Posts Tagged '2010'

More From My Interview With U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor

As promised, here are a few more quotes and bits of information from my interview with the U.S. Representative Gene Taylor (D, MS-4). The original Radionian article based on my interviews with Rep. Taylor and his potential opponent, Joe Tegerdine, can be read here.


Early in the fifteen minute interview, conducted on April 22, 2010, I made the mistake of framing a question in way that referred to Taylor as a “very moderate Democrat.” Before I could finish my question, he was quick to jump in and correct me, saying affirmatively “A very conservative Democrat.” Far from considering himself a liberal, Taylor is proud to call himself a conservative.

As I wrote in the article, he was quick to dismiss criticism of his Conservative credentials. He has been criticized multiple time for voting to support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. When I asked him about this, he responded “That’s an election that took place in San Francisco.” Now, it is true that Nancy Pelosi was elected to Congress in San Francisco. However, it was in D.C. where Congress, including Taylor, voted to make her the Speaker. Looking back, I think he may have simply misunderstood my question.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Congressman Taylor’s website indicates that he “supports the current ban on gays in the military.” On his website, he says that “to introduce openly gay men and women without serious regard for the consequences could severely damage the security and morale of our nation’s armed forces.”

I asked him if his mind had changed at all on the issue. I also asked if he would reconsider his position should any evidence arise that showed that gays in the military did not present a threat to the security and morale of our armed forces.

“Even amongst the senior officers there was very strong disagreement. I remain opposed to it.”

Federal Involvement in Education:

I had a pretty long conversation with Joe Tegerdine on education, but due to the time constraints of my conversation with Representative Taylor, he had to be more concise. He referenced his time in the Mississippi state legislature, and pointed out that he had dealt with education before. So how much federal involvement should there be?

“State should shoulder as much responsibility as possible.”

Taxes and the Debt

Though he did not directly say whether or not he would favor raising taxes to pay off the national debt, what he did say indicates that he probably would. He said that there will have to be some changes and that “any program worth doing is worth paying for right now. Otherwise, we shouldn’t be doing it.”


As I mentioned in the article, Taylor favor repeal of the healthcare bill but believes that the provision on pre-existing conditions is worthwhile. He related that he understands the difficulty someone with a pre-existing conditions faces when attempting to get insurance, referencing a family member who suffers from lyme disease.

“I’m the father of the father of a 21 year old who had a pre-existing condition.”

I suppose that “father of the father of” was a clever way of avoiding using the term “grandfather.”

Congressman Taylor did make a joke at my expense as I was beginning my final question. “I have just one more question,” I said. “Do they teach you that in journalism school?” he asked, laughing. He told me that phrasing the final question in such a way was an old journalism trick, and that I am far too young to already know it. I suppose he was expecting it to be my “GOTCHA!” question. Luckily for him, I was only asking what advice he had for college students.

Unfortunately, that’s about all the extra material I have for the interview with Representative Taylor. I enjoyed speaking to him, even though I do disagree with some of his positions.


More From My Interview With Joe Tegerdine

A few days ago, I posted an article I wrote for the May 2010 edition of The Radionian, which was based on interviews I conducted with U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor of Mississippi’s 4th district and his potential November opponent, Joe Tegerdine. Due to the constraints of an article, I was not able to include all of the information I garnered. Also, since it was strictly a news article and not an opinions article, I witheld my impressions and thoughts to preserve the integrity of the medium (besides, had I included my impressions, they would have been edited out anyway).

So, I’m going to post some more quotes and impressions from the interviews with the candidate and the Congressman. Here’s more from my conversation with Joe Tegerdine. Later, I will post more from my conversation with Congressman Taylor as well.

The Town Hall Meeting:

Joe Tegerdine went a little more in depth on the Town Hall meeting that spawned his candidacy. According to him, Taylor was dodging questions of other attendees and refusing to adequately answer one of his own, which was about The Give Act.

“I couldn’t believe how arrogant and condescending our congressman is. You know, you watch it on television and you just see these guys spin questions and never answer questions, and you expect it because it’s TV.”

“At the end I answered questions of people he had refused to answer, and then his comment to me was ‘This is my town hall meeting, not yours.'”

On the Political Establishment and His Candidacy:

“I called around our Republican leadership and talked to some of our elected leaders and nobody believed Gene Taylor could be beat.”

