The ‘Republican Women of Madison’ held a forum for House District 5 GOP candidates. All six primary candidates (George Barry, Cheryl Baswell Guthrie, Mark Huff, Angelo Mancuso, Ray McKee, Wayne Parker) were allowed ten minutes, followed by Q&A.
The good news: the GOP primary vote will be between six great people. The bad news: prepare for a long post. Highlights:
George Barry spoke of his years of involvement in grass roots politics. Illegal immigration: secure border, eliminate “magnet” (jobs), fence high traffic areas. He also mentioned human trafficking and slavery, which IMO doesn’t get enough attention. National debt. Need to spend on energy policy, coal gasification, relax regulations. Tax policies and trade deficit, NAFTA unfair trade practices hurting Alabama businesses. “Share Alabama values with DC”.
Cheryl Baswell Guthrie spoke of her grandfather in Congress, father at RSA, husband LtCdr USCG – her family tradition of service. Immigration: better screening of legal immigrants, build wall, patrol borders. Win War in Iraq and against Terrorism. Ethics: notes Randy Hinshaw’s (D-AL21) recent voting machine shenanigans as legal, but unethical. Cut Government spending. “Stand up for what you believe”.
Mark Huff spoke of “representing North Alabama”. Jobs: expand RSA / NASA, business development for other areas. Roads. Try to get Outpatient VA Center in Madison. Fair Tax. Limited Government: eliminate Dept. of Education, implement nationwide minimum standards (IMO like International Baccalaureate), local involvement in programs and textbooks. “Best thing Government can do is leave you alone”. Tax code used to influence behavior. “Law used as sword instead of shield”, advocate some form of loser pays. Restrict use of Eminent Domain (Kelo). Capitalism, individualism, personal responsibility.
Angelo Mancuso spoke of experience as State Representative and serving on Health and Education Committees. “Voice for the people who weren’t heard”. Alabama Historic Commission. Noted example of “finding common ground” in State Capital Confederate Flag issue: take down CSA battle flag which offended some people and fly Bonnie Blue flag, which historically flew over Capital. Diverse Economy, economic development, tort reform, protect and expand NASA / Redstone Arsenal, Memphis to Atlanta Highway, improve education. “Believe in American Dream: work hard, study hard, prepare, no short cuts”. “Education is key”. Health care: Medicare going bankrupt, notes health care fellowship.
Ray McKee spoke of being the “only one with the backbone to run against a nine-term Congressman”. Fair Tax. Term Limits: take Constitutional Amendment directly to the States. Energy: Government-funded research for alternative fuels, build nuclear and refineries, ‘use Middle East oil first – save ours for later (ANWR)’. Economy: gas prices hurt, Fair Tax helps, weak dollar, need surplus budget to pay off National debt, NAFTA / one-way trade with China suspend until Fair Tax, stop offshoring. Illegal immigration: “make it more painful to be here than where they came from”. War: “win it swiftly and decisively”, “end it quickly”. Foreign aid: “charity begans at home”; stop sending money to tyrants until every man, woman, and child in US is fed, clothed, and housed. End war: “stop killing each other”.
Wayne Parker spoke of being a fourth generation Huntsvillian and running against Bud Cramer in 1994 as a moral responsibility to his children. His ‘Compass to Guide Decision-making’: free enterprise, limited Government, strong National defense. Immigration: secure border, employee verification, bi-partisan SAVE Act. Find “common ground”, “toxic tone”, “Washington is broken”. Need to address Social Security: bi-partisan SAFE Commission, similar to BRAC. Public debt, unfunded liabilities.
Update: The Huntsville Times article about the forum, 6 GOP hopefuls discuss top issues.