Interviews With Joe Tegerdine and U.S. Representative Gene Taylor

Tegerdine and Taylor Discuss 2010 Elections, Issues

The Radionian
By Ashton Pittman, Opinions Editor
May 2010, Volume 86, No. 7

The 2010 midterm elections are shaping up to produce heated contests all across the nation that could drastically change the political landscape this November. One of those races may well take place in Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District, which includes Gulfport, Biloxi, Hattiesburg and Laurel.

Several candidates have stepped up to challenge incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, who has occupied his seat for more than 20 years. One of those challengers is businessman Joe Tegerdine who resides with his family in Petal. Taylor and Tegerdine both took time to speak to “The Radionian” about the election, their positions on the issues, and their visions for America’s future.

Congressional Candidate Joe Tegerdine (R-Mississippi)

“There’s a lesson to be learned from winning and there’s a lesson to be learned from losing. I have learned valuable lessons from both. That’s life.” Photo by Ashton Pittman

One year ago, Joe Tegerdine was virtually unknown in South Mississippi. Today, most favor him to win the June 1st primary for the Republican nomination to the 4th District’s U.S. Representative Seat.

Tegerdine said that his campaign began last year after he involved himself with the local Tea Party group, with whom he attended an April 2009 Town Hall meeting held by Taylor. Tegerdine said that during the meeting, he and Taylor had a heated exchange.

“People were cheering after I spoke,” said Tegerdine. “Immediately, someone tapped me on my shoulder and said ‘Hey, have you thought about running for office?’”

At the time, Tegerdine had only considered getting involved in politics at an older age. However, over the following weeks, he made a decision after finding himself troubled by national events.

“It was the realization that if I didn’t do something today, then I would not have the country I grew up in to pass to my children,” he said.

Tegerdine entered the race with business experience, a bachelor’s degree in communications, and a juris doctorate, but he lacked political experience. He considers that a positive.

“I truly believe that if we are going to put our country back on the right track, average, everyday Americans have to take the country back from career politicians,” he said.

Tegerdine believes that one of the biggest problems in American politics is the propensity for career politicians to be continuously reelected with the aid of special interest groups. He plans to champion an amendment that would limit U.S. Senators to two terms and U.S. Representatives to four terms. He has pledged to serve no more than four terms if elected.

As a Congressman, he would also like to work to wean Americans off dependency on entitlement programs that he believes will eventually bankrupt our economy. He related his story of being raised with four siblings by a single mom and the struggles they faced.

“She justifiably needed some help,” he said, “but I firmly believe that kind of help needs to come from your family, your church, your charitable organizations, and the very last option would be your community.”

He disagrees with critics who have alleged that he seeks to cut the lifelines of the needy.

“I believe that if we take the federal government out of the equation, people will start being more charitable again and families will take responsibility for their ailing or disabled family members,” Tegerdine said. “I think it’s a fallacy and a lie to think that just because the federal government isn’t there with a handout that somehow we would lose our humanity and not take care of each other. I think that we are starting to lose our humanity because we have just allowed the government to take care of our loved ones.”

Tegerdine also takes a family-based approach to education.

“We’ve got to find a way in our country to reengage parents in their children’s education,” he said, adding that parents, not federal bureaucracy, are the key to our children’s education.

He disagrees with educational programs that insulate children from failure.

“There’s a lesson to be learned from winning and there’s a lesson to be learned from losing,” he said. “I have learned valuable lessons from both. That’s life.”

Congressman Gene Taylor (D-Mississippi)

Station Gulfport Ribbon Cutting

“I wish everyone had been as concerned about the national debt as I have been. You can’t spend more, collect less, and pretend it’s going to work.” Photo by uspcgpress of Flickr.

Congressman Gene Taylor has served as the Mississippi’s 4th district U.S. Representative since his initial election in 1989. While the anti-incumbent mood is causing concern for some incumbents, Taylor is not worried.

“People have been running against me for 20 years,” he laughed.

He disagrees with Joe Tegerdine’s idea on term limits.

“I oppose them,” he said. “We already have term limits—elections.”

He also dismissed criticism levied against him by opponents accusing him of supporting Nancy Pelosi.

“That’s an election that took place in San Francisco,” he said. Taylor believes that his record will show him to be on the side of the American people, not fellow politicians.

Some have suggested that his ability to hold this Seat for 20 years in one of the nation’s most Republican districts is remarkable. His success in the 4th District may be largely due to his willingness to embrace conservatism. He emphatically describes himself as a “very conservative Democrat.”

However, his party has moved to the left over the past year, with lavish stimulus packages and a liberal healthcare reform bill. Even so, Taylor does not place the blame solely on his party.

“I wish everyone had been as concerned about the national debt as I have been,” he said. “You can’t spend more, collect less, and pretend it’s going to work.”

Taylor said that he has been concerned about federal spending under both Democrat and Republican presidents.

When it comes to the recently passed health care reform bill, the only question for Taylor is whether it should be repealed or amended.

“I would prefer to repeal it,” he explained. “I guess it’s going to depend upon the makeup of the Congress in January.”

He does not believe, however, that the bill is entirely bad.

“Some provisions are worthwhile,” he said, pointing to the portion that bars insurance companies from discriminating against those who have pre-existing conditions.

Even so, he believes that bulk of the bill is bad policy that will only add to the national debt.

Taylor conceded that tackling the national debt crisis will not be easy.

“It’s going to be very difficult,” said Taylor.

He explained that the ongoing wars in the Middle East, programs like Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and an aging population are all complicating the problem.

“This is why we don’t need to make any new promises,” Taylor said.