“I said ‘No, we can beat him. If we run the right campaign we can win.'”

“I think even some of the Democrats are starting to realize that they’ve put our country in a precarious situation economically.”

“If you have people in there who are making decisions based on re election and based on special interests–lobby money that they get through PACs–then the problems are not going to subside. We’ll continue on the same destructive path.”

“On our state level I’ve met a lot of are representatives. They’re pretty excited. They look at this as the future of politics of America. This is going to help us get back on track.”

“There’s always that negative element–the power structure, the powers that be–they don’t like to be challenged, and they don’t like someone like me who is an outsider to their politican network–coming and rattling the cages a bit.”

“I truly believe that if I wasn’t a viable candidate they would just ignore me. But based on the attacks I’m getting from both of my opponents, I’m pretty sure they both feel like ‘Okay, this guy is a challenger.’ And for Taylor, I’m a challenger. For Palazzo, I’m the guy he’s got to try to beat.”

“I’m not coming in ignorant. You know, just yelling and angry. I actually have some substance to what I believe and what I’m saying and what I think we need to do to get things back in order.”

On Education:

“I think that at some level you have to say, ‘Let’s stop treating the symptoms’– you know, all these different programs–Let’s put the responsibility back on the parents and say educate your kids.”

“There’s a lesson to be learned from winning and there’s a lesson to be learned from losing. I played on championship football teams and I played on teams that didn’t win a game the entire season and I learned valuable lessons from both. That’s life.”

“You’re going to probably fail more times that you’re going to succeed. So why are trying to insulate ourselves from that? Why are we trying to insulate our children from that lesson? It’s really absurd.”

On Welfare:

“I think the government has to slowly wean the states off of federal aid. It’s not Constitutional. I think you have to slowly wean them off. You can’t do it overnight or you’d have a humanitarian crisis.”

“We have to incentivize people to work. So if somebody can make $1000 a month working a job but the federal government gives them $1200 to do nothing, you have to remove that equation.”

On Term Limits:

Under Joe Tegerdine’s proposed Constitutional amendment, Senators would only be limited to only serving two terms (twelve years) and House Representatives would be limited to four terms (eight years). I asked him, however, why Senators should get twelve years when House Reps and even the President was limited to eight. He agreed that it would make sense to limit them to only eight years as well.

“I could see them having four years terms so that they would be like the President. I think that would be fine. I don’t think Senators have to be in there six years. I think it’s not as crucial for them to serve six.”

“I feel like we’ve been experimenting the for the last three-hundreds years with no term limits and I think it’s time we did a little experimenting with term limits.”

But how would we ever get Congressman and Senators to place limits on the offices that they themselves hold?

“Put in an exemption that this law only applies to new people coming into office,” he said.

On Faith

“As a candidate, I feel that it’s important that people know what my faith is.”

“I think people in our district expect to know where people stand on faith and religion. They want a leader who is going to be a strong Christian. I appreciate the other elected officials in our state who will mention their faith, their commitment to Christian principles.”

“When I think about the Establishment Clause, I think it’s definitely been misinterpreted. I don’t think that our founding fathers ever intended for the bill of rights to take religion out of government. If their intent was that there would be a state religion or a preference given to one denomination. I think for some reason we got way for off to where people think that Separation of Church and State means that there is no place for religion. There’s a reason why we traditionally have opened our sessions of Congress with a word of prayer. There’s a reason why at the inauguration there’s a prayer. It’s part of our culture, our heritage–our Christian faith. And to try to deny that or remove that from the public square is to take away from a necessary part of our culture.”

On Abortion:

“Ideally, Roe v. Wade would have never been put before the Supreme Court and it would have remained a state issue. But we know that some of the people in minority position will manipulate courts or push things through to get the court’s recognition and the approval that they desire.”

“I’ve considered before ‘What do you do with abortion?’ It’s really difficult because of that precedent that has been set with Roe v. Wade because they can’t legislate and say ban abortions. I think the only way to ban abortions would be a Constitutional Amendment that prohibits abortions. Otherwise I’m afraid it’s always going to be with us.”

“I would support anything that would help eliminate abortion.”

“Abortion affects our culture in ways that we sometimes don’t even realize. It permeates our thoughts about life and the sanctity of life and our relationship with others.”


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