By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
COLUMBUS – Seven questions, 21 answers, one hour more or less, and three Republican candidates made their cases for why one of them should be north Mississippi’s next member of Congress.
Mississippi School for Math and Science hosted the event attended by some 300 people in Rent Auditorium on the Mississippi University for Women campus.
GOP hopefuls Angela McGlowan, Alan Nunnelee and Henry Ross took their turns at the podiums with each intent upon unseating incumbent Rep. Travis Childers, D-Booneville, in November.
But first, one of them must emerge as the party nominee. The election is June 1.
Marissa Martini, president of the MSMS Young Republicans, was moderator and asked the questions.
In brief opening remarks, McGlowan of Oxford, a former Fox News commentator, said both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for taking America into economic and social deep waters. She promised to “stop run-amock government,” if elected.
Nunnelee, a Tupelo businessman and state senator, who noted he grew up in Columbus, touted his legislative experience and strong stances to lower taxes and protect the unborn.
And Ross, former Eupora mayor, repeated his campaign mantra of restoring the pillars of “faith, family and freedom” to Congress.
MSMS senior Kessler Brown of Columbus, who is co-president of the MSMS Young Democrats, said she thought the debate was informative.
“It’s interesting to hear the other side of the story,” she said.
Emerald Barrett, a senior from Noxapater, said she’s from a more conservative family and felt comfortable hearing the candidates express ideas she’s heard from her parents.
Both will be voting for the first time in the congressional election, Brown in the First District and Barrett in the Third.
Controversial House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s name came up a few times and mostly in the beginning when the trio explained why Childers should go.
“That’s the problem” with Childers, Nunnelee said. “He says he’s a conservative but he goes to Washington and votes for Nancy Pelosi.”
As Nunnelee touted his 16 years in the Legislature, McGlowan repeatedly took swipes at his votes for taxes and his extended tenure there.
“We need a congressman who isn’t a career politician,” she said, pointing to her experience as a lobbyist and as a news analyst. “We need someone proven in D.C. who has made things happen.”
McGlowan also said she spoke out against the first stimulus package during George W. Bush’s Administration and now against the Obama plan.
“It was poor policy from the start,” she said. “You can’t reward bad behavior.”
All three agreed illegal immigrants should be sent home.
About Arizona’s new get-tough law to check whether people are in the state legally, Ross said Arizona “simply dealt with a problem Barack Obama didn’t want to deal with.”
He said illegal immigrants cost taxpayers more and more because they use services here.
Ross said he favors a Constitutional amendment to establish a waiting period before granting U.S. citizenship to anyone born here to immigrant parents.
They also agreed that:
– Federal trade policy for farmers and businesses must be fair and competitive.
– No companies are too big to fail and government help is not appropriate.
– Competition and tort reform will bring down health care costs.
The three vowed to seek repeal of health care reform.
About high fuel prices, they agreed it’s a strategic issue as much as an economic one.
But Ross took it a step farther, predicting Israel will bomb Iran, Middle East oil exports will be halted and “we will ask why we haven’t gone out west and drilled our own oil.”
In closing the hour-long program, Charles Brown, MSMS executive director, thanked the participants, saying “tonight you have been teachers.”
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.