When it comes to paying off the debt, Taylor does not rule out the possibility of raising taxes.

“There will have to be some changes,” he said. “If we’re going to be at war, then we ought to be willing to pay for that war right now. Any program worth doing is worth paying for right now.”

Taylor offered advice for college students who may feel discouraged by the woes facing our country.

“Read history,” he said. “When you read history, you realize that every generation of Americans has had significant challenges.”

Whether it was the people who had to weather the Great Depression and World War II, or those who had to serve in Korea and Vietnam, Taylor said each generation of Americans has risen to meet its challenges.

“I intend to help us to face these challenges and to protect the freedoms and liberties we cherish so that we can leave a better place for our children and grandchildren,” Taylor said.

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8 Responses to “Interviews With Joe Tegerdine and U.S. Representative Gene Taylor”


  1. 1 Peakah April 28, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    It’s time to retire career politicians and elect citizen representatives to do the work of the people in Congress. Taylor is obviously out of touch. Tegerdine would be a refreshing change to represent the people and families of Mississippi. A new American Revolution can occur within the voting booths all across America this November if people will vote out incumbents and vote in citizen representatives such as those as the Founders intended to represent the people, not the special interests. Thanks for the excellent article.

  2. 2 Christopher McKay April 28, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    Great article! Gene Taylor likes to claim the conservative role, and compared to the majority of the Democrats in Congress, its true. However, he is not willing to take the big action required to save a critically ill nation. We need a true conservative, an original member of the Tea Party, to truly represent the people of Mississippi. Gene said, “We already have term limits – elections.” Mississippi, here’s your sign. Elect Joe; Retire Gene!

  3. 3 Liberty April 29, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    I’ve voted for Gene Taylor for years. Not any more. He’s been out of touch with his constituents for too long. My local community had a huge group wanting to speak with him (at his convenience) about a critical issue. He wouldn’t even speak to us because he’s not “on that particular committee.” I thought when you promise to represent a district, you should at least be interested in their gravest concerns. Gene doesn’t think so.

    He actually was in favor of the health care bill, except that it cost a little too much. He didn’t mind the intrusion of big govt into your healthcare. And I’ve attended town hall meetings.. Gene beats around the bush when he knows his answer won’t be well received. Enough of that.

    I like everything I’ve seen and heard from Joe Tegerdine. He is for small government, he’s a staunch defender of our Constitution, and I believe he won’t mind doing what’s unpopular, if it represents the people of his district.

  4. 4 H. Amos April 29, 2010 at 7:44 AM

    Well done Ashton Pittman! In a period in our history when the media, America’s historical watchdog, has disappeared from the critical reporting process, it is refreshing to see some honest reporting, without the personal bias spin. Well done! Now, on to the candidates. I to have voted for Gene Taylor for many years as he has been the so-called “Conservative Candidate”. Somewhere in the last 20 years, he kept the conservative name sake but left the truly conservative people of S. Miss right along with the Republican Party. You cannot stand a little closer and vote a little more consistently each term with the Progressive Liberal Left trying to move this Great Nation closer to something akin to a European state, and still call yourself a Conservative. I was, as many of us have been, asleep at the wheel in the choosing the representation of our Country, State and local elections. No More and Never Again! Our slumber has cost America to date $12+ Trillion in debt and growing, $108+ Trillion in unfunded liabilities and growing (SS, Medicare, and Medicaid), a Federal Government content to the status quo, as long as that’s what keeps their seat with no clear direction forward in dealing with the debt that we as a country have no idea how to pay. We failed our kids, our grandkids and likely farther. They, not us, will be paying this debt for generations to come. Congressman Taylor, who’s duty it was to not only fight against the slavery of the debt we as a nation are in, but I contend to also smack us back awake when we all fell asleep at the wheel. Shame on us and shame on him! As I ponder my choice for MS-4 this year, the direction of America is the only bases of all my decisions. I have talked with Joe at length, and he as I do loves his Country and the Liberty therein as the founders understood it. I am not saying that Gene Taylor doesn’t, but the next generation of representatives will have some very hard decisions to make if getting the debt of America under control is to be the priority. You can’t be beholding to none other than God for the right path forward from where we stand today as a nation. That’s the only deciding factor for me.

  5. 5 VFW Wife April 29, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Mississippi is ready to have a Representative in Congress to give them a voice in DC. Gene Taylor gave Nancy Pelosi a voice in Congress with his supportive votes and I fully disagree with his support to the Obama-Pelosi agenda. A vote for Nancy Pelosi is 100% LIBERAL no matter how Taylor wants to spin it.

    We are ever so grateful to have a defender of our Constitution like Joe Tegerdine. He will fight for our rights and the rights of our future generations. What is the clear issue is the level of knowledge of Joe with what South Mississippians as well as America face today. I have yet to see a Representative more versed on such a wide range of issues as that I feel I fully agree with.
    Pro Life, Pro Gun, Pro Family, Pro State rights, Pro Tax reform, Pro Military, Pro Economy, Pro Free Trade, Pro Property Rights, Pro boarders, and Pro fishing with his son.

    Joe Tegerdine has an amazing knowledge base of so many issues yet remains approachable, humble, and caring. Tegerdine has my total support.


  1. 1 Taylor Would Support Healthcare Repeal « Majority In Mississippi Trackback on April 29, 2010 at 7:52 AM
  2. 2 More From My Interview With Joe Tegerdine « UnWelcome Honesty Trackback on May 2, 2010 at 1:32 AM
  3. 3 More From My Interview With U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor « UnWelcome Honesty Trackback on May 3, 2010 at 7:55 PM

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