.  In the private sector that is fraud and the victims are allowed to sue.  We had a house bill drafted by insurance companies.  We fought it in the Freedom Caucus and got a better bill.  Mike Pence thanked me for my work and then handed the phone to the President of the United States who also thanked me.  I am soarly disappointed that the Senate quit on us and is not still in Washington, DC working on this.”

Beretta said that even if Obamacare is repealed, the Federal government will continue to provide healthcare.  They started that in the 1950s and will continue to provide Medicare and Medicaid.  Obamacare was an intrusion in to the private system.  We have to have a replacement plan and we need to repeal McCarren Ferguson.  “The problem is getting the big lobbyists out of the game.  They control the decisions.”

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Luther Strange said, “I would vote to repeal Obamacare immediately.  I have already done that.  I was shocked that we did not have 50 Republicans in the Senate to vote against Obamacare.  When I got to the Senate is asked where is your plan?”  It is particularly frustrating to me.  As your Attorney General, I took it all the way to the Federal court.”

Brinson said that the Blue Croos monopoly is part of the problem. Certificate of needs need to be gotten rid of.

Mary Maxwell said, “I would repeal anything that is not allowed by the Constitution.”Monopolies are illegal under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and should be gtten rid of.  One of the reason that government does it (healthcare) is to diminish charity.”

Maxwell said that she has talked wth mothers who said that their child got the measles shot and then the child got autistic.  The link between vaccines and autism absolutely it should be investigated.

Judge Moore said that the Obama administration probably violated the Constitution more than any administration that ever existed.  Establishment Republicans are holding the Trump Agenda up because they don’t want any new agenda.

On marijuana legalization, Mo Brooks said, “My position is that I belive in the Tenth Amendment.  The State of Alabama should have the right to choose how it wants to  regulate the relationsip between the patient and the doctor.  I have the same view for K-12 education.  The Federal government should not interject itself.”

Luther Strange defended his decision to oppose ending the 60 vote filibuster rule.  “The Rules of the Senate have protected us over the history of the country.  When the Democrats had control the rules prevented open borders, abortion, and other things we don’t like.”

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Beretta said, “I know I have the ability to accomplish those tasks. I understand fiscal responsibility.  I was able to stay in business after the Affordable Care Act passed, when most other people went out of business.  I know I can lead in Washington.  I would not be sitting around worrying about my reelection potential and not covering my President’s back.”

Brinson said we need to grow jobs in the State and I am the only one with experiencei in growing jobs.

Peeples said, 11 percent think Congress is doing a good job.  That says a lot.  It has been 164 years since the Congress has received such a low opinon in polls.  “Vote for somebody who wants to look out for your needs.”

Moore said, “If you don’t stand up for something you are never going to be attacked.”  “I do not condemn my opponents,” no matter what is said.  “I love that women out there (Kayla) and it hurt,” when she was attacked.  Moore denied accusations that he profited off the Foundation for Moral Law.  “I got $57,000 a year they paid me over 8 years.”

Mary Maxwell said that Hillary Clinton and her husband were involved in the Haiti scandal and John Podesta is involved in Pizzagate.  I offered the pubisher $100,000 to publish my book on it and the publisher said tht he had been offered a $million not to publish it, by the mafia.

Mo Brooks said that the last time the Republicans have had 60 percent of the Senate was 1922.  They (the Democrats) had it the 1930s and late 1940s, the 1960s and 2009.  We can never reverse the damage that the Democrats do to our society unless we go away from a 60 percent rule.  How can you have your president’s back when you back a 60 vote rule that kills his entire agenda?

Brooks said that the President talks about draining the swamp.  “Well who is the swamp? It’s K Street, it’s lobbyists, it’s the people who are funding one candidate’s campaign to the exclusion of all others.  You can determine who the swamp’s candidate is.”

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Luther Strange said, “ I don’t regret my vote for President Trump.  I had his back every step of the way.” The National Rifleman’s Association supports me.  The National Right to Life Association supports me.  I have introduced the strongest Pro-Life legislation in Senate history.  “I am proud of my record at actually getting things done.”

Trip Pittman said, “We are in the middle of a political revolution.”  Pittman charged that Luther Strange, “Experienced several decades in Washington before that (as a Washington lobbyist).  As a businessman, you have to get things done; that is business experience.”

Pittman said sid, “I don’t have to be a United States Senator, but I do have to be honorable.”

The Republican and Democratic Special Primary Elections for Senate are on August 15, 2017.


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

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