Q: What relevant experience, background and personal characteristics equip you to be an effective congressman for the 1st District?
n CHILDERS: I worked full-time jobs through high school and college to support my family. I understand the value of hard work and the opportunity of a good education. During my service in county government, we have balanced 16 straight budgets.As a small businessman and as an active member and former president of our local development association, I helped bring over 1,000 new jobs to North Mississippi. I have a proven record of working across regional, governmental and party lines to create jobs and promote economic development – for example, my involvement with the Yellow Creek Inland Port Authority.
n COLEMAN: Independent business owner 23 years, former police officer in Bruce, Calhoun City Alderman Ward 2 second term, involved in politics for 20 years; Democratic nominee, House of Rep. District 23 August 2007; veteran MSANG 28 years – Master Sergeant E-8, Operation Desert Storm 1991, Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003-2004, Army Food Service Manager eight years, Hurricane Katrina 2004-2005, numerous humanitarian missions, domestically and overseas.
n DAVIS: For the past 11 years I have served as mayor of Southaven. Prior to that, I served Southaven and DeSoto County in the Mississippi State House of Representatives for seven years. I think that the citizens of Southaven will tell you that I have always been straightforward, hardworking and always remember that I work for the voters. And as the father of three girls I am reminded every day of how important it is that we ensure the future for our children.
n HOLLAND: I have served 25 years in the Legislature and won last year’s election with a 72 percent approval rating. I started my career working in Washington for Congressman Jamie L. Whitten, who taught me the importance of constituent service. I carried that philosophy to Jackson. Folks know I will respond to their needs when possible. As current Public Health Committee chairman in the House as well as chairman of the Agriculture Committee chairman for 16 years, I earned a reputation for cutting through red tape and being dependable. I am a businessman with interests in several Northeast Mississippi locations.
n HURT: Two terms as chief aide to highway commissioner; four years director of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Mississippi office.
n McCULLOUGH: I have run a business and I have served the people of the 1st Congressional District in local, regional and national leadership roles. I believe in the same common-sense, conservative philosophy held by most North Mississippians and I know we need leaders who “do” instead of just leaders who “talk.”
n NEELY: I have served as a Marine captain during Operation desert Shield/Desert Storm. I have served as a federal law clerk and, as such, I have intimate knowledge of the federal judiciary. I have been a practicing attorney for 20 years and have served as Lee County prosecuting attorney. Finally, I have served on numerous boards and committees across North Mississippi.
n RUSSELL: More than 20 years as a conservative Republican activist; 20-year history small business ownership; North Mississippi Medical Society President; former Advisory Board member Stop Lawsuit Abuse in Mississippi; longtime pro-life, pro-family, pro-adoption volunteer, leader and advocate; 13-year history of volunteer foster parenting for over 88 newborn babies awaiting adoption; Gov. Haley Barbour appointee to State Board of Health.
Q: What would be your top three priorities as 1st District congressman?
n CHILDERS: My priorities will be economic policy that promotes jobs, fair trade and fiscal responsibility; access to quality and affordable health care; and education.North Mississippi needs jobs. While unemployment is low in certain pockets, most counties in this district have considerably higher unemployment than both the state and national averages. We have to focus more on education and economic development in rural areas and small towns, not just the big cites. We have to find a way to make health care accessible and affordable to more people. Immigration reform and a resolution to Iraq are also long overdue.
n COLEMAN: Economic: development, jobs, growth; Education: excellence in education; Balanced Budget: assets equal liabilities plus stockholders’ equity.
n DAVIS: Washington is broken and we need to fix it. We need a congressman that will continue Roger Wicker’s example and lead the fight to end illegal immigration, put an end to wasteful government spending and fight for the God given rights of the unborn. I have a record of doing all of these things at a local level and if elected I intend to be strong voice for our conservative principles. We must change the way our business is done in Washington.
n HOLLAND: I want a tax cut for the middle class. High gas prices have hit hard. We must become energy independent. As chairman of the Agriculture Committee, I guided to passage laws dealing with ethanol and alternative energy. Affordable and accessible health care is needed. Serving as chairman of the House Public Health Committee equips me to immediately influence potential solutions. I proved this by fighting to reinstate thousands of Mississippians on Medicaid. We owe more to veterans. I co-authored legislation to build and equip our state veterans’ homes. I will work to get more medical services close to veterans.
n HURT: Economy, health care, get troops out of Iraq.
n McCULLOUGH: Recruit good, high-paying jobs for the people of the 1st Congressional District; ensure the federal government does its job to protect our borders and provide safety and security for all law abiding citizens; and champion Mississippi’s conservative values. Our government should honor our values, not defy them.
n NEELY: Education, infrastructure and safe communities.
n RUSSELL: Working with true diligence to meet the needs of all 1st District constituents as they relate to the federal government. A servant leadership attitude is highly important; promoting and encouraging partnerships with local and state entities to enable further job creation in the district; and fighting to preserve those founding principles that made America great – upholding the Constitution and promoting the basic principles of free enterprise, limited government, strong defense against our enemies, and the traditional married two-parent family. This is how we will preserve, protect and strengthen America.
Q: How would you describe your political philosophy?
n CHILDERS: I’m a Mississippi Democrat. I’m on the side of struggling families, children that need health care and teenagers whose only hopes are a college degree. I’m pro-life and pro-gun and for balanced budgets. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Illegal immigration has to stop. I will not negotiate away my core principles in Washington. We do not have to change our core values to change direction in America, but if we do not change the direction of our country, our core values will be compromised. I will work across partisan and philosophical lines to get the job done.
n COLEMAN: I do believe living and let living, but in some instances the federal government must decide what direction the country will go. The federal level is where everyone looks for the solution when the states don’t have one. I have a genuine interest in rural Mississippi, especially the retreat of jobs and the stagnated growth in the rural areas. Most of a small town’s residents work out of town, while the major cities are holding their on with jobs and growth. It has become increasingly hard for families to make it in rural America and rural Mississippi.
n DAVIS: I am a Conservative Republican. I believe we need a representative that not only talks the talk, but will, and has, walked the walk. We need a government that is fiscally responsible, stands up for our values and helps rather than hurts our families and businesses. I have fought for conservative principles my entire career and have no intention of stopping now. I am the only candidate who has authored and sponsored pro-life and anti-abortion legislation and I will continue to do so in Congress. I believe the 1st Congressional District seat belongs to all the residents of our district and not just one geographical location.
n HOLLAND: I was raised in a Christian home where the Bible was read, where we went to church and where I was taught a set of values: New Testament Values. I consider myself a “Red Letter Christian” – I do my best to adhere to the words of Jesus that were always printed in red. That means to look out for the “least of these.” Government has to sometimes stand up and help folks to stand themselves. Educated and healthy people will be able to do the jobs that will compete in our global economy.
n HURT: Moderate
n McCULLOUGH: I am proud to be a Republican with conservative principles. I believe the basic responsibility of government is to protect our borders and provide security for all law abiding citizens. Government, through lower taxes and less regulations, should foster an environment where our people can find good jobs and improve their quality of life. I believe we are truly one nation under God, where the sanctity of life and marriage, the freedom to practice our faith, and the values captured in the Constitution must be protected for future generations.
n NEELY: The purpose of government is to protect citizens from foreign and domestic threats, to ensure that all citizens receive fair and equal treatment regardless of race, sex, creed or color, and to provide the basic infrastructure and financial assistance to ensure that all children receive a quality education, that our sick, elderly and disabled are cared for and that businesses are allowed to thrive unfettered by bureaucracy and unreasonable taxation. Aside from this, I believe that for the most part, the federal government should stay out of the lives of the average American man and woman.
n RUSSELL: I am a pro-life, pro-family, pro-adoption social conservative. My wife and I have served as volunteer foster parents over the past 13 years for over 88 babies awaiting adoption. I believe in putting my personal beliefs into action. For me, this agenda is a heart commitment, not a political slogan. We must fight to preserve the traditional married two-parent family. It is essential to preserving, protecting, and strengthening America’s future. I’m pro-job creation, pro-tort reform, pro-gun rights and pro-secure borders/no amnesty conservative. I favor low-tax/limited government, free enterprise and strong military